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Allyson Velderman Hired As Guiding Light Director of Community Engagement

West Michigan Native Returns Home To Strengthen Non-Profit’s Presence in Grand Rapids.

Allyson Velderman is joining Guiding Light as the non-profit’s Director of Community Engagement, the latest addition to Guiding Light’s new leadership team which is continuing the organization’s history of service while preparing for the future.

Increase Program Awareness, Connect with Local Organizations

In this newly created role, Velderman will help connect Guiding Light with other local organizations and will also work to increase awareness of Guiding Light’s proven successful recovery, transitional housing and back to work programs among both individuals and community groups. Velderman joins Guiding Light from Service Over Self Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee, where she worked since 2014, most recently serving as Director of Programs and Communication.  

“At Guiding Light, we’re looking to build on our history of recovery and re-engagement and strengthen our connections to add even more programs in the future,” said Brian Elve, Guiding Light Executive Director. “Ally’s years of experience in the non-profit sector combined with her enthusiasm and passion for Guiding Light’s mission make her the perfect fit to strengthen our team.”

West Michigan Native with Guiding Light Roots

Velderman is originally from West Michigan and is a graduate of Hope College. As a child, she spent time volunteering at Guiding Light with her family, and says that experience started a lifelong admiration and appreciation for Guiding Light’s efforts.

“Guiding Light is founded on a brave, creative dynamic that uniquely focuses on the whole person,” said Allyson Velderman, Guiding Light Director of Community Engagement. “I’ve seen firsthand the special place Guiding Light holds within the community and I’m excited to start sharing what Guiding Light is and strengthen our footprint and involvement in the community.”

The Shift from Traditional Shelter to Program-Based Sustainability

Over the past decade, Guiding Light has shifted from its roots as a traditional shelter to a program-based organization that walks alongside individuals to fulfill their God-given dignity and potential. The nonprofit’s programs include:

  • Recovery, an intensive drug and alcohol treatment program that combines evidence-based practices, life coaches, therapy, support groups, spiritual direction and resources to equip men to build lives worth staying sober for.
  • Iron House, a sober-living community and Guiding Light social enterprise that provides a safe and secure environment with continuing support for men who complete the Foundations portion of Recovery.

Velderman started her new position on October 3.  In this role, she will work with new Development and Communications Director David Madiol on expanding Guiding Light’s presence in West Michigan as the local community begins to re-engage following the pandemic.


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