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Episode 1: Finding Hope and Healing After Trauma
Welcome to Season 3 of Everyday Humanity. Joining us today is Paula Jauch. Paula is a trauma survivor, international speaker, 2x award-winning author, and podcaster. She has a passion to see individuals walk into freedom. After accepting Jesus as her Savior, she spent many years trying to get free from self-destructive behaviors and addiction. She. Tune in to today’s episode to hear Paula speak to what it is like when you don’t have relationships or resources to escape pain and trauma and how to find hope through Christ.
Episode 2: Showing Humanity In All Parts of Life
Dennis and Beth are joined by Mel Trotter Board Member and Superintendent of Cedar Springs Public Schools, Scott Smith. In this episode Scott discusses finding his faith, guiding his students with love and empathy, and reminding everyone that God has a plan for them, regardless of their current circumstance. “God’s got a perfect plan for all of us, whether we know it or not, and it’s our job to not get in the way.”
Episode 3: Radical Hospitality
Dennis and Beth are joined by Nelly Santos and Stacy Beene of Heartside Ministry, a division of Mel Trotter Ministries. In this episode the four of them discuss misconceptions in the community around the people we serve and how treating each individual as a person made in God’s image has completely transformed the lives of so many in the Heartside area. From friendship circles to making Heartside Ministry feel like “home” to each person who walks through the doors, these two are going above and beyond to exemplify what it means to show everyday humanity.
Episode 4: Finding Hope and Help at the Cross
This week Dennis and Beth are joined by Adam and Christy Lipscomb, co-founding pastors of City Life Church. For years, they have been instrumental in leading individuals to Christ by showing everyday humanity and love to each person who enters their doors. Their congregation worships alongside one another regardless of their backgrounds or previous life experiences. Through their relationship with Mel Trotter Ministries, Adam and Christy have provided help, hope and a “home” at City Life Church to those experiencing homelessness.
Episode 5: A Light for the Heartside Neighborhood
This week, Beth and Dennis are joined by Jon, co-owner of the Lantern Coffee Bar & Lounge in the Heartside District. Jon shares his experience working in close proximity to people experiencing homelessness in the Heartside area and discusses how he and his staff show empathy to each person who enters their doors, regardless of who they are. The Lantern is known to be a warm, welcoming beacon of hope and light to those experiencing homelessness. Our guests know that when they’re in need, Jon and his staff are there to offer a smile, a friendly conversation and a place to warm up. “The Lantern is meant to be in this part of town…the Heartside needs us and we need the Heartside too.”
Episode 6: Dreams Can be a Reality
This week, Beth and Dennis are joined by Shelby, the Triage Coordinator at Mel Trotter Ministries. Shelby shares experiences from her previous roles over the past 8 years as well as some from her current role. She says, “For our guests, it isn’t as simple as going to Mel Trotter and everything fixes itself from there. It’s not just about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, it is about the people that come alongside you to help make it happen. Sometimes you can do everything right and systems still feel as though they are stacked against you.”
For many of our guests it seems as though they are living in a state of ” I can’t” or “I can only”—but people like Shelby on staff at MTM help create an environment where they dream alongside guests and then help make them a reality.
Episode 7: Reconnecting with the Community
This week, Beth and Dennis are joined by Jeff Abbot, Director of Missions at Ada Bible Church. Hear Jeff speak about Ada Bible’s role in the community to help be the hands and feet of Jesus and to be proximate to those in need. Beth, Dennis and Jeff also talk about the importance of lifelong experiential learning and sharing with upcoming generations to continue to serve and love people well…a/k/a “demonstrating the compassion of Jesus.”
Episode 8: I Believe in You
This week, Beth and Dennis are joined by DeMaceo and Julius. DeMaceo, one of MTM’s Tracks Case Managers, shares his journey at Mel Trotter including how he started out in security 7 years ago to where he is today. DeMaceo discusses in depth how he feels about God leading him to MTM in order to truly help and support our guests every day. Julius, Youth Coordinator at MTM, shares that Dennis asked him, “What do you want to do?” when he first started at MTM – and that is what changed his entire thought process about his “job.” Julius uses the fact that “someone believe in him” as motivation to show guests the support they need, and to let them know that he believes in them too. “We are all a Mel Trotter family, guests and staff alike, believing in each other is how we move forward.”
Episode 9: Stepping Out in Service
This week Dennis and Beth are joined by Dawn, the Volunteer and Internship Coordinator at Mel Trotter Ministries. Dawn shares her story of how one life event changed her career path and how God ultimately led her to Mel Trotter Ministries. She goes on to say that “we can’t possibly do what we do without our hundreds of volunteers–especially for the Thanksgiving Community Meal. Dawn also discusses how God continues to use her in her role as she helps student volunteers understand the realities of homelessness.
