Gracious Grounds is excited to announce that we have added Faith Avery as our new Resident Support Coordinator.  In this part time role, Faith will be responsible for providing additional guidance and support for our community members along with assisting families in obtaining services and resources to support their independent living at Gracious Grounds.  Faith will not necessarily be providing direct support, but rather working to connect our community members with local service providers and opportunities.  She will also be meeting with our members and families on a regular basis to help identify those who might need additional assistance or identify opportunities for additional involvement within our community.  

We are so thrilled to have Faith join our Gracious Grounds team.  Prior to joining us, Faith has been serving as a Certified Employment Training Specialist and Social Coach with Social Incites, where she will continue to share her time.  In this role, she has been helping individuals to learn employment and social skills so that they are able to be successfully employed.  As a former Executive Director of a mentoring and advocacy ministry and as an Information and Referral Specialist at an agency for independent living, Faith has served many with unique abilities, connecting them to the resources they need to be successful and watching them as they transform their lives.  

Faith’s family consists of her husband, Russell, and their blended family of 5 children, as well as their playful yellow lab, Sparty.  She wants you to know that she has a heart for people who might be struggling, those that have been affected by difficult situations that they have found themselves in, those who have had difficulty “fitting in” and for those who just need somebody to sit, listen and care.

Having worked as a life skills coach to hundreds of individuals over the years, we believe that Faith has so much to contribute to Gracious Grounds.  Her ability to listen, encourage, develop trusting relationships, and connect individuals to vital community resources will serve both her and Gracious Grounds well in this new role.  





My name is Laurie Mason and I have been volunteering at Gracious Grounds for 4 years, starting in July of 2017.  At that time, I was talking with a woman at Love, Inc. about the possibility of becoming a mentor there.  This woman happened to mention the building down the street, which used to be a part of Love, but was now a residence for high functioning special needs young people called Gracious Grounds.  When I asked who was in charge of it, she said Sandy Baker.  I knew instantly that was where I wanted to be, as I had known Sandy for years, working with, learning from, and subbing for her at Spring Lake High School.  I had recently retired after 5 years of teaching special education and had a passion for working with this population  I had been praying for something meaningful to fill my days.  And the rest, as they say, is history.
My main involvement has been spending a couple of hours each week at the Desplder house, just hanging out with the residents.  We talk, help with dinner, take walks, go on bike rides, and check out how the vegetable garden is doing.  I listen as they share their activities and we just spend time together.  I’ve worked on special projects on my own with the residents, helped them move into new apartments at Lakeshore Flats, participated in many birthdays, holidays, and Friday night pizza parties.
It’s been a joy to watch our residents take part in Special Olympics activities…something with which I would love to become more involved.  The best part about being involved with Gracious Grounds is giving and receiving love from the residents and all of those who are involved.  Everything about Gracious Grounds is steeped in a wonderful sense of love.  It brings me so much joy to see the residents become more independent, growing in their life skills, learning to interact positively with other residents, and appreciating and loving the adults who are now a key part of their lives.

If you love working with people who are energetic, motivated, joyful, giving, and loving…and want to be a part of an amazing community that supports these wonderful people, I would strongly encourage you to look into becoming a volunteer with Gracious Grounds.  I have to believe it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.



Gracious Grounds will celebrate the Grand Opening of its third location at Lakeshore Flats with a ribbon cutting and socially distanced car parade on September 10 at 4:00PM to welcome 25 new residents.  Friends, family and the community are invited to hop in their cars and wave hello to our new residents from a safe distance. Gracious Grounds will also be accepting donations from its on-line “wish-list,” which stock a pantry of necessities and goods to be available to residents.

With this expansion, Gracious Grounds, a Grand Haven-based non-profit housing organization for adults with unique abilities, has more than doubled its capacity from 15 residents to 40, with additional apartments available for future residents.  Mother to a new resident Bonnie Engers said, “Gracious Grounds at Lakeshore Flats is more than a new building complex.  Just ask my daughter, who lights up when describing her new home, her new friends, a new journey…this is a wish that every parent has for their child.”

Residents range in age from 20 to more than 60 years-old and are able to manage day-to-day living skills including medication regimens, personal hygiene, and cooking. Most residents hail from the West Michigan area, although we have some from as far away as Pennsylvania. For many, Gracious Grounds is the first home that they’ve lived in away from their parents.

“We believe that independent living for those with unique abilities is attainable,” said David Burdo, Gracious Grounds Executive Director. “The opening of Gracious Grounds at Lakeshore Flats expands on our mission to provide our residents with an opportunity to live a more independent life where they are able to socialize and integrate themselves into a welcoming community.”

Gracious Grounds successful living model provides light support from Volunteer Resident Assistants (RAs), who live at each of the three properties.  The RAs have full-time daytime jobs, yet also felt a calling to be an integral part of this journey.  They do not provide 24-hour care, but are there overnight, accessible for emergencies and when help is needed, and to spend personal time in groups or with individual residents during planned outings or spontaneous activities.

A great way to get to know what Gracious Grounds is all about, is to participate our annual signature fundraising event on September 23, which will be hosted on the Gracious Grounds Facebook page. Tickets and sponsorships are available at


About Gracious Grounds – Established as a 501c3 in 2014, Gracious Grounds looks beyond limitations to create an environment that is affordable, friendly and resident-centered. The organization emphasizes life enriching activities and togetherness by promoting: community involvement, inclusion, employability skills and opportunities, daily living skills and spirituality. Gracious Grounds owns one property and master-leases two others, each offering a different level of semi-independent living for adults with special needs and serving a total of 15 residents, at the moment and growing to serve 50 residents in August, 2020.

Please visit for more information.
To schedule interviews or for further information, please contact:
David Burdo, Executive Director
Katie Appold, Board President


Gracious Grounds continues to accept donations to fill our community pantries at each of our 3 locations.  These items are available to our residents as needed and also used during our social gatherings.  Below is an example of items that we are in need of.

Household Supplies:

  • Paper towel
  • Toilet Paper
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Dish soap
  • Dishwasher tabs
  • Laundry Soap
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Trash Bags


Health and Beauty:

  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Bar Soap
  • Hand Soap
  • Body Wash
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Bug Spray

Craft Supplies:

  • Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Painting Surfaces- Canvas, Paper, Wood
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils
  • Stickers
  • Construction Paper
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue-sticks, bottles, tacky


  • Uno
  • Skip-bo
  • Apples to Apples big picture
  • Apples to Apples
  • Playing cards
  • Sorry
  • Puzzles
  • Spot it
  • Tenzi


  • Play-doh
  • Coloring books
  • Craft kits
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disposable face masks

Party Supplies:

  • Paper plates
  • Plastic Silverware
  • Plastic Cups

Items can be dropped off at Gracious Grounds Despelder location: 1515 S. Despelder- Grand Haven, MI 49417.