Dreams Series #1: Mike

by Christian Lubbers

Fast facts:

Age: 48

Childhood dream: State ranger

Current occupation: Shop helper at Lowe’s.

“My dream was to become a state ranger dressed in green, I pursued my dream and graduated college with a degree in forest health, my wife later had a child and i decided to stay instead of leaving my family. Later I roamed around where we lived at the time and found an apple orchard. I worked with them until sun up till sun down. After 7 years I decided to leave and later I worked with a church camp for 12 years. I was a helper there, but I quit because they did not agree with me and my political views. Finally I ended up here at Lowes, I originally was just helping out with the snow but they decided to keep me. Five years later I meet you.”

Dreams- A mini series preview

by Christian Lubbers

I don’t typically do summaries on people’s lives due to the fact that nobody is the same. However, people do share some qualities and similarities such as having goals that they longed for their whole life. I interviewed three people in total and asked roughly the same questions about the beginning of their lives and how they ended up where they are now.

My first person I interviewed was Mike from Lowe’s; he did everything he could to achieve his dream but fell short with the timing of his first born child. The second person I interviewed was Alyssa from PetSmart; she did not make strong attempts to become what she wanted because an insecurity crushed her dream at the very beginning of her life. Finally the last person I interviewed was Curtis from OfficeMax; he started with his dream but when the going got tough he moved on with his life.

If we have your attention, stay tuned for more details on Mike, Alyssa and Curtis.


Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity.

by Jess Wolfe

Students at Grandville High school collected over 200 hats, gloves, and blankets to be handed out in Detroit and Grand Rapids by High Hopes Hammock Co. CEO Connor Moynihan and myself. As a High Hopes Hammock Co. sales rep, I traveled downtown to Degage Ministries. It was an eye-opening experience and my perspective is forever changed.

Degage is a safe place for individuals living without a place to call home. They allow homeless people the opportunity to buy a low-cost meal, no more than two dollars. If an individual can’t afford a meal, they have the option to work a small task at Degage such as sweeping or wiping down tables. This gives them a sense of dignity when purchasing the food because they know they’ve worked for it. This program is a great way to keep individuals off the streets. Degage serves 400-500 people every day.

In addition to the winter gear, I also handed out bracelets donated by Cornerstone Church of Grand Rapids. The bracelets which read ‘Live Grateful’ serve as a constant reminder of the importance of living our lives with an attitude of gratefulness. 

During the time I was handing out winter gear and bracelets, I had the chance to catch some of it on video. Check out what these individuals would like to say to the world…

When Robert saw a new jacket on the pile of winter gear, he was so excited. After putting the new one on he placed his old jacket on the table saying,

“I don’t need this, somebody else can use it. I can only wear one coat.”

Another man by the name of John was walking out when he turned to me and said,

“It’s better to give than it is to receive. It says that in the Bible!”

These interactions were so humbling and changed my perspective on how I perceive homeless individuals.


One woman didn’t want to be on video but allowed me to capture a picture during our conversation about life and what she is going through.

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Regina explained to me that she reads the Bible every day and wants other people to know about the Lord but when she tries to tell people, they never want to listen to the good news she has to offer.

When I asked Regina what she’s most thankful for in life, her answer was simple.

“I’m thankful that I’m livin’.”

Later I asked her what she wanted to tell the world and she responded with a confident answer.

“Praise the Lord.”

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It doesn’t get much more humbling than this.

When a homeless person values faith and hope so highly, it changes your perspective immensely. It was in this moment I realized I needed to break down the barrier of stigma between myself and those who are less fortunate.


“A lot of what life is about is just a balance of how I find the proper perspective on what’s going on, to step back and see a different picture.”

says Cornerstone Pastor Marcus Schmidt in an interview surrounding homelessness and living grateful.

“I think a general stigma with a lot of it is that, they’re lazy, that they have no desire to work hard, to pull themselves up and make something happen and in many cases that’s not true.”

