posted May 15, 2006

Program Emphasizes Culturally Responsive Education

Non-traditional families will be the focus of the series "Becoming A Culturally-Responsive Educational Community" on Thursday, May 18, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Harbor Lights Middle School library.

The series is sponsored by Hope College's CrossRoads Project, the college's urban education program, West Ottawa Schools, and the National Educational Diversity Program of the Japanese American National Museum, which is funded by Toyota. Harbor Lights is located at 1024 N. 136th Ave.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Panelists Colette Beighley and Denise Kingdom Grier will share their professional and personal experiences and ideas on how educational communities can become more culturally responsive, especially to non-traditional families in the area.

Colette Beighley is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has a private practice in Spring Lake. She is a mother of four children, including a son who is gay. She is the State of Michigan PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) advocacy coordinator. She will speak on the challenges and opportunities families with gay children face.

Denise Kingdom Grier is the pastor of congregational care and ministry development at Calvary Reformed Church in Holland, and was a child welfare specialist for many years at Bethany Christian Services in Holland. She has been married to CJ Kingdom Grier for seven years. They have two biological children, ages one and three, and she is also Mom to a host of other children ages 11-16 who have needed a place to call home while moving through difficult situations in their lives.