About Heartside Ministry


Heartside Ministry began as a small outreach to the homeless and disenfranchised people of the street. In a neighborhood all but abandoned by businesses and avoided by many, Heartside took up its work to help the most disadvantaged residents of the streets. Heartside grew to meet the needs of the neighbors, with programs that welcome the stranger and affirm each person’s intrinsic worth and dignity.

George Heartwell joined the staff as a full-time pastor and advocate and served with us for fourteen years, before taking up a political career that led to his role as the Mayor of Grand Rapids.

In the early 1990’s the Art Studio began, and in the years following a woodworking shop and pottery studio were added. The Heartside artists continue to enjoy our creative and therapeutic outlet.

At about the same time, adult literacy and GED classes started at Heartside. Designed to help neighbors accomplish their personal best, it was unique in matching students to tutors for individualized help instead of a large class setting. In 2019, 77 students graduated with their GED, an all-time high number.

In early 2020, Heartside Ministry merged with Mel Trotter Ministries after a two-year shared services agreement that combined operational functions. Reducing operating costs, eliminating potential duplication of services, and creating a greater impact for the populations the agencies both serve were the driving forces for the merger.

That brings us to today. Our art gallery bustles with life and color every day. GED students find success and belief in themselves, our chapel is filled with neighbors every Sunday, and our advocacy programs and pastoral care give our neighbors the help they need a dignified and compassionate way. We offer compassion without judgment. We are here – here to be neighborly.

Contact Us

Our Staff

Gregory Randall
Executive Director

Rev. Kelly VanBrouwer
Pastoral Care and Associate Director

Tony Tomas
Education Director

Aaron Edwards
Art Coordinator

John Kim
Resource Coordinator

Hannah Bechtold
Building & Activity Coordinator

Olivia Mason
Hospitality Associate

Please select a category so that your inquiry is sent to the appropriate team member.

Ministry Hours

Monday – Friday
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday Worship Hours:
11:30 a.m. Worship (temporary suspended due to covid)

GED Hours

Monday – Thursday
9:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.
1:00 p.m.  – 3:30 p.m.

Art Gallery Hours

Monday – Friday
9:00 a.m. - 4 p.m.