It has been quite the year for MOKA; filled with support, kindness, leadership, learning, and continued growth. As 2021 comes to a close we want to take a moment to reflect on some of the relationships we have built, the accomplishments that have been made by people served, and the moments we look back on with pride.

MOKA makes Feeding America West MI List of Top 5 Volunteer Organizations

While it is no surprise the people served in MOKA’s Community Support Program are superstar volunteers – we could not be prouder to share that MOKA was named one of Feeding America WM Top 5 Volunteer Organizations because of their hard work! Thank you to Feeding America WM for the recognition and thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers for their dedication to supporting those in need and growing the community around us.

Supported Employment Gets Tails Wagging with Beer City Dog Biscuits 

Individuals involved in our Supported Employment Program got to shine bright in the spotlight on Channel 8 News when Beer City Dog Biscuits shared their hard work with the public. Beer City Dog Biscuits creates dog-friendly treats and is a business tailored to meet the unique abilities of each volunteer and employee that works with them. They are highly invested in providing vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities. Individuals from MOKA work with Beer City Dog Biscuits and participate in all aspects of the business. This includes planning/forecasting demand, assembling, baking, labeling and weighing bags, packing, and processing orders. Look out for some friendly MOKA faces on the back of your next Beer City Dog Biscuit purchase – Brew Bakers get their photos on each biscuit they help create!

MOKA Partners with local Grand Rapids Non-Profit, The Diatribe

The West Michigan community rallied around MOKA and The Diatribe to raise funds in a matching fundraiser for a creative writing workshop with The Diatribe. This workshop allowed persons served to tap into their creative sides like never before and experience a new way to speak their truths. This out of the box programming was led by teaching artists from The Diatribe, a group of spoken word poets in the Grand Rapids area who have formed a non-profit that uses performing arts to empower young people to share their stories, raise awareness of social issues, and create change within their communities. This partnership was the first time The Diatribe had worked with adults and proved to be a great success. This workshop gave individuals the independence of working with teachers outside of the organization, the tools to create their own art, and gave them a safe space to work through their troubles while telling their stories. We were hugely impressed with the creativity and hard work that was shown during the workshop and so proud to hear the poetry that was created by the people we serve. Individuals were able to show off their poems in an organization-wide final performance that was held virtually.

Persons Served Graduated from the Leadership Development Opportunities Fellowship Program

We could not be prouder of the individuals that graduated from the Leadership Development Opportunities Fellowship Program this year. Funded by the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition, the purpose of the Leadership Development Opportunities Fellowship Program is to build the leadership skills and abilities of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Michigan.  This year-long fellowship was an opportunity for persons served to participate in a series of retreats and learning opportunities to build skills and abilities in leadership. Graduation day was filled with joy as they held a virtual ceremony celebrating the successes of participants. “It was very exciting and nice to see everybody. It was emotional and sad because it was ending. I won’t see everybody anymore. I (will) miss everybody,” said participant Stacy when asked how coming back from graduation day made her feel. We are proud of all of the leaders that were involved and can’t wait to be able to offer this opportunity again in the future.

MOKA Holds an Open House at Newest Residential Home Waterfall Trail

We were thrilled to welcome the public to our newest addition to residential, Waterfall Trail, on November 10,2021. We were so excited to welcome our new neighbors and friends of MOKA for a tour and give our thanks to those who were so pivotal to making this move a success. This home was purchased as a replacement for a previous MOKA residence. Recently built, this beautiful five-bedroom house is the perfect place for individuals to call home. The gentlemen that moved from the previous home to Waterfall Trail were all smiles at the open house and love their new home – moving in the very next week! We could not be more thankful for everyone who helped in making this move as seamless as possible.

While these are just some of our favorite moments of 2021, the list could go on and on. All of these moments are part of what makes us MOKA. On a mission to create opportunities for independence and acceptance in our community and to always See the Individual in Everyone.

We can’t wait to see what 2022 brings for MOKA and for those we serve. Happy New Year!