Remembering Mr. Mike

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On April 30, 2013, Mike DeBolt passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Mike had spent his entire career working in various capacities at St. John’s Home. He began as a student intern while attending Calvin College. His positive attitude and eagerness to learn were evident to everyone who knew him. But it was his signature laugh—that long and genuine laugh right from his soul—that revealed a kind and loving heart that made Mike so special to those around him. He brought joy and