The DCS board of directors are the trustees for the organization’s vision, mission, and values to combat the cycle of homelessness and substance use disorder in our community.
Stacy is a Board Member and Director of Development and Fundraising who co-founded Dirt City Sanctuary to help end the cycle of addiction and homelessness.
Personal: I have lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the last 15 years but was raised in Grant, Michigan (population 881). Growing up in a small town was great for the most part. You feel connected to everyone, simply because you share this small place on the map. Marijuana was the only drug I was really exposed to growing up (though it was rumored in high school that my brother Sam was “dropping acid”). After graduation, I learned that my Dad had been prescribed oxycontin for his chronic back pain. I knew nothing about opioids and was under the assumption that a prescribed medicine must be safe. He became dependent on large quantities of oxycontin and the drug slowly contributed to his downfall. He lost his business, he became unable to work, he became desperate for money, and was making decisions that years before, he would have never considered. I wish that I knew more about opioid addiction then, before it was too late for him. He was not perfect, but his generous heart is how I will always remember him. I know my work with Dirt City Sanctuary would make him smile.
My three T’s:
Teddy (age 5), Tilly (age 2), and Tyler (age 34) – I’m a busy Mom to these three. One of them constantly needs attention or a snack. Though they exhaust me, they give me a purpose and bring me happiness.
I have worked for a local college, a dance studio (actually where I met Anderson), and spent the last 10 years working for a nonprofit in the accreditation sector. I have a bachelor’s degree in business and communications from Aquinas College, as well as a master’s degree in management with a concentration in communications. I have a passion for higher education and hope to always keep learning.
My hopes for DCS:
I want Dirt City Sanctuary to be a place that allows people to be honest with those around them and most importantly, with themselves. I want to serve the addicted and homeless people that no one thinks have a chance. I want those people to go on and accomplish things they didn’t know were possible and to pass along the kindness and support that was shown to them
Tyler is a Board Member and Director of Advocacy and Community Outreach who co-founded Dirt City Sanctuary to help end the cycle of addiction and homelessness.
I was born in Grand Rapids and then moved to Grant, Michigan when I was 4. That is where I lived and grew up, but my family came to Grand Rapids at least a few times a week. Grand Rapids is what I’ve known since I was born and where I became homeless. I graduated from Grant in 2003 with Stacy, and then I went to Ferris State University in Big Rapids for about a year before dropping out to see the country. I’ve been to 42 states but Michigan has always been home.
I grew up working hard and was able to maintain that into my twenties, but drugs got a hold of me and sent me and my soul to the slums of earth. I was a professional drug addict and hustler in every aspect. I have a master’s degree in shooting heroin and a bachelor’s degree in crack cocaine. I’ve been to jail at least 30 times and to rehab or detox around 20 times. I was the guy no one thought could ever get clean. Today, I’m receiving addiction treatment, I have my own apartment, I’m working full time, and giving back to the community. It turned out that with the right formula, even I was able to come back stronger than ever before. I’ve done every drug possible, but I have never found anything that felt even a little close to what I feel helping my fellow man. If I could play a part in anyone getting clean and creating a nice life for themselves, it was all worth it. It’s all about the love.
Wendy is a Board Member and Director of Programming and Compliance who co-founded Dirt City Sanctuary to help end the cycle of addiction and homelessness.
I believe when individuals experience addiction and homelessness, it’s not uncommon for their lives to unravel. My passion is to bring help, healing and compassion to those experiencing addiction and homelessness. I want to aid addicts in finding healthy perceptions of themselves and help facilitate, heal and strengthen their relationships with the family, friends and members of the local community so they can know themselves as sober, complete and whole individuals who are not forgotten.
I believe that each person facing addiction has a story to tell and that each addict’s story deserves to be told. I believe that no single approach is correct when it comes to recovery and that each person’s road to recovery should be an individualized journey.
I know first hand the devastation of losing a loved one to the opioid epidemic currently facing our country. I lost my son, Jordan Blaauw, April 17, 2017 to an opioid overdose. Since losing Jordan, I have made it my mission to give a voice to those who aren’t heard.