Episode 10: Making An Impact This Thanksgiving
Happy Turkey Drop Day! This week on the podcast, Beth and Dennis share a conversation with friends Ken and Nate from Feeding America West Michigan and Sean from United Church Outreach Ministry. They discuss their ongoing partnership to collect and distribute turkeys to families that need them this holiday season. They also talk about how one turkey goes beyond just one meal and the impact it can make in the lives of others in our community.
Episode 11: God Prepares Us To Do His Work
Dennis and Beth are joined by Brooke for a special Christmas episode of Everyday Humanity. Brooke shares the story of how a field trip she took in 6th grade impacted her and prompted her to take action. Dennis, Beth and Brooke share their stories of how God prepared them to do the work they are doing now at Mel Trotter. They share that the generosity and support of the community is what allows them to continue to do what they do.
Episode 1: Saulo’s Second Chance at Life
Beth and Dennis are joined by guest host, Selina, Guest Intake Services Manager at Mel Trotter Ministries. The three sit down with Saulo Montalvo, Guest Intake Services Manager at Heartside Ministry (a division of Mel Trotter Ministries) as he shares his story of receiving a life sentence in prison and being given a second chance. Saulo, like many of those we serve, knows what it’s like to be treated as though you are “less than.” He is using his fresh start to help those experiencing homelessness find hope and life transformation and to embrace God’s plan for their future.
Episode 2: Proximity Through Outreach
Beth and Dennis are joined by Adrienne Goodstal, Chief Engagement and Advocacy Officer at Mel Trotter Ministries. Adrienne’s passion is outreach and being proximate with those experiencing homelessness. Our team goes out into the community to meet people who for one reason or another haven’t made it to our doors. We know building trust takes patience, transformation takes time, but it does happen and Adrienne has seen it firsthand. “To be able to go out and love on and build relationship in someone’s camp, there is nothing like it.”
Episode 3: Seeing Humanity in Everyday Life Experiences
Dennis and Adrienne are joined today by Michigan State Representative, Tommy Brann. In addition to being a State Representative, Brann is a restaurant owner, author, song writer and has a passion and desire for serving others. He fights to ensure those experiencing homelessness are well served through his support of emergency shelter programs and is an advocate for everyone fighting to end homelessness.
Episode 4: Living out Love
This week, Beth is joined by Scott Jonkhoff and David Bult of Next Step of West Michigan. Next Step is a ministry focused on employing and housing those seeking a fresh start while equipping them for their next step in life. After an encounter with a man experiencing homelessness, Scott felt called to help others by being proximate and showing love and hope to those we serve. “When you live out love, healing takes place,” shares Scott. Now over 20 years later, Next Step offers a workforce development program where Mel Trotter guests can gain job skills training which lead to employment opportunities.
Episode 5: Relinquishing Control and Relying on God
Beth and Dennis are joined this week by Steve Kelly, WOOD Radio Morning Show host and new Mel Trotter board member. Like many of our guests, Steve struggled childhood trauma, a mental breakdown and a life-threatening disease. Steve discusses his struggles with PTSD, alcoholism and how a liver disease saved his life and brought him closer to God.
Episode 6: Doing Immeasurably More Through Community Partnerships
Beth and Dennis are joined by guest host, Jeff Dashner, Sr. VP of Operations at Mel Trotter Ministries. The three of them sit down with Tom, Vice President, and Ryan, Sr. Project Manager, of Rockford Construction to discuss the important role Rockford Construction and many other local organizations play in the success of our capital campaign. Through these partnerships, our organizations are able to provide dignity and worth to our neighbors experiencing homelessness in the Grand Rapids community.
Episode 7: Hope Begins with a Meal
Dennis and Beth are joined by Tony Johnson, Director of Dining Services at Mel Trotter. In the midst of adversity, with only $15 and a bus pass to his name, Tony found himself on a bus to Grand Rapids looking for hope. As a guest at Mel Trotter, he entered recovery and built a new life for himself. For the last 17 years Tony has been a friend, mentor and encourager to so many of our guests and staff members. His position at MTM allows him to be proximate with the people we serve. During every meal Tony greets our guests and builds relationships with them. Through these meals he shows hope, love and the compassion of Christ to every person he serves.
Episode 8: Love and Humanity for Our Community
This week, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss joins Beth and Dennis to discuss her heart for serving others and how her background in social work and advocacy for affordable housing led to a relationship with Mel Trotter Ministries. Mayor Bliss talks about her deep love for our community and her commitment to wanting our city to be a safe place for everyone to feel loved, have a sense of belonging and access to needed resources.
