Guiding Light is a team dedicated to walking alongside individuals as they engage in the hard work of transformation, embrace their God-given dignity, and pursue the potential of their lives.


Our vision is to awaken the man with addictions to the possibility of becoming physically, emotionally, and spiritually transformed. Our goal for men is lifelong recovery and a new way of being in relationship with the world.

The staff here has a vested, personal interest to the work we do.

Did you know that over half of our dedicated employees are graduates of the Guiding Light addiction rehab and recovery program? To all of us, it is not just a day job. It is a calling and a commitment.

Brian Elve, Executive Director

Brian Spyke, Director of Finance & Administration

David Madiol, Director of Development & Communications

Allyson Velderman, Director of Community Engagement

Cecil Lawson, Office Assistant

Doug Pancy, Creative Director

Erin Ledy, Systems Analyst/Grant Writer

Samuel Snapp, Administrative Specialist 

Ryan Becksford, Case Manager

Mark SchefflerOperations Associate

Toni Mattson, Accounting Specialist

Daniel Irwin, Lead Case Manager

Jalen Thomas, Intake Coordinator

Jacob Passerman, Case Manager/Outreach

Michael Ryan, Case Manager

Allen Holt, Food Service Director

Scott Korhorn, Maintenance Associate

Scott Davidson, Front Desk Associate


These are our five guiding principles:

Christ-Centered: Guiding Light follows the teachings of Jesus Christ powered by the Spirit and supported in prayer.

Excellence: We courageously pursue excellence in our programs, leaders, and outcomes through learning, innovation, and personal and organizational collaboration.

Gratitude: We receive our blessings and challenges with the spirit and actions of gratitude to God and to others.

Integrity: We commit to high ethical and professional standards as good stewards of our entrusted time, talents, and treasures.

Justice: We uphold the human dignity of each person and further inclusiveness.

In Him was life, and that Life was the light of all mankind.

JOHN 1:4

Letter from the Guiding Light Board of Directors to our community: 

Guiding Light is about change—changing the course of each life to reflect God’s plan for health and happiness and spiritual peace. That is our calling and our passion.

This ministry is showing such growth, unimagined just a few years ago. Iron House, The Job Post, and Guiding Light Recovery are yielding rich fruits for our men, the organization, and our community. We still do what we have always done – share Christ’s love by offering a hand to those at the end of their rope. Now, our local charity offers even more – real, sustainable recovery, supported with safe, affordable housing and employment that leads to full social re-engagement and personal restoration. 

This Strategic Plan charts our course for the coming years. It includes our Mission, Vision, Goal Statements and Objectives, Guiding Principles and our Dashboard. As our partners, we hope you will look carefully at these vibrant plans to meet our God-given opportunities in the future.

Real change is hard work—whether that is in a life or an organization. It takes a vision and determined commitment; and it takes many hands. Nobody changes alone—that is true for our clients and it is true for an organization. You will see this clearly in this Strategic Plan. Thank you for being part of this amazing organization, fulfilling this wonderful mission that impacts lives deeply and permanently, for the Glory of God and the coming of God’s Kingdom.

Guiding Light Board of Directors

Dawn Buursma, Director, Homestead Realty

Kyle Kunnen, Director, Mercantile Bank

Dee Dee Taylor, Director, Goodwill Industries

Steve Jandernoa, Director, 42 North Partners

Kate Morton, Director, WXMI Fox 17


Through Rescue, Recovery, and Re-Engagement, Guiding Light is committed to walking alongside individuals as they engage in the hard work of transformation, embrace their God-given dignity, and pursue the potential of their lives. We combine innovative programming with long-term relational investment to offer men struggling with chronic addiction – and associated homelessness, unemployability, and isolation – a unique and successful solution. 

Founded in 1929, right before the Great Depression hit, Guiding Light has seen many different eras in our community. One thing that remains the same is Guiding Light’s commitment to serve those experiencing poverty, addiction, and cycles of broken relationships. Based in the Heartside neighborhood, with affordable sober-living apartments in Kentwood as a next option after completing our addiction rehab program, Guiding Light offers programming to address big-picture issues: Employment… Housing… Addiction Rehab and Recovery, and Community Re-building.

No longer the traditional homeless shelter from which we began, we are committed to both the non-duplication of services and being good neighbors to the life-giving local charity organizations around us. In addition to our primary programs, we still continue to:

  • Provide a warming/cooling center in times of extreme temperatures
  • Offer warm clothes, coats, and boots to those needing winter gear
  • Share significant amounts of food and food supplies with our neighboring Heartside organizations and surrounding communities.

But our own strategy of helping the homeless has changed to one that, when successful, takes the homeless or downtrodden man off the street permanently. When he takes yet another step and helps others on a similar journey, the circle of sustainability continues.

Our Financials

To the right is our 2021 Annual Report. Below is our Financial Audit and 990 Tax Form for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.