Amy Bosgraaf Alderink ’94 began her career jumping in construction dumpsters. Some days she still does.
A Latin and biology major, Alderink realized while doing her student teaching that she would be “a horrible teacher.” She went home to her family’s construction business in Holland, Michigan, and drove the waste truck, trying to figure out what to do next.
“I was surprised how much I liked the business,” Alderink said. “I never took a business class at Calvin, but I did learn to think independently, critically, and creatively.” Soon she was the growing company’s “chief creative officer.”
Since the recession of 2007–2008, Alderink has channeled her construction creativity into the Holland nonprofit Homecor. As executive director, she oversees two types of projects.
The attention-getting project type is wholehouse renovation in the city’s core neighborhoods, like one that neighborhood kids called “the spooky house.” Vacant for 40 years, its roof leaked, and it was full of mold. With donations and zero interest loans, Homecor purchased the house, gutted it, renovated it, and sold it to a first-time homebuyer.
“It’s the drip of encouragement that spreads the ripple,” Alderink said. “Disheartened neighbors see the change and want to invest in their own property.”
The quieter of Homecor’s two project types is its grant program.
“The city has programs to help low-income homeowners make structural repairs,” Alderink explained. “We bridge the gap for those who can’t meet all the city’s rules or can’t afford their portion of the repair. We also offer grants for curb-appeal improvements and energy efficiency.”
The get-the-job-done nature of Homecor suits her perfectly, Alderink said. “I’m task oriented. But sometimes I meet a homeowner who tells me, ‘We just went through two years of cancer treatments, and the roof was the last thing we could think of.’ I looked at it as a roof. They needed a roof, we gave them a roof. But God reminds me that it’s more than a roof.”
To see pictures of renovations and to learn more about Homecor, visit homecor.org.