about us

Joyful Connections was the product of the Leadership Ottawa County Class of 2007. The identified need was for a place where children could be kept safe and free from conflict while estranged or divorced parents exchanged children for visitations.  The result of that project was a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a child-focused, safe, secure, and home-like environment where children’s visits with a non-custodial parent are supervised and children can visit without fear or threat of violence. 

In October 2008, Joyful Connections opened its doors for service, and since that time, Joyful Connections has served 600+ children and their families. In November 2019, Joyful Connections moved to a new, larger, and more welcoming space. This move was necessitated by the increased size of our visits and the increase in referrals.

To date, Joyful Connections has monitored almost 8,650 visits totaling 16,300 hours of family time.  Joyful Connections has facilitated over 1,000 exchanges, keeping children from the midst of parental disputes. Referrals come from the Ottawa County Courts, the Ottawa County Department of Job and Family Services (OCDJFS), courts in adjacent counties, attorneys and self referrals.  

Our mission focuses on the premise that children develop in a healthier manner when they have a relationship with both parents. We will not deny any child the opportunity to see their parents just because the parents do not have the means to pay for the service.

Board of Directors

Melinda Slusser, Chair

Howard Whitcomb III, Vice Chair

Kristen Gerwin, Secretary

Wade O’Brian, Treasurer

Sherri Bourne

Warren Brown

ShirLee Eberle

Beth Gillman

Jill Kozlok

John Mack

Jim Sass

Joanna Uhinck

Mary Wilson


Tami Matthews, Director

Christina Harrah, Program Manager

Ms. Madisen

Mr. Mike

Ms. Cathy

Ms. Debbie

Ms. Shelly