For Immediate Release

 Contact: Starla McDermott

Guiding Light, 616.451.0236, ext. 20


Mary Ann Sabo

Sabo PR, 616.485.1432

 Guiding Light Turns Vacation Weekend into Vocation Weekend

Weeklong Events Will Highlight $13.5 Million Annual Economic Impact of Job Placement

 Grand Rapids, Michigan, August 21, 2017 – This Labor Day, Guiding Light will turn the traditional end-of-summer vacation weekend into vocation weekend to highlight the significant impact it is making in West Michigan with its job placement and recovery programs.

Last year alone, the downtown Grand Rapids-based nonprofit created a $13.5 million economic impact through the more than 600 men and women who have gained employment through its innovative programs. These include:

  • Back to Work, a path that provides full support for those who are homeless and looking to re-engage in the workforce
  • Guiding Light Recovery, a transformative program that provides the time, space and place to heal from addictions
  • The Job Post, an in-house hiring and recruitment firm focused on placing those who are temporarily unemployed or seeking career advancement

“We felt it was the perfect opportunity to go back to the true roots of Labor Day and honor the contributions our men have made to the local economy,” said Stuart Ray, executive director. “Guiding Light has taken significant strides to turn the concept of the traditional recovery mission on its head by providing our men with the tangible tools they need to re-enter society.”

Back to Work provides a short-term stay for men who are employed or seeking full-time employment, allowing them to save money while they look for permanent housing. Men utilizing the program are often homeless and unable to find employment due to factors such as a lack of transportation, equipment or addiction.

During their stay, they receive job coaching, training in techniques for searches as well as access to a mentor for advice and encouragement. To help address barriers that prevent men from working, Guiding Light’s facilities include a computer lab, which is used for job searches, email communication and resume preparation. The organization also provides transportation to men going to job interviews.

“Regardless of their past, we want to show the men in our program that they have the potential to find long term employment and a successful future,” said Starla McDermott, development director. “This means breaking down barriers and helping them to find it within themselves to make meaningful changes.”