Your True North
Next Episode: Saturday @ 11am
Leana Davison is a wife and mother and the Marketing Manager at Mad City Windows and Bath in Madison, WI. Her life was changed in a drug treatment court and she has been in recovery for 13 years. Her philosophy is that everyday should be a celebration of the joy of living.
Abha Gupta Varma, MD, practices at Cherry Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she cares for a wide variety of patients, regardless of insurance status or income level. Many of her patients struggle with joblessness, homelessness, and addiction. As a doctor, she finds that listening to a patient’s life story is often a critical component of treatment. Dr. Varma is the daughter of physicians and is married to a physician. She is the mother of 3 children, and is an active member of her community. She hopes to continue exploring the role of storytelling via radio and podcasts to further her work as a medical provider.
Jody lives her life with the motto "the journey is the destination". She is a pastor in the United Church of Christ and loves a challenge; her latest is starting a faith community that is serving the most vulnerable in Traverse City, MI with affordable housing, safe spaces and food security. The highlight of her week is the New York Times Sunday crossword with her best friend and partner, a giggle with the little people who are her grandchildren, and talking about real stuff with others on the journey.
William G. Schma served as Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge from his initial appointment in 1987 until his retirement in 2007. He has lectured, published articles and law reviews, and made numerous presentations on substance abuse and criminal justice, drug treatment courts, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, and Problem Solving Courts. Judge Schma presided over the Kalamazoo County Drug Treatment Court Program; is a founding member of the National Association for Drug Court Professionals; and served as the first President of the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals. He has received the Founders Award and the Stanley M. Goldstein Award from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, as well as The Champion of Justice Award from the State Bar of Michigan. He maintains a particular interest in understanding and promoting the law as a healing profession, and practicing law, judging and criminal justice with an ethic of care. Currently he is president of the Drug Treatment Court Foundation of Kalamazoo County.
Jim Chase worked in factories for many years as a member of the Teamsters Local 406 and later became involved in union leadership as a Business Agent and Organizer. Buck Geno is a pipefitter and a member of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union who served as a Principal Officer for that union. Dave Johnson has worked as a realtor, salesman, and entrepreneur throughout his working life, including being the co-owner of a cable company. All three are hosts for the Cut to the Chase radio show on WPRR in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Cathy is a gifted teacher, successful small-business owner, and grandmother. As a 37-year resident of Michigan’s 3rd District, Cathy has made it her life’s work to fight for the health and education of our nation’s children. Cathy lives in Middleville with her husband of 41 years Rick Albro, Davenport University’s Women’s Basketball Coach. Cathy has served thousands of families in the West Michigan community through her work as a public school educator and owner of two small businesses.
Rob is the husband of 25 years to Diana and proud dad of Mia, Sam and Ava. Rob was an Emergency Physician for over 2 decades, working in rural Fremont, MI for the past 17 years. Currently serving as the executive director of the non-profit Committee to Protect Medicare and Affordable Care. In my free time Rob run, play guitar and love to travel with my family.
Susan and George Heartwell are residents of western Michigan. Susan is the Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, and her career has focused on advocacy work for vulnerable children. George Heartwell works with the Grand Rapids Community Sustainability Partnership after serving for 12 years as the mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Susan and George have been married for 48 years, and are the parents of three children and six grandchildren.
Dawn McDonald is a Grand Rapids resident working in the area of equity, inclusion and cultural competency. Her focus is student and family support and success in school districts. Tamara Gurley is a racial educator, consultant, and seminarian. She has served in business and ministry leadership for over 14 years, blending her love for people, education, and creative arts into serving and growing faith-based and corporate communities.
A native of Cleveland Ohio, Dr. Damon Arnold is an author, consultant and motivational speaker. He understands success and failure. He also understands how to motivate others to achieve their dreams and discover their PURPOSE. After getting kicked-out of two different high schools and ultimately graduating from a continuation school, his message is simple “It’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts.”
