OUR MISSION

Starlight Ministries is a Christ centered ministry that provides opportunities for those who are grieving a death loss to experience a safe environment of caring support that promotes healing and inspires Hope for the future.

OUR HISTORY

On November 4, 2007, the Van Wienen’s lost their son Seth after he was struck by a car while crossing the street. At the time, the Van Wienen’s had six other school aged children. The children eventually returned to school and felt absolutely out of place… as if everyone was looking at them, talking about them and generally avoiding them. This made the death of their brother even more difficult and they felt alone. Ten months after Seth’s death they attended a day long grief camp where they were able to be with other kids their age that had experienced similar losses. After only 8 hours, the children no longer felt alone with the thoughts and emotions they had been experiencing. It was then that God placed on Greg and Jolynn’s hearts to create a place that could last longer than one day. A place where children, teens and families could feel God’s love and receive support from other grieving individuals.

STAFF

JOLYNN VAN WIENEN, CO-FOUNDER OF STARLIGHT

Executive Director

Jolynn and her husband, Greg, founded Starlight Ministries, Inc. after the sudden death of their son Seth in 2007.  After a year of research and planning, Starlight held their first group in January 2010.  It is their passion to provide a safe Christ centered environment for families in our communities who are experiencing a death loss.

Questions about Starlight Ministries or how to partner with us
CONTACT:  jolynn@starlightmin.org

GWEN KAPCIA, BSW, Certified Thanatologist

Director of Program Development

Gwen has been with Starlight from its beginning as a speaker and instructor for our facilitator training.  After several years of teaching, she was hired onto staff as the Director of Program Development.  She is Certified in Thanatoglogy: Death, Dying and Bereavement (CT) and a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). She has been in grief and bereavement her entire career and is passionate about bringing education and support to the bereaved.

Questions about Starlight Ministries and requests for speaking at your organization/event regarding grief and loss
CONTACT:  gwen@starlightmin.org

MYCAH RIDDER, BSW

Family Services Coordinator, Jenison & Grand Rapids

Mycah came to Starlight in the fall of 2019.  She stepped into her role as Family Services Coordinator for the Jenison and Grand Rapids locations with a strong desire to provide support to the grieving community.  She has a passion for summer camps and is looking forward to coordinating our Camp Anew each summer.

Questions about child and adult grief support groups in Jenison and Grand Rapids, as well as volunteer and service opportunities for these groups.  CONTACT:  mycah@starlightmin.org

KERI VERWOLF

Family Services Coordinator, Muskegon

Keri has been involved with Starlight from the beginning, initially as a volunteer facilitator and then in the summer of 2018 as the Family Services Coordinator for our Muskegon location.  She is Certified in Thanatoglogy: Death, Dying and Bereavement (CT) and a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). Having experienced grief through death loss, Keri understands the great value of grief support in the community, and is honored to walk alongside families who are grieving.  She also is Systema Funeral Home’s Grief Support and Community Education Specialist.

Questions about child and adult grief support groups in Muskegon, as well as volunteer and service opportunities for Muskegon groups.
CONTACT: keri@starlightmin.org

PAULA DRYER

Program Assistant

Questions about registering for events and enrollment for support groups
CONTACT:  paula@starlightmin.org

ROSANNA DOORNBOS

Office Manager

Rosanna began her time as a volunteer of Starlight.  After several years, she was hired on to the staff as our office manager.  She and her husband are both passionate about what Starlight does.

Questions about donations, billing, or financials
CONTACT:  rosanna@starlightmin.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Kyle Kunnen

President

Senior Vice President, Mercantile Bank of Michigan

Jeffrey Doornbos

Vice President

Regional Sales Director, Cascade Die Casting Group

Jeff Elders

Treasurer

Principal, VMDE CPA Group

Karen DeVries

Secretary

Registered Nurse, Mercy Health

Ken Patterson

Board Member

Senior Operations Engineer, Steelcase Inc.

Matt Biolette

Board Member

Municipal Sales Manager, Republic Services

Michael Dozeman

Board Member

Jolynn Van Wienen

Board Member

Co-founder Starlight Ministries

STORIES OF HOPE

Stories of lives restored from participants of Starlight Ministries.

NEXT STORY >

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START PROVIDING HOPE AND HEALING TO THOSE THAT HAVE EXPERIENCED A DEATH LOSS

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#Giving Tuesday

Help us with our $5000 goal to provide meals and supplies for our families each group night!

"Thursday nights are the only nights that I feed my kids and eat as a family"
- Jamie, participant
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