Today, Grand Rapids’ media personality Phil Tower came into our building in Heartside to record the pilot episode for Casting Light, a new podcast featuring stories of recovery and hope from Guiding Light. The podcast will feature the testimonials of men who have had their lives changed through our programs, donors who have been touched by the good work that happens here, staff-members who have had their worldviews shifted, and many others.
For our first episode, Phil sat down with Guiding Light Development Director, Starla McDermott, to talk about why these stories of recovery are worth telling. “I think this is a great opportunity to reach people who have misperceptions about what happens inside Guiding Light, what the program is about, and what kind of people are here,” Phil said. “One thing that has really struck me, and I’ve had the honor and the privilege of speaking with some of the men of the program here, is that it is real and it is powerful and it is revealing as it can be. I really give these men credit here because many of them do not feel very comfortable speaking about this, and let’s be real some of these men have really driven their lives into the ground, and it’s sad. But, it’s also powerful that they have walked in the doors here and they have chosen recovery at Guiding Light. If we can share to those listening what kind of stories would be told…you live this every day can you go little deeper on that?”
Starla explained that the word recovery, in the context of Casting Light, can mean a myriad of different things. “Recovery can be from addiction, homelessness, getting back to work, there’s so many different stories. Recovery can mean recovering your family, recovering your work life, there’s so many different aspects of recovery. Part of it, when you’re here, is that you are learning to be vulnerable and honest with your story, and then share it with others. It’s impactful for everyone else to realize that you are not a bad person if you’re homeless or if you have an addiction. You’re not a bad person, you’re a human being, and you are able to look at your own feelings, your own fears, and your own problems and you’re able to share that with the world and that helps you grow.”
One of the main goals of Casting Light is to show to our audience that the stories of change that happen in Guiding Light are only possible because of the unique role that we play in the community. We are seeking to show our listeners that we are not a “traditional” shelter. We invest heavily in individuals who are truly willing to change and to live up to their God-given potential. What sets Guiding Light apart from other similar programs is the sheer amount of resources we give men access to when they come through our doors. “I think number one is that a lot of people think Guiding Light is still a traditional mission, and we moved away from that ten years ago,” Starla explains. “Today it really is about walking beside a person through their addiction recovery or getting back to work. A lot of people think it’s individuals coming in and out through this revolving door and that’s not who we are. I think that’s the other reason for this podcast, it’s to show people who we are and to shine a light on what these men are doing and how hard they’re working.”
Casting Light will be premiering July 8th through the podcasting platform Captivate and will be available to stream or download on Spotify, Apple, and many more locations. We are excited to be able to bring you stories of hope, inspiration, struggles, and aspiration from the very men you have helped. None of what we do here would be possible without the help of people like you. Without the tireless devotion and generosity of our donors, volunteers, and advocates, this would not be possible. Without you, men in our community struggling with homelessness and addiction would not have a place to heal in the spirit of God’s love. From all of us at Guiding Light, clients and staff alike, God bless you and thank you so much for all of your support.