New Center for Hope and Healing to open in White Cloud

New facility will serve Mecosta, Osceola, Lake and Newaygo counties

BIG RAPIDS — Open Arms Child Advocacy Center in Big Rapids, in partnership with Newaygo County Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, is moving into a more centrally located building at 601 North Evergreen Drive in White Cloud.

The opening for the new Center for Hope and Healing is anticipated to be the end of April. The 23,000-square-foot facility will serve Mecosta, Osceola, Lake and Newaygo counties, working with law enforcement and the Department of Health and Human Services on investigating child abuse and neglect cases, conducting forensic interviews and assisting families.

The center will provide a safe sanctuary where trained experts and professionals can provide a range of services that are designed to empower families and children against abuse and neglect Tara Nelson, the executive director of NCPCAN, previously told the Pioneer.

The facility features dedicated spaces for a range of services including:

  • Forensic interviews in child abuse investigations;
  • Children’s rights education;
  • Evidence-based safe sleep information;
  • Play and reading areas for children;
  • Summer activities programs; and
  • Meeting and gathering areas.

“This partnership is a way for us to share space and staff,” said Amy Taylor, executive director for OACAC. “It is a difficult time with funding for nonprofits right now, and this is a way for us to share those resources. We have similar passions and similar demographics that we work with, so this is a great way for us to partner.”

The move will mainly mean just a change in venue for the services provided, Taylor said. They will maintain the same staffing levels, but the setting will be more child friendly with more space for privacy.

“We have grown so much over the years and our need has grown for more space and privacy for the staff and the families we service,” she added. “We will also be more centrally located for our service area and for all of those families we serve.”

The new Center for Hope and Healing is holding a “Roaring 20s Casino Royale Fundraiser” from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 21, to support programs against child abuse and neglect.

Participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite 1920s characters.

Doors open at 5 p.m., with cocktails and a tour of the new facility. A silent auction and dinner are scheduled for 6 p.m., and attendees can enjoy games such as blackjack, roulette, Texas hold ‘em, craps, Caribbean stud and Let it Ride with professional dealers from 7:30 to 10 p.m.   

“The Center for Hope and Healing’s Roaring 20s fundraiser will be a ton of fun for a great cause and we invite everyone in Newaygo, Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties to join us and help fight child abuse and neglect,” Taylor said. “Rolling some dice can go a long way toward giving children and families in our communities the resources and support to be safer and more secure.”

“The Center for Hope and Healing represents a new chapter in our fight against child abuse in Newaygo, Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties,” said NCPCAN executive director Tara Nelson. “By supporting local community events like our Roaring 20s casino fundraiser, we can help children who face challenges draw more aces in life so they can succeed.”  

“Our hope is to have individuals from all four counties we serve attend our Casino Royale fundraiser,” said Amanda Wilson, DHHS child protective services supervisor of Lake and Newaygo counties.

Donations are now being accepted for the silent auction and game prizes. 

Registration is $50 and covers dinner and two drinks. Tickets may be purchased at

Table and event sponsorships are available by contacting Stephanie at

For more information call 231-225-2015.

“Come as a flapper or come as you are … Dress as a gangster, or a silent screen star … It's going to be fun no matter the dress … Just bring yourself, and we'll do the rest.” the fundraiser announcement read.