With a Ph.D. in education administration from Washington State University, Dr. Arnold works with the National Football League’s Rookie Transition Program, the league’s onboarding program for drafted and undrafted rookies. He has been a facilitator at NCAA leadership conferences, and a panelist on discussions concerning the state of public schools. Dr. Arnold is the author of several books, including “The PyramIT of Purpose,” the motivational “Doc’s Daily Dose,” and the children’s superhero storybook “I AM/Mirror Mirror.”
Dr. John Shinsky has dedicated his life to serving others in many different capacities. He is a graduate of Michigan State University, and was Co-Captain of the 1973 Michigan State Football team and an Academic All-American. He has served as an educator for over 40 years as a special education teacher, Director of Special Education, and Area Administrator in the Lansing Public Schools. He is presently a Full Professor and the Associate Dean for Community Impact in the College of Education at Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids Michigan. As a former orphan, he has committed his life to serving the needs of abandoned, neglected, abused, and orphaned children. John and his wife Cindy are co-founders of Ciudad de los Niños, the City of Children Shinsky Orphanage in Matamoros Mexico. The orphanage has served approximately 180 children since 2009, with 17 high school graduates as of 2019. On September 5, 2019, the Shinsky Orphanage will celebrate its 10th year anniversary. John and Cindy continue to face the challenge of fully supporting the orphanage by raising over $350,000 a year, which covers all costs, and allows them to provide love, security, education, spirituality, and leadership for the children in the home. John is the example that he wants his children to become, by loving, leading, giving, and caring for others in a way that promotes the belief that “Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
Kurt Ver Beek is the President and co-founder of the Association for a More Just Society, an organization founded in Honduras to improve access to government services including health, education, and security. Over more than 20 years with the organization, Kurt has been instrumental in designing innovative and effective programs including the “Peace and Justice Project”, which has reduced homicides by as much as 75% in marginal communities in Honduras, and is now being replicated by the Honduran National Police. Kurt also designed and directs research for ASJ’s Governance and Public Management project, which evaluates the transparency and effectiveness of Honduran government ministries and issues recommendations for improvement in areas like human resources, contracting, and research-based management. Kurt graduated from Calvin College before pursuing a Master’s in Human Resources from Azusa Pacific University, and a Doctorate in Development Sociology from Cornell University. In addition to his work with AJS, he is a professor of Sociology for Calvin College, where he co-directs the Honduras semester abroad program. He and his wife, Jo Ann Van Engen, have called Honduras home for more than 30 years.
Jo Ann Van Engen is a co-founder of the Association for a More Just Society (ASJ), and has been a member of the board since 1998. She is actively involved in communications and video production about the work of AJS, and regularly speaks on behalf of the organization in the United States. Jo Ann is also a professor and co-director for the Honduran Justice Studies semester abroad program of Calvin College. She graduated from Calvin College and received a Master’s in Sociology from Azusa Pacific University. In addition to her work with ASJ, she has worked for World Renew, a development organization, and sits on the advisory board of Mennonite Central Committee in Honduras.
Eleanor Moreno is the Founder of Co2, a storytelling collective, Co-Founder of Moreno Consulting LLC, a community collective website and translating group. Eleanor loves building relationships and believes that at the end of the day it's all about connecting to one another and elevating one another's gifts and talents. Eleanor Moreno, serves as Director of Community Engagement at The Other Way Ministries. Her work in Food systems across Kent County has included implementation of Healthy Food Policies in Food pantries, work with CSA farmers, low-cost Farmers Markets, urban growing and a one on one needs assessment program. Eleanor has presented nationally in her work on storytelling, culture and food.