Continual judgment forms stigmas. As a society, we need to break down these barriers built on our judgment and realize that homeless individuals are humans just like the rest of us. They aren’t helpless they just need a little help getting out of their circumstances. It’s not always their fault that they are down in their luck.

“I think in most of our society, we put this divide between those who have and those who have not. Most of us are just thinking we will stay away from those who don’t have what we have because they’re not worthy of our love or not worthy of our attention. I think it’s sad because these people want love, they want attention, they want somebody to care, they want to know that they’re not alone.”

This is a huge issue all throughout society. They’re just trying to make the best of their circumstance and live life to the fullest. Aren’t we all? 

“The housing crisis in this area is a challenge as well because there’s not enough affordable housing. This creates a cliff effect that a family finds themselves homeless because they can’t afford to live where they’re living and they can’t find a job that is going to pay them enough to afford what their needs are. The supplemental help from the government helps them along but if they make too much money they lose the government aid so now they’ve taken five steps backwards and it’s a huge cycle that’s deeper than what we ever realize it could be.”

This is the cycle which often pushes homeless individuals down a path of depression and anxiety which is why it’s so hard to break this cycle of homelessness. 

“I have become friends with a lot of people who were homeless and I wanted to fix all of them and you can’t, you can’t just do that because if I want it more than they want it, then it’s not gonna work.”

The best option is to help someone along the way, not to push them or to pull them, but to walk side by side supporting the homeless individual. This is what Degage and several other organizations around Grand Rapids are working to do. The homeless individuals have very little yet in the midst of their circumstances they are thankful for so much.

“Every time I’ve sat down to pray with them, the things that they pray for were like “God I just thank you for the air that I get to breathe today. I thank you for the fact that I had a meal.” And those are some of the things that I hardly ever pray for. The little things that I take for granted are very important to them.”

With a mindset of thankfulness, positivity moves to the forefront of your life, overpowering and outweighing adversity. Often times the things we take for granted in life are the most important things in which we should be most thankful for.

“God is working in every moment of every day in small ways that we just take for granted because of how blessed we are. This is something I’ve learned from my friends who are in poverty, that they don’t take things for granted that I do, so it’s helped me to change that perspective.”

Life is what you make of it. It’s not about the circumstance in which you’re living in. It’s about the way in which you’re living in the circumstance you’re given. Perspective can be altered. Sometimes you just have to see what it’s like to live in some else’s shoes.

Live Grateful.

Humans of GHS

taylor 008.JPGby Miguel Guzman

Mr. Lubbers

Q: What is one of your favorite memories with your parents?

A: “Vacations. My dad was a teacher and he took us out west and out east, and long camping vacations in the summertime, so like for a month. That was awesome.”

Q: What was your favorite place/city you visited?

A: “They took us to the Bahamas when my brothers and I were in highschool, and we drove to Florida, but then flew over to the Bahamas in one of those little boat planes that lands in the harbor.”

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Israel Morales

Q: What is one the craziest moments in your life?”

A: “One of the craziest moments is when I moved to Mexico. I completely left everything behind and started a brand new life in a brand new country. That was pretty crazy. Not a lot of people get to do that and then it’s more crazy when you get to come back to your old and start again. So it’s a fresh start, and I can’t complain. Both of them are really awesome.”

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Mr. Blevins

Q: What do you think the future is going to be like?

A: “I think that we’re going to be forced to go back to nature, a little more than we use to.”

Q: What is one of your favorite memories with your father?

“Fishing, stream fishing. We did it every year, once a month during the summer, until about five year ago when he couldn’t do it anymore.”

Q: What do you think life should be about?”

“Life should be about the connections you have with others and with yourself.”


Q: What is your favorite memory with your mother?

A: “It was this road trip that we took going to Idaho, ironically to go visit my aunt, and it was just fun. We ended up stopping in Chicago along the way, and it was just kind of nice being with her and my sister too, and it was just the three of us being able to connect and talk and go along and have fun.”

