GRIL Grads Include First Group From Emerge Program

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

gri1A graduation ceremony for the 2017 GRIL graduates was held at Calvin College.Seeded throughout Greater Grand Rapids are a new crop of leaders dedicated to bringing out the best in themselves and others.

GR Initiative for Leaders' (GRIL) 2017 graduates include its first class from its Emerge program, a nine-month curriculum for adults who want to take their leadership skills to the next level and become leaders in their community, according to Denise Fase, GRIL's executive director.

Recent graduates from GRIL's two other programs include GRIL U Teen Faith Based Leadership Program, a training program for teens led by GRIL and DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative graduates who invest in the lives of teens in order to shepherd them to become servant leaders who in turn will impact their homes, schools, neighborhoods, churches and cities. GRIL partners with area churches and youth ministries to challenge young people to become Christ-like and cross-cultural servant leaders.

The second group of grads are from GRIL's Ambassador Program, a school-based training program for Ottawa Hills and Union High schools students who want to grow as leaders and then make a difference in their schools and communities.

God is first

gri2 GRIL executive director Denise Fase: “We can’t take care of others until we are able to understand who we are and whose we are.”"We spend quite a bit of time in Scripture, in the sense of God is first, and ourselves is second," said Fase, whose facility is based in Southeast Grand Rapids. "We can't take care of others until we are able to understand who we are and whose we are and can live in that space and then we can live in the community that we want to change."

GRIL was launched by people who graduated from the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative (DVULI), a national faith-based leadership development program for urban youth workers in Christian organizations and institutions.

DVULI alumni, in turn, wanted to train others, and so launched GRIL in 2004 (with specific programs established thereafter) to invest in emerging leaders by training them over a nine-month period using DVULI curriculum that relies on the core values of balance, accountability, empowerment, interdependence, leverage and diversity, meaning a racism-free community.

Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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