Kerwin was raised in a single-parent home in one of the roughest sections of urban Grand Rapids. He came to The Potter’s House in 5th grade, and was introduced to Jesus through the leading of his teachers. As he grew in faith through high school, he came to see God as the good father that he had been missing in his childhood. After graduating from TPH, he attended Moody Bible Institute, where he went on to get a Master’s Degree and become one of the youngest professors in Moody’s history. He is now working on his Doctorate in Theology.
Jonathan was one of the first students who attended The Potter’s House from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. Being educated alongside students from every ethnicity and income level inspired Jonathan to dedicate his life to serving the poor and marginalized in society. Jonathan and his wife Lauren started a housing project in the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood a few years ago. The program, called, 3:11 (from the verse in 1 Corinthians), serves homeless youth by giving them housing and job skills training. The program has expanded to other houses in Grand Rapids, and is now the largest homeless youth outreach in the city.
Aaron and Henry's Story
Aaron came to The Potter’s House in 1st grade as an angry young boy from a difficult family situation. Henry, a TPH supporter and volunteer, began mentoring him in fourth grade, and the experience changed both of their lives. Henry eventually opened R-House, a center for at-risk youth in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood. After graduating from TPH, Aaron lived at and co- lead the youth center with Henry while studying youth ministry at Kuyper College. Today, Aaron serves as a pastor and mentor for at-risk neighborhood youth. His two children both attend The Potter’s House.
Ambar began attending The Potter’s House in 3rd grade, shortly after her parents got divorced and her father faded out of her life. Ambar’s mother worked long hours and attended English classes in the evening, in preparation for college. One of Ambar’s teachers watched her after school until her mother came home from work, and even helped to proofread her mother’s writing assignments. With the school’s help, Ambar’s mother went on to complete a college degree in business and marketing. Ambar became a straight “A” student at The Potter’s House, and served as president of the student council in her senior year. She is now studying pre- med at the University of Michigan in preparation to become an emergency room doctor.
Andrick grew up in a poor, unstable single-parent home. At a young age, he witnessed his mother being arrested and deported. At school, other kids bullied him mercilessly for being quiet, scrawny, and too poor to have nice clothes. “I tried to keep myself hidden. I felt like trash,” he remembers. He endured countless acts of verbal and physical abuse from his peers. The bullying became so bad that he planned to end his own life. During 7th grade, he transferred to The Potter’s House. Instead of contempt and indifference, students and staff showed him compassion, dignity and respect. It was the first time he experienced a sense of hope and belonging at school. Since enrolling at TPH, Andrick has become a Christian, and he is flourishing both spiritually and academically.
Carolina began her education at The Potter’s House in 3rd grade. She came from a large, single- parent family with a mother who spoke very little English. The housing project in which they lived was one of the poorest and most dangerous in Grand Rapids. Carolina’s mother heard of The Potter’s House and decided to enroll three of her children. Carolina excelled at The Potter’s House, after graduation in 2005 she studied pre-medicine and psychology at Calvin College. She went on to complete medical school at Michigan State University. Carolina is now in the 5th-year of her General Surgery Residency at Arizona Medical Center.
Assoumani’s family emigrated to the US to escape the Rwandan genocide. Raised as a Muslim, he heard about the Gospel of Jesus for the first time when he enrolled at The Potter’s House in middle school. He became convinced that Jesus was indeed Lord and Savior, and dedicated his life to him. “If it was not for The Potter’s House,” he insists, “I can guarantee you that I would not be the man of Christ I am today.” Assoumani graduated from Grace Christian University in 2016 and currently works for Bethany Christian Services as part of the Refugee Foster Care Team.