Joseph Goepfrich

Phone: (269) 925-1725 x.133
Mailing: P.O. Box 8789,
Benton Harbor, Mi 49023

A Message From The Executive Director

Greetings Friends,

As we approach the end of 2018, we reflect on the holiday season and the traditions that often prove to be an example of why we love this time of year. The holiday season also brings us an event that has helped the mission of our organization for 12 years now. Your support over that time has helped us to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars that we’ve successfully returned to those in need right here in Southwest Michigan.

This is a very special year for us. We enjoyed the atmosphere of Journeyman Distillery as a new event location, as well as welcoming a new form of entertainment – Main Street Dueling Pianos – thanks to Four Winds Casino. But this year is particularly special because of the journey we have embarked upon.

In 1891, Dr. Amos Barlow set out on a path to improve the lives of children as the first superintendent of our organization. After 127 years, that road has led us to impacting lives through our five divisions, which focus on adult day services, adult homecare services, guardianship and our mission to empower survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

But we’ve come to a crossroads. We have found that our services are often shadowed by the idea that – because of our name – we are associated with government entities.  As a fully functioning 501c3 organization, we felt that it was time to make a decision; Continue to react and defend our nonprofit services, or blaze our own trail… We decided to blaze our own trail.

For the last year, we have reflected upon 127 years of service, attempting to find what would be the best representation of who we are and who we want to be. For the last year we have traveled back in time to figure out the perfect brand that would combine our past, present and future. And for the last year, we have worked diligently to build a plan that our staff, clients, families, friends and community could be proud of. We are a family. We are a network. And from now on, are The Avenue Family Network, Inc.

I would also like to highlight the five divisions of The Avenue as they are the driving force behind our mission.

Harbor House Adult Day Services and Autumn House Adult Day Services along with our West Michigan Guardianship services will remain the strong divisions they have proven to be.

What was formerly Helping Hands Adult In-Home Services will now be known as Shoremark Homecare and continue to provide services to help retain independence.

Our Safe Shelter for Domestic Violence will now be recognized in honor of a woman who stood up when others sat down. She was a leader when women weren’t known for leadership roles. She was the second State Representative for our organization, serving from 1906 to 1913 and helped pioneer the system of foster care in Michigan. To inspire and empower strength in every survivor, we are honored to introduce the Cora Lamping Center for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence.

The road to get here has been exciting, rewarding, emotional and – sometimes scary. And would not have been possible without our team members and Board of Directors. We are incredibly appreciative of the time, effort, wisdom, and passion they have put forth to make this a success.

So we hope that because of our journey, we are able to inspire others who come to a fork in their road, that they choose the Avenue that brings them the most joy – and allow us to help them on their path to securing a strong family and safe home.

To all of our friends, family and friends that have become family:

Happy Holidays and a Blessed Seasons,

Joeseph Goepfrich, CFRE
Executive Director