Safe Haven Ministries hires new executive director

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Rachel VerWys Courtesy Safe Haven Ministries

Safe Haven Ministries selected Rachel VerWys as the organization’s next executive director.

VerWys, a longtime nonprofit leader, succeeded Megan Hopkins and joined the organization Monday.

Founded in 1990, Safe Haven Ministries is a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering all survivors to find freedom from domestic violence while working to prevent and end relationship abuse.

VerWys has amassed an array of nonprofit leadership experiences over the past 20 years, including founding/co-founding two organizations, Curate and Solutions to End Exploitation (SEE) in Grand Rapids. She most recently served as executive director of SEE and chairs the SEE Human Trafficking Coalition, formerly the Kent County Area Human Trafficking Coalition.

“Rachel has a strong history of leading at the intersection of faith and social justice, and we look forward to her joining Safe Haven to elevate the organization’s mission, vision and impact in the years to come,” said Chaz Amidon, Safe Haven Ministries’ board president.

As executive director at Safe Haven, VerWys will work closely with the staff and board to ensure the organization continues to serve those experiencing relationship abuse in Kent County.

“I am honored to join the Safe Haven Ministries team and together cultivate our mission rooted in faith, serving with excellence to prevent and end relationship abuse, strengthen partnerships and create equitable systems change,” VerWys said.

VerWys earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree at Calvin College (now Calvin University) and a Master of Social Work at the University of Southern California. As a student at Calvin, VerWys volunteered at Ramoth House, which later became Safe Haven Ministries.

VerWys was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2020 and received a Diversity Award from Wedgwood Christian Services in May 2021.

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