I am a married mother of 4 and live in Eastown in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have been married to the love of my life, John Botts, for the last 11 years. We have 4 beautiful children; Gershom-24, Jordan-Forever 21, Jason- 20 and Elaina-10. We have 3 dogs, Coletrane, Lulu and Fifi, who go everywhere with us and are part of the family and a cat, Mittens.
I hold a Certificate of Emergency Medical Technician and Certificate of Para-medicine from Advanced Emergency Medical Training. An Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Grand Rapids Community College. A Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis on K-12 Special Education, Reading. Elementary K-8 and Reading Specialist Certification from Aquinas College. I am currently working on my Addiction Studies Certificate from Grand Rapids Community College. I am an avid learner who believes one is never done learning.
Corine is a Board Member who is also an Elder and member of the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, commonly referred to as the Gun Lake Tribe.
I believe in advocating for those that seem to be without a voice. I have confidence that every human adds value and also has a story to share about how they have been directly or indirectly impacted by homelessness or addiction. It is important to me to allocate individualized time to cultivate and foster meaningful relationships. This action can provide valuable insight into specific needs so that we can connect community members with community resources to begin the healing process.
I share my life with my longtime partner Randy. Together, we live on tribal land with our little dog Abby. I am active in my tribe and attend many community events in support of the Native American Culture. I adore my family and we are a tight knit group. In addition to my parents, sister and brother-in-law, I also have three wonderful nieces which I cherish deeply.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree and spent many years as a Manager in retail before switching to the financial industry with a focus on mortgages. I have retired within the last year and look forward to giving more of my time to helping and mentoring others.
Judge Bowler is a Board Member and served as Judge with the 61st District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for twenty-four years, with ten years as the Chief Judge of the Court. He graduated with honors from both Michigan State University and the Detroit College of Law. Judge Bowler was the Director/Attorney of the Kent County Office of the Defender and served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at two law schools, Michigan State University and Thomas M. Cooley, where he taught Criminal Law and Procedure. Judge Bowler is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
Judge Bowler was President of the Michigan District Judges Association in 1994. He served on the Executive Board of the Judicial Conference Section of the Michigan State Bar and was elected Chairperson in 1997. He served as Co‑Chair of the Michigan State Bench/Bar Planning Committee for four years. Judge Bowler has served as Co‑Chair of the Racial Justice Institute Immediate Response Team and as Co‑Chair of the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s Legal Assistance Center Committee. He was elected President of the Grand Rapids Bar Association for the term 2002-2003.
In 1998 Judge Bowler instituted a Drug Treatment Court Program for felons and misdemeanants in Kent County, Michigan. He was the Drug Treatment Court Judge for ten years. Judge Bowler also founded a Sobriety Court Program directed at multiple-offender misdemeanor and felony drunk drivers. He also founded a Hispanic Sobriety Court. Judge Bowler is a past member of the Board of Directors of Project Rehab, a residential and outpatient drug rehabilitation program in Grand Rapids
Judge Bowler presently serves on the faculty of the National Drug Court Institute as a consultant assisting in the development of drug treatment courts and sobriety courts nationwide. He has presented on judicial leadership and a multitude of legal and procedural drug treatment court subjects. He has represented the State of Michigan on the Congress of State Drug Court Associations and as a consultant to the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Judge Bowler is a past president of the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. Judge Bowler was appointed by the Michigan Legislature to serve on the first State Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee and served as Chair of that Committee.
Judge Bowler is presently the State of Michigan Judicial Outreach Liaison, serving as a statewide resource for the Michigan judiciary, legislative and executive branches on issues of public safety, including training and technical assistance for Michigan’s problem-solving courts.
In both years 2005 and 2009, Judge Bowler was the recipient of the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professional’s William G. Schma Achievement Award for his Vision and Leadership in the establishment and education of treatment courts in Michigan. Judge Bowler was also the recipient of the 2011 Marion Hilligan Public Service Award from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. At the 2017 Annual Conference of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Judge Bowler was awarded the National DWI Court Leadership Award.