Episode 9: Collaboration and Community Partnerships
Cheryl Schuch, CEO of Family Promise of Grand Rapids, joins Dennis and Beth this week to discuss the importance of true collaboration and the organizations’ ongoing relationship in the community.
Episode 10: The Importance of Never Giving Up
In the last episode of the season, Dennis and Beth sit down with one of their close teammates, Tim Swiney—Chief Campaign Officer of Mel Trotter. Listen in to hear how God has worked in and through Tim to bring about his own life transformation, and how that experience drives him every day to help transform the lives of our guests.
Episode 1: What Drives Us
Meet the three co-hosts of Everyday Humanity: Regina Dix, Beth Fisher and Dennis Van Kampen as they share what brought them to work at Mel Trotter Ministries and learn more about each other. These folks are passionate about family, caring for others and motorcycles? We pray you’ll be encouraged and see others in the way God created them to be, looking beyond behaviors and appearances. New episode coming next Wednesday!
Episode 2: How God Called Delwin
This week Regina, Beth and Dennis interview Delwin Eiland, worship pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church. Hear Delwin’s story of growing up in the southside of Chicago and a choir experience that changed the trajectory of his life. He’ll share how God called him into worship music as a teenager and to Mars Hill in 2018. We continue the conversation next Wednesday!
Episode 3: Is Delwin Lucky?
This week Regina, Beth and Dennis continue their conversation with Delwin Eiland, worship pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church. Hear about Delwin’s family growing up and his personal experience being an African American man. Enjoy listening to two acoustic performances throughout the episode!
Episode 4: Lauren Discusses Youth Homelessness & Stress
Regina interviews Lauren VanKeulen, CEO at AYA Youth Collective, who has been working with youth for 15 years. Lauren shares how youth homelessness is different than the traditional stereotype, how her team copes with stress, and the story of when she and her husband dropped everything to meet a need in the Grand Rapids community.
Bonus: Battling Hunger Together
Bonus Episode! Beth interviews the President & CEO at Feeding America West Michigan, Ken Estelle, about food insecurity in our community and how we are joining together for Turkey Drop this year. You can drop off frozen turkeys at Celebration Cinema North or South on November 17, 2021 and then Feeding America will distribute them across West Michigan.
Episode 5: Meeting People Where They Are
Regina and Dennis interview Syd Harvey, Chief Operations Officer at Mel Trotter Ministries. For much of his career, Syd has worked in the social sector specifically surrounding diversity, equity& inclusion, which remains a large part of his role at MTM. Fun fact: he enjoys using metaphors involving salads, music, and pie. In this episode, Syd discusses what it means for him to be an agent of healing and change. Don’t miss the end when Syd and Regina share powerful and emotional stories of young men they’ve worked with recently.
Episode 6: Women in Leadership
Regina, Beth and Dennis interview Tonja Moyer, Vice Chair of Mel Trotter Ministries’ Board of Directors and Director of Performance Improvement at Metro Health–University of Michigan Health West. They chat about following Jesus, finding a space for women in leadership and leading from a place of humility.
Episode 7: Ministry Is A Lifestyle
Regina, Beth and Dennis interview Seth McLaughlin, Director of Development at Mel Trotter Ministries. Seth grew up in Kentwood, Michigan, went to Calvin University, and entered into missions with his wife and family when they moved to Honduras. In this episode, they talk about how ministry is a lifestyle and how to empower the people God has put in our lives to serve.
Episode 8: Mark Meijer on Showing Everyone Respect
Regina, Beth and Dennis interview President of Life EMS, Mark Meijer. Mark shares about the values that were instilled in him growing up, how he started Life EMS and how he knew he was on the right path.
Episode 9: Understanding Youth Homelessness
Beth and Regina sit down with Matthew Grzybowski, Production Manager at Mel Trotter Ministries. Stepping out from behind the scenes and sitting at the microphone Matthew shares his experience of being homeless as a youth, the help he received, and the lessons he learned.
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“Consistency is so important, getting to see the same person every other week. I love to interact with everyone at Mel Trotter. This makes me happy,” said Sharon with a smile. “I hit rock bottom but I never gave up. I try to say that to everyone I meet—to never give up.”
Sharon smiled at every person who came through her line for COVID-19 screening and testing at Mel Trotter Ministries. She chatted with each one, asked how they were doing, did her best to make everyone feel at ease and cared for. Doing so is her job as a patient service representative for Binson Nursing and Staffing, but it’s also because she knows and loves Mel Trotter Ministries.
*Names and faces have been changed to protect the privacy of our guests.