Alecia Van Hulzen
It’s not easy being a girl today. Alecia Van Hulzen “gets” it. That’s why she considers it a privilege to walk alongside girls through the GEMS program. GEMS is a club-based ministry/mentoring program that uses devotional Bible studies as one of their many tools to help girls meet today’s challenges.
Alecia first because involved by serving her local GEMS club when she graduated from Dordt and moved to Sioux Falls, SD. From there, she volunteered on a local leadership level and was then asked to serve remotely as part of the GEMS staff. In this role, she uses skills she learned in the hospitality industry while participating in the Chicago Met program as a Dordt student. “This program and my internship in full-service event management affirmed the calling God had given me,” said Alecia. After graduation, she continued in the hospitality industry and has been involved in event management and marketing for nearly 21 years.
My education at Dordt gave me solid grounding and equipped me for calling in all areas of my life,” said Alecia. “But my work isn’t so much about what I do (marketing, fundraising and event planning) or about the business classes that prepared me for this occupation. It’s about the passion I developed at Dordt to share Christ. This passion is now focused on bringing girls into a relationship with God and showing them that God is at work in their lives too.”
Van Hulzen knows that for many girls, GEMS continues to nurture faith already forming in their home and church. However, for others, GEMS is the first and only place they learn about God and His passionate love for them. “Providing ‘truth filled resources’ is a privilege,” Van Hulzen says. Some new resources include U & ME Conversation Kits and a bible study for moms and their tween girls. You can learn more about this ministry at gemsgc.org.
If you're not hooked by the title Buster's Ears Trip Him Up, we guarantee the pictures will pull you in. Inviting colors plus interesting and delightful details will make any children's book illustrated by Joe Hox (aka Joe Hoksbergen) a favorite.
Joe was already doodling in grade school, which eventually led him to an art degree from Dordt in 2005. He taught art in Pella Christian Schools for 12 years, and during that time, did some illustrating for a local children's book author, Lois Vermeer. Other smaller illustrations, art commissions, and graphic design gigs followed.
In 2017, his wife, Katie, submitted some writing she had done to a few Christian publishers along with some of Joe's illustrations. They didn't pick up her book, but on the publisher, New Growth Press, asked Joe to submit samples for a series they were working on. Before long, Joe landed a contact to work on the "Good News for Little Hearts" series. For Joe, it's been a joy to draw different animal characters in interesting environments while knowing these stories are helping Christian parents counsel their kids through struggles we can all relate to.
Joe credits his Dordt art professors for helping him develop excellence in his craft as a way to glorify God. He loves that he can use images to communicate gospel truths and create playful images that spark joy in people's hearts. Find joy and Joe's work at www.joehox.com and his Facebook page.
Stephanie (Bulthuis) Brouwer
So your kids won't read? Before you shrug your shoulders and blame it on bad DNA, 2012 Dordt alumna and blogger Stephanie Brouwer has some tips to get kids of all ages turning pages.
Stephanie describes herself as the poster child for struggling readers, complete with frustration, tears, and well, you know the rest. For her, that changed when she had a teacher with a "contagious love for books" who also read aloud with great expression. She was hooked!
With both special education and kindergarten teacher on her resume, Stephanie added stay-at-home mom to her portfolio after the birth of her two daughters, Ava and Emma. While never regretting the decision to stay at home, she missed teaching reading and reading books out loud to her students. Her blog a "Where Books are read and Hearts are Fed" fills that void and her girls are along for the ride.
She shares book recommendations, reading tips for parents and teachers, and pulls faith lessons from both fiction and non-fiction characters. You can also find her tips on her Instagram account: @stephaniebrouwerblog and her Facebook page.
Stephanie and her husband, Nicholas (Dordt Ag: Business 2012) live near Clara City, Minnesota with their two daughters.