Selected Programs Accredited By:

Annual Community Awards


Each year MMI celebrates the accomplishments of the people we serve and gives thanks to our community partners who help drive us in our mission to create more inclusive communities. We are very proud of the accomplishments of the people participating in our programs and the relationships that we have with wonderful community partners. 



Business Partner of the Year – 2020

Melling Products North

Melling Products North, LLC, in Farwell Michigan is a is a subsidiary of Melling Tool Company. Melling has been operating in Farwell since 1981, specializing in the engineering and fabrication of round & rectangular tubular products for customers in several industries. Melling and other businesses alike are in a unique position to improve the quality of life for all their employees. By enriching the employee experience, from initially recruiting each employee, taking them through the hiring and onboarding process, to the nitty-gritty aspects of daily work, all the way through retirement, a leader is able to provide employees with growth opportunities, ongoing education, a sense of belonging, accomplishment, engagement, and personal satisfaction. Melling has shown that they are true leaders. They believe in those values and stay true to them in all they do. They understand that by embracing diversity and inclusion they are creating not only a better employee and team but, a better community.  Embracing diversity and inclusion at your company doesn’t mean you can hold a one-hour meeting and expect everything to work out. Truly embracing diversity and inclusion at your company takes time. It means getting everyone to enthusiastically support your efforts. It is clear when you meet the team at Melling that they embrace diversity and inclusion, all while keeping equity at the forefront.

Prior to the pandemic, several members of the Melling team took the time to tour MMI and learn about our services and programs and meet some of our staff and program participants. Then, opened their doors so that MMI staff could tour their facility on several occasions. Taking time to explain processes and discuss ways to make them more accessible. These actions have helped to create a partnership that will benefit the whole community. When they recognized qualified candidates from MMI for their positions they reached out to gain insight on writing job descriptions that would appeal to people of all abilities, paying close attention to their language and then requesting feedback to ensure they were not just looking through their unique lens, considering other perspectives.

They have made accommodations to schedules and equipment to ensure people with varied abilities have the support and tools they need to achieve success. Melling has recruited for positions from MMI and works with local school programs to offer internships and training opportunities to local students with varied abilities. They are not only helping the community today but helping to ensure we will continue creating diverse workplaces for the future. They have created a standard for diversity and inclusion that we hope other employers will strive for. It takes action to beget action. We hope that other companies will see the success Melling continues to achieve and be inspired to do the same.

Inclusion refers to the sense of belonging that comes with knowing that you are listened to, heard, respected, and valued by your employer and peers as an individual. It means being able to embrace your own sense of individuality and subtle differences. Melling has achieved an inclusive workplace in all ways.


Community Partner of the Year – 2020

Central Montcalm Communtiy Church

Central Montcalm Community Church is not just serving their congregation but, the community at large.

Nurturing collaboration with community partners helps build community capacity and leadership, stimulates job creation, and boosts economic growth. The excellence that has been shown by Central Montcalm Community Church has helped to increase the quality of life for everyone involved.

They have graciously opened their doors over the past several years to MMI. Hosting opportunities for our participants to learn things like cooking skills and woodworking. They offer volunteer opportunities that help participants learn basic job skills and connect with others in their communities. Central Montcalm Community Church values what each individual has to offer and helps them to learn and grow by meeting them where they’re at.

They have also hosted enrichment activities and Holiday parties for MMI staff, participants, and their families. These activities have not only offered great food, music, and fun but also helped to spur growth and boost the confidence of many of the individuals participating. Also hosting monthly, small group activities that have helped to foster relationships between MMI participants and members of their congregation.

Most recently, welcoming MMI back during a time of public health crisis. Allowing our staff an inclusive environment to continue providing programs for participants who may have needed them more than ever.

The partnership between MMI and Central Montcalm Community Church has provided opportunities for exponential growth in both the community and with individuals. These relationships play a vital role in our mission at MMI, to create inclusive communities.




Above & Beyond Award – 2020
Lois Vanorden

Lois is a guardian for many of the people we serve at MMI. She is appointed to help these individuals make important decisions in many aspects of their lives from healthcare to housing, food, and income. Also, at times having to cope with the stress of making life and death decisions for people after exhausting all other efforts. She takes her role of guardian very seriously and is always available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are recognizing Lois for going above and beyond because she does exactly that. Despite the number of people that she is working with, Lois goes far beyond any expectations to ensure the best possible outcomes for all of her clients.  She is an advocate for each person she works with and believes in empowering and engaging them all in their own decision making. She remains dedicated and optimistic after years of service, and guardianship of hundreds of individuals. She is steadfast in her support of MMI and holds many of the same values. It has been said that Lois VanOrden “lives MMI’s mission.” She  celebrates the uniqueness of each person she has guardianship while helping to create inclusive opportunities and meaningful connections.