Meet the Team! A Look at the Faces Behind GRKIDS

GRKIDS and Co team photo 2019 retreat

GRKIDS is the Premier Media Source for Family Life in West Michigan

Ever wonder who’s writing those Facebook posts for GRKIDS? It’s not the all-powerful Oz pulling all the bells and whistles. It’s a real live mom (or two) right here in Grand Rapids! And they’re just one part of the large GRKIDS team that works to bring you the best of West Michigan family life.

What began as a one woman venture by our founder Melody VanderWeide has grown into a full-blown enterprise that serves thousands of families across West Michigan.

We love connecting you with the adventures, organizations and companies that mean something in our community. You trust us to give you honest, helpful information about the next best date night, playground, pediatrician and local coffee shop. We love sharing our insider intel with you on everything fantastic about our region. 

Our reach spans our website, Facebook page, Instagram, regular newsletters, and print publications.

We thought you might like a look at the faces behind GRKIDS & Co. Each woman brings special skills to the table that ensure a consistent product for you. We are proud to be part of such a great team and are excited to bring you the best local content for your family!

–April Hunt, Senior Editor

Leadership Team

Melody VanderWeide

Founder and Director

INFJ. Mom of 3. Idea chaser-People believer-Inspiration seeker. Together we make GR amazing – Let’s go!

April Hunt

Senior Editor

Curious. Daydreamer. Vintage home improver. Modern sewist. True Crime podcast enthusiast.

I love telling stories of the people and places of Grand Rapids and beyond!

Liz Delonis

Editor, KZOO Kids

Liz is native to the Mitten, having grown up in Metro Detroit. As a Kalamazoo transplant, this mom of two is passionate about connecting parents to find their villages. She enjoys working outside, using nerdy technology, and consuming more Twizzlers than necessary.

Carla Brooks

Editor, Lansing Family Fun

Carla is an Oregon born, Michigan raised photographer, runner, mom of two awesome boys, and wife to poet Sareem Poems. Carla enjoys adventuring, playing the piano and singing, trying different foods, reading or watching a good story, and most of all spending time with her family.

Marketing Team

Kelly Dentler

Marketing & Events

Kelly has a diverse background that has led her many different directions in her life, with her current combination of mom and GRKIDS team member being her favorite. From 911 operator to box salesperson to interior decorating, her life experiences have taught her to “never say never” and always be open to new experiences. She lives in Alto with her husband and two children and loves meeting new people and exploring new places.

Laura Gifford

Marketing & Guides

Laura has been a stay at home mom for the past 6 years. After living in Southern California for 16 years she is happy to be back home in Michigan.  Most of her time is spent doing typical mom things and impatiently waiting for spring every year so she can go back to riding horses, spending time up north and heading to the beach.

Keri Siemens

Ad Manager, Writer, Researcher, Newsletter 

Keri is a mom of four who enjoys “pizza and movie nights” at home with the family. When she is not managing ads for grkids, chauffeuring children, or trying out a new crockpot recipe, you can probably find her attempting to enjoy a cup of coffee before it gets cold.

Leanne Hendrikse

Print Content Manager, Data & Reporting, Sales Support 

Leanne is a Canadian expat, wife and stay at home mom of two loving her grace-filled life. She enjoys exploring West Michigan with her family while pushing a stroller and drinking coffee.  A few of her favorite things are perennial gardening, a garage sale score, chasing her kids and back porch dates with her husband.

Administrative Team

Erin Russell

Office Manager & Sales Support

Erin is a musician who attempts to balance out her right-brained career choice with some left-brained office management and organization here at grkids. During the lulls in her active schedule, Erin enjoys time with her family, cottage time by the lake and trying out new recipes for healthy meals. She live in Grand Rapids with her husband and two children.

Tiffany Kamphuis

Giveaway Manager & Calendar Coordinator

Tiffany is a wife and mom to three active, hungry, growing boys. She thrives on organization, cooking and baking healthy food, as well as time spent with family. She lives in the Lakeshore area and enjoys all that West Michigan has to offer, but loves to travel, explore different areas, and photograph all of their adventures.

Mary Scripps

Print Delivery Coordinator

Mary is a stay at home mom to 3 little kids! On a typical day you can find her with her kids playing soccer, bike riding, or attempting an over complicated Pinterest craft! In her free time she enjoys reading, and cooking new recipes (she hopes) her entire family will enjoy! She’s a lake bum and outdoor enthusiast who enjoys checking out new beaches, parks, and spending time UpNorth!

Writing & Research

Kim Guider

Editorial Assistant & Facebook Admin 

Kimberly is a mom to 2 sweet and busy kids and wife to her high school sweetheart. When she’s not acting as activities coordinator for school, dance or sports, she enjoys DIY house projects and dreaming about her next beach vacation. She’s lived in Chicago (suburbs and city), Indy, and Washington DC, but loves raising her family here and is happy to call GR home!

