The Hope-Western Prison Education Program is pleased to welcome three new members to its Circle of Advisors.

The Circle of Advisors meets regularly with the program’s leadership and serves as a consultative group to help devise and review strategies to help the HWPEP accomplish its goals and purposes. Circle of Advisors members support the missions of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary and commit to advancing the program’s goals:

  • Extending the Hope College and Western Theological Seminary missions to those living in incarcerated environments.
  • Transforming the hearts and minds of prisoners and all involved in the program, thereby enlarging their imaginations for purposeful living as flourishing, beloved children of God made in God’s image and likeness.
  • Easing the burden to the community by reducing recidivism, lowering tax burdens associated with the corrections system, and improving the safety of and culture for prisoners and prison staff.
  • Bringing together persons of good will from a variety of political, ideological and theological perspectives.

CoA members contribute their time, talent, and treasure to the HWPEP, and use their social capital to encourage friends, family, and colleagues to do likewise. Here are the three newest members of the Circle of Advisors:

Leanne Van Dyk. Leanne served as the academic dean at WTS before serving as president of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. She retired from Columbia and moved back to Holland in 2022. She taught a religion course at the prison this Fall, and has been very engaged in HWPEP as a result of her experience.

Sean Sword. Sean was in HWPEP’s first non-credit pilot program in 2019 when he he was incarcerated at Muskegon Correctional Facility. Before HWPEP launched the degree-granting phase of its program, Sean was admitted to the Calvin Prison Initiative, has since been released from prison, and is finishing his BA on Calvin’s main campus. Sean has served for two years as a member of the HWPEP Admissions Committee.

Jim Boerigter. Jim and his family have emerged as important contributors to HWPEP. He has offered informal advice to the Leadership Team, been to the prison to meet the students, and is an eager advocate of what HWPEP is trying to accomplish. Jim is an attorney at Kreis Enderle in Portage. He serves on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid of Western Michigan. Read more about Jim here.

Leanne, Sean, and Jim join existing Circle of Advisors members Phil Miller, George Julius, Bill Wörtz, Mary Bauman, and Steve Spoelhof.

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