Author: 
Michael Voss

My name is Michael Voss and I am the Residential Program Manager here at Wedgwood Christian Services. Prior to that, I served as the Program Supervisor in the VanAndel Summit Program which is a residential co-ed, co-occurring substance abuse treatment program. Working at Wedgwood has always been more than a job for me; it’s my ministry.

Years ago, I worked in Joliet, Illinois at the Stateville Correctional Facility. I spent 10 years working as a corrections officer with some of the most violent convicted criminals in the state. Most of the inmates were serving sentences ranging from 20 years to life. One of my assignments during that time was in the X-House, which was home to the death chamber. Most of those inmates had no hope of changing. During our conversations, they often shared with me the point in their lives where things seemed to go seriously wrong. For many of them, it was during childhood. Most came from the streets of Chicago and were heavily involved in street gangs or “organizations” as they described them.

After seeing so much violence and hopelessness in that institution, day after day, I began asking myself “What am I doing here?” My purpose at that time was simply to keep those inmates secure. I knew I wanted to do more. Eventually, I resigned from my position at the prison and came to West Michigan where I developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That journey led me to rediscover my desire to help troubled kids. I feel called to get in front of the problem, – helping kids who come into our care avoid becoming the addicts and incarcerated of the future. I know what’s down the road if they don’t change their path. Teens often have a skewed perception of incarceration, they think it’s cool or means your tough, but I’ve been there. I’ve heard grown men crying in their cells at night. I’ve seen broken-hearted families leaving after visitation. I’ve seen the violence that is a part of daily life.

Today my purpose is to do all that I can, whether it is in word or deed to help young people who are lost to find their direction and those who are hopeless to discover hope. The Bible encourages us to do so. 

"Comfort others with the same comfort we’ve received from God" — 2 Corinthians 1:3-4



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