Welcome to the Family Hope Foundation blog, where you’ll find news, impact stories, board member and volunteer updates, and more!

Scholarship Paves the Way for Cutting-Edge Therapy

December 7, 2021

Divya is a bubbly and spunky 8-year-old with a zest for life. Her teacher at school recently described her by saying, “Divya has a way of bringing out the best in everyone who is around her.” And it’s true! Divya brings her infectious light and joy everywhere she goes. 


Choosing Joy: A Story About Natalie Vanderbroek

December 7, 2021

There are many adjectives to describe Natalie: stubborn, inventive, determined, fiercely independent, full of joy, and a contagious smile that lights up a room.  She also wants to be a part of the action: she loves adventure, playing outside, swimming, playing with her baby dolls, and caring for bunnies. Natalie is a hard worker and rarely complains. She thanks God for making her just the way He intended. Natalie will tell you she is a special child of God. 


More Than a Diagnosis

October 20, 2021

Happy Spina Bifida Awareness month! My daughter Pearl has the most severe form of spina bifida called myelomeningocele. We found out at 20 weeks pregnant and had an in-utero surgery at 24 weeks to close the hole in her back. She was born shortly after at 28-weeks making her incredibly premature, weighing in at 2 pounds 10 ounces.  Spina bifida is a neural tube defect and is the most common birth defect. The nerves that innervate Pearls legs, bowel and bladder are damaged thus causing her to do things a little differently. She had a shunt placed in her brain at 8 months to combat hydrocephalus, water/swelling on the brain, a common experience with spina bifida.


The Tangible Gift of Joy

October 19, 2021

If joy was a tangible gift, then it would be the gift that Danielle “Ellie” Bentley gives away daily with her contagious smiles, her hugs, her tenderness toward other children and her gentleness toward animals. Each trip to the store is marked by Ellie’s friendly, “hello” to the patrons passing by. If you could sum up Ellie in one word, it would be nurturing.

For the Bentley’s, Ellie herself has been a gift. On August 24, 2017, Ellie joined the Bentley’s as a foster child. They were grateful to be entrusted to care for her and fell in love fast. A year later, when adoption became an option, Ellie officially became a Bentley.


Meet Our Newest Board Member – Elissa Lappenga

September 7, 2021

Family Hope Foundation is excited to welcome Elissa Lappinga to the Board of Directors. When asked what Elissa loved about the organization’s mission, she has this to say, “It’s so beautifully simple: make vital services available to the families who need them. Those impacted by disability are so often forced to adjust and adapt to environments and systems that weren’t designed with them in mind, and insurance is no different. Rather than waiting for the industry to catch up and offer the services that will make a difference, we get to offer families a different, easier path – one that was designed with them in mind. I can’t think of a better way to help reshape the world, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to contribute to this mission.” 


A Beautiful Surprise

August 12, 2021

Despite enduring the painful experience of a miscarriage, Mayra and Alex knew their family of three still felt incomplete. They longed for another child and, at the age of forty-five, Mayra and Alex received a beautiful surprise – Mayra was pregnant! Says Mayra, “We knew this could be a high-risk pregnancy and there would be a six-year age gap between our son Val and his new sibling, but we were delighted! Having coped with our previous loss, everything about this pregnancy was special.” Following a smooth delivery, Alonso Alvarez entered the world – a healthy baby boy!


A Grandmother’s Journey

August 6, 2021

I had already begun saving things I thought my daughter would need. The anticipation of a new little family member was overwhelming and joy-filled. My daughter’s pregnancy progressed unremarkably. She was a fit, healthy and happy mother-to-be. My son-in-law, Kyle, was incredibly supportive to my daughter. My son-in-law’s parents, Dave and Lynda, my husband, Jim and I, and many extended family were very eager to welcome this new baby into the world. Ruby was going to be one loved child. […]


A Treasured Connection

July 23, 2021

Evan is a five-year old boy who loves trains, with Thomas the Train being his favorite. On a recent trip to Pennsylvania, the Witter family took Evan to a Day Out with Thomas. They were unsure how he would cope with a life-sized Thomas, not to mention the crowds, but he loved it! The day was a huge success. Trips like this have not always been successful for Evan and his family though. […]


Lisa Miller: Welcome to the Team

June 22, 2021

A West Michigan Native, Lisa studied business and sales at Davenport College. She then embarked on a career focused in sales. With a heart for service, Lisa transitioned from the corporate world into the role of volunteer. Lisa currently volunteers at Kids Food Basket and serves on the board at Resilience Advocates for Ending Violence. […]

Team Member Highlight