Nicholas Wolterstorff is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University, Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, and Honorary Professor of Australian Catholic University. He graduated from Calvin College in 1953 and received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University in 1956. He taught philosophy at Calvin College from 1959 to 1989, and then joined the faculty of Yale Divinity School, with adjunct appointments in the Yale philosophy department and religious studies department. He retired at the end of 2001. During leaves of absence he has taught at the Free University of Amsterdam, Princeton University, and the University of Notre Dame. He has been President of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division) and President of the Society of Christian Philosophers. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among the named lectures he has given are the Wilde Lectures at Oxford, the Gifford Lectures at St Andrews, the Taylor Lectures at Yale, and the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary. His publications include Art in Action (Eerdmans, 1980), Lament for a Son (Eerdmans, 1987), Justice: Rights and Wrongs (Princeton 2008), Justice in Love (Eerdmans 2011), Journey toward Justice (Baker 2013), The God We Worship (Eerdmans 2015), Art Rethought (Oxford 2015), and Acting Liturgically (Oxford 2018). Forthcoming in early 2019 are In This World of Wonders: Memoir of a Lie in Learning (Eerdmans) and Religion in the University (Yale).
Listen to Dr. Keway and Brigid Avery explore how to prepare for career on this episode of Your True North. Dr. Linda Keway joined the Counselor Education faculty of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2017. Brigid serves as the Associate Director of Career Services and Internship Director.
Clare presently serves as the Director of Engagement and Programming for the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. In her role, she has developed and implemented new character and leadership-based K-12 programming that has significantly increased the level of student engagement within the Gerald R. Ford Museum. Clare has played a pivotal role in several outreach education programs and community events and has collaborated with nationwide media platforms to develop online resources for students. Clare is a proud wife and mother of two young daughters as well as a graduate of Aquinas College and Western Michigan University.
Jeff Smith has spent the past 40 years doing community organizing work, popular education work and creating independent media. He has spent a significant amount of time in Central America and Mexico doing accompaniment work, which has influenced his organizing work here in Michigan. Jeff writes for two online sites, the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy and the Grand Rapids People's History Project.
Belinda Bardwell holds a B.S. in Liberal Studies (GVSU, ’14), an MPA (GVSU, ’17) and is an accomplished community leader. Lin has served 8 years as commissioner for the Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission, is President of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council’s Board of Directors and has served as project coordinator and spokesperson for the “Gi-gikinomaage-min (We are all teachers): Defend Our History, Unlock Your Spirit” initiative since its launch in August 2014. Lin is a proud citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians located in Harbor Springs, Michigan and served a four year term as an elected official.
Bill McKibben is an author, environmentalist, and activist. In 1988 he wrote The End of Nature, the first book for a common audience about global warming. He is a co-founder and Senior Advisor at 350.org, an international climate campaign that works in 188 countries around the world.
Listen to this episode of Your True North, in which we have the opportunity to interview these three Catholic sisters: Sister Barbara Hansen, Ellie Hutchison, & Katie Gordon.
Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), Tradition, The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. His work has been published in more than ten languages, and has received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award, and the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. His work was twice selected for the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults (2015, 2017), and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best (2016) and a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2014. He is on the faculty of the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College. Originally from the Boston area, he now lives with his wife in New York City.
Eileen Kerlin Walsh grew up on a small farm in Ireland and came to the U.S. in 1989 where she earned a law degree from Loyola University School of Law. She worked in both the private and government sectors before starting her own estate planning practice. Eileen presents a monthly television show in the Chicago suburbs, “Wills, Trusts & More,” and hosts the podcast, “Where the Road Rises.” She is also a motivational speaker and leads workshops about ethical wills.
Gerri Detweiler has been guiding individuals through the confusing world of credit for 20+ years. Her articles have been widely syndicated, and she is the author or coauthor of five books, including her most recent, Finance Your Own Business: Get on the Financing Fast Track. She has testified before Congress and been interviewed for more than 3000 news interviews. She currently serves as education director for Nav, which gives small business owners free personal and business credit scores and guidance, and helps match them to financing. She recently downsized to a tiny house.
Gerald Murnane part 2
Gerald Murnane part 1