The Path to an Eagle Scout

by Pat Clark

The Boy Scouts of America is a group “you usually join in elementary school that does certain projects and by completing those projects you can earn badges and earn your way up the ranks” explained senior Nick Weigle .

Nick Weigle has done just that by earning the highest rank, Eagle Scout.  

Becoming an eagle scout takes numerous years and a lot of time.

“It sure does take a lot of time, but you get used to it,” Weigle said. “It becomes part of your life.”

Weigle said you need 21 merit badges and also. need to complete a “final project” which takes a long time.

Being in Boy Scouts in high school can be embarrassing for some as it can be “childish” or “lame,” but Wiegle said that most of his friends didn’t know he was still in Boy Scouts until a MLive article was published honoring him as the rank.

“My friends didn’t really know I was a Boy Scout and I liked keeping it that way,” Weigle said as he started to smile. “When the article on MLive came out I was surprised in that my friends didn’t make fun of me or hardly talk about it…I even got a few congratulations.”

Wiegle expressed gratitude for his Boy Scout experience.

“It definitely has helped shape me as a kid growing up because it was a way for me to give back to the community in a way I enjoyed doing.”

Nicks dad, Matt, also commented on the subject saying “I’ve seen Nick grow in his leadership abilities and his critical thinking skills as he has gone along his path to Eagle.”

Overall, Nick is glad he kept with Boy Scouts and called it “a cool experience.”

Giving during the Holidays

by Alyssa Potyraj

Have you ever donated to charity ? Now have you ever donated to a charity not during the holiday season? Why is it that we are more willing to donate during the Holidays when the need is prevalent throughout the entire year? This trend has become so powerful it has created a global movement of giving back referred to as “Giving Tuesday” following Thanksgiving. This movement is meant to join everyone together in order to do good and help people focus on others while they are in the giving spirit.

As the holiday season begins to ramp up, the opportunities for donating seem to increase exponentially. From Thanksgiving food drives to Toys for Tots and Salvation Army donations. According to the San Diego Foundation “38 percent of those who donate to charity said that they are more likely to do so during the holiday season.”

Jen Timmer who works at a local shelter downtown said that her shelter is impacted by this trend.

“We generally get the bulk of our donations between Thanksgiving and January 1st,” Timmer said. “We also have a couple of major fundraisers that bring in a large portion of our monetary donations. The fundraisers are held in March and November.”


Many people donate during the holidays because it is convenient and encouraged throughout the “season of giving.” Sophomore Cici Lowe said that she donated to the school wide food drive because her teacher encouraged their class and she also has seen the good in donating to the less fortunate. Cici has also helped at local soup kitchens with her church mostly around Christmas time.

Although donating is highly encouraged around the holidays, it is important to donate year round. Timmer states that it is important to do so because “the shelter often run low on important items which we then have to purchase it which negatively affects our budget. The needs do not go away outside the season of giving yet the donations seem to slowly fade away leaving shelves of shelters bare and empty throughout the remainder of the year.”

Many people donate because it makes them feel good inside but they don’t always realize the impacts of the donations. Timmer explains a time when she felt that the shelter greatly impacted people in need through the kindness of others.

“A huge donation which took a few years to produce is our side yard. It is a safe play yard that gets a ton of use by our families. This donation came from Junior League who came to us as volunteers and really became passionate about our cause. They took on the side yard as Signature Project and designed an awesome play space for our kids. The kids are able to play with their moms, other children and with staff. They feel safe in the environment and enjoy it very much!” Timmer said.

Many people who have received donations in the past feel as they need to give back or donate later in life to help others in the same way they have been helped. A local kettle bell ringer in Grandville shared her story of why she gives back during the holiday season.

“When I was unemployed, Salvation Army helped my children to have a Christmas by providing them with gifts, so now I give back to help others,” she said.

Donating is beneficial all year round so it is important to continue giving outside of the holiday season. It not only helps the less fortunate but it also makes you feel good doing something for the greater good.