Sunrise Mission talks new leadership

News Photo by Mike Gonzalez Michelle Bailey, executive director of Sunrise Mission on Chisholm Street, works on paperwork in the shelter’s conference room on Thursday.

ALPENA — Michelle Bailey, the new executive director of Alpena-based homeless shelter Sunrise Mission, started her position on Jan. 5 and has used the past few months to learn how best to serve the community and the organization’s guests.

After four months, Bailey learned how to help everyone with three keywords: family, fun, and community.

Sunrise Mission is a private Christian homeless shelter that offers services to help the community, from providing food and warm clothing to pointing people in the right direction to help them prosper.

Recently, Sunrise Mission collaborated with Rebel Roots Hair Studio to hold a free haircut and beard trim event on April 30 for shelter guests and any Alpena community members who needed the trim.

“We opened it up to the community and 10% of the time slots were filled by our guests,” Bailey said. “(Then), 40% of the slots came from the outside community … It wasn’t a fundraiser, we didn’t earn a dime from it. It was about the connections and offering whatever we could to the community to support others that are struggling financially, and getting to know them.”

Bailey said during her time as executive director, she’s met with community members who had previously been former guests of Sunrise Mission. She said most of those she talked to own their own successful business around the community and volunteer within the local area frequently.

Bailey said she sees so much potential in her guests and after hearing the success stories of former guests of the shelter, she wants to build people up with workshops to improve their skills, but to begin any improvements, a connection needs to be made.

“For various reasons, it’s not always safe for our guests to visit certain family or previous friends, so we, in a way, become their extended family,” Bailey said. “All you have to do is want the best for them and be willing to invest some of your time in actually walking alongside them and cheerleading. I like to have fun with our events because I find that you make really good connections with people when they are enjoying themselves.

“We have a little guy at the shelter and a few days ago, he took his first steps in our hallway,” Bailey continued. “It was so beautiful. All of the elementary kids, as well as the moms, were together, and they were all rooting and clapping. After that, of course, there were desserts to be had. I mean, it was a celebration. We’re doing more than just meeting their physical needs – we can go above and beyond that by supporting them in the way an extended family works.”

As a part of that extended family, Bailey said that one way she tries to help guests is to become advocates for better education and health.

Bailey said guests are given assistance and resources to help with things such as getting their high school diplomas or scheduling a dentistry appointment.

In honor of Women’s Health Month this month, Bailey mentioned Sunrise Mission connects guests with doctors for mammograms, pap smears, and other health-related procedures.

“One of the things that we’re moving into is developing classes, workshops, and more support groups here and opening them up to the community,” Bailey said. “It’s been really fun to see guests gain their independence because we’ve not only met their physical needs, but they’re now in a position where they’re ready to start jumping into the community.”

While Bailey is looking to do more and more with the guests and the local community, she said Sunrise Mission is in desperate need of volunteers to hold any events or workshops. She’s currently looking for volunteers who are willing to invest in their guests and others with skills to hold helpful workshops.

To sign up for volunteering with the shelter, contact Sunrise Mission at 989-356-1277.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today