Cornerstone University and Alpha Grand Rapids Team Up to Support Community
by Ellie Walburg (B.S. ’17)
With a passion for empowering the Grand Rapids community, Cornerstone University's Professional & Graduate Studies division has announced a partnership with Alpha Grand Rapids (AGR) to provide further opportunities for community leaders to fuel their influence.
This partnership benefits employees at Alpha Grand Rapids, a Christ-centered pregnancy care center that seeks to "promote abundant life through transforming hearts, enriching lives and impacting generations." Their personalized care services include medical services such as STD testing, pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, support services such as mentoring and single parent support groups and educational services such as GED completion, English as a Second Language, pregnancy education and parenting classes. By attending programs, clients earn Alpha Bucks to use to purchase items like diapers, formula and clothing from the on-site store.
Established in 1985, AGR continues to support, encourage and bring life to the community for both men and women.
And at Cornerstone, that support is experienced in the classroom and beyond.
For AGR volunteer manager Doretha Copeland (B.S. ’11), that supportive environment is something she experiences in her work and as she reflects on her time at Cornerstone.
With fear of downsizing and losing her job, Copeland took advantage of an education grant given to her to return to school to earn her bachelor's degree in management. At the age of 47, Copeland returned to the classroom to be better equipped not only for starting her catering company and church involvement, but also for the opportunities that could lie ahead.
One of the major program features that has stuck out for Copeland is the supportive learning community experienced in the PGS program.
"I didn't feel like I was doing it on my own; I had a lot of support," she said. "It meant so much to me that I forged some great relationships. The relationships I formed have even continued to today. From the professors to the staff to the core group that was there, I just felt like I got support all the way around."
That support and those lessons in working as a team have carried with her through her leadership role at church and her current position at AGR.
"My degree definitely helped me land my position here at Alpha Grand Rapids as the volunteer manager," Copeland said.
Those skills and experiences she took on in her degree program aligned with her position at AGR.
"I learned the different aspects of the organization and what it took to run and report it," Copeland reflected. "Coming into this job, I drew back on my experiences in my cohort of working well together as a team. It's all about relationships."
That experience of growing and fostering relationships is evident in her work as she empowers and trains volunteers and her teams to carry on the mission and vision of AGR.
And now, with the unique opportunities with PGS, teams can continue to be a positive influence in making a difference in the community.
If you are interested in learning more about degrees for adults at Cornerstone, call or text Alicia Wyant at 616.691.6087.