Elizabeth Rudd

Head Writer, Guide Specialist

Elizabeth is a former elementary school teacher, now stay-at-home mom, to three young kids. She moved to the Grand Rapids area in 2012 and has enjoyed driving her kids around town to discover what the area has to offer. Elizabeth spends her time taking kids back and forth to preschool, attending mom’s groups, hunting for great deals and spending way too much time on Facebook. She is looking forward to the day when she can get back to reading all the books she’s bought and hasn’t had time to read.

Caitlin Malski

Newsletter Manager 

Caitlin is a stay-at-home mom to two young kids. She enjoys dancing in the kitchen, eating breakfast foods, and reading too many books at once. Caitlin is a coffee enthusiast and lover of Lake Michigan. After growing up in the Grand Rapids area, she now lives on a small hobby farm and vineyard in Grand Haven.

Jill Clarin

Guide Specialist 

Jill is a mom to three who loves living in West Michigan and being able to enjoy all the area has to offer. Her other loves include trying out new recipes in the kitchen, visiting local parks and trails with her children, and photographing the everyday moments of her family.

Michelle Smith

Writer

Michelle Smith and her husband live in Lowell where they have been homeschooling their children for many years. They are currently educating three, with three graduates. Michelle enjoys classical ballet and live theater, especially musicals, both being in the audience and working backstage.

Jessica Greenop

Writer, Newsletter

about

Kate Randall

Writer

Kate considers herself incredibly lucky to be a full time mom and also part time social worker and ASD consultant with Hudsonville Public Schools. While at home, she loves spending time with her kids, Cooper and Zoe. Kate loves all things creative and messy, playing games, gardening, biking, reading, and summers off with her awesome teacher-husband, Kevin.

Kathleen Shaffer

Event Researcher

Kathleen loves to read and is a former librarian turned volunteer for every event at her daughter’s elementary school!

Mary Ward

Event Researcher

Mary is a local mama who enjoys exploring the city of Grand Rapids. She operates a Grand Rapids play group and enjoys learning about fun things for families to do in the area. Mary and her husband David transplanted to Grand Rapids from Livonia in 2008.

Stephanie Kozlowicz

Writer

Stephanie is a working mom of three kids who loves everything about West Michigan. She and her husband have been together for over 15 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else. They love taking their kids all over town trying to find their next adventure, even if that means skipping nap time. Cooking, reading, and hiking are household favorite activities. She enjoys browsing food blogs to find inspiration for dinner recipes, and on date night, you can usually find her at one of the local breweries.

Liz Leo

Writer

Liz almost finally feels like an adult, even though she is a terrible cook, kills every plant she tries to love, and watches entirely too much TV. She and her husband have somehow managed to be parents for over a decade. While she has lived in Grand Rapids all her life, she enjoys traveling around the world and then returning to the beauty and splendor of the mitten state.

Social Media Team

Kristine Fluker

Social Media Ads, KZOO Kids Guide Specialist

Rebecca Yonge

Instagram Manager

Carly Stender

Instagram Manager

Patti Bartels

Facebook Team Manager 

Patti was born and raised in Grand Rapids and has lived here all her life. She enjoys traveling with her husband and three kids. She is hyper-organized and uses those skills to run her household as a stay at home mom. She seldom has time to herself, but when she does she enjoys reading a good book.

Carla Hardy

Facebook & Data Admin 

Carla is a wife and a girl mom of one sweet girl. She enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, organizing, finding new and fun things to do with her daughter, taking far too many pictures, and binge watching TV shows and movies with her husband. She also works at a local school in the library as the Learning Commons Aide.

Designer

Christie Tidd

Graphic Designer 

Christie is a Chicago native, turned Michigander.  She’s a freelance graphic designer, wife to Gary and stay at home mom to 3 pretty great kids!  When she’s not being the social director, she enjoys date nights and Netflix watching with her hubby, crafting and curating the walls in her house, organizing, camping, hanging out at the lake and snow skiing with her family.

11 thoughts on “Meet the Team! A Look at the Faces Behind GRKIDS”

  1. If you wanted to add another house for Halloween Decorations, I have a cemetary with the Scooby doo gang running thru, and then we have a Batman display on the house and in the driveway, we also run a light show with Halloween tunes that you can tune your car radio too. We are at 5261 Brookwood Drive SE, Kentwood, MI 49508.

  2. I just discovered this brilliant page! Love it…I am in Northeast MI and I want to have this for our community. Great work!

  3. Wow didn’t know your team was so big!! Thanks so much for all each one of you do!! I don’t know what I would do without your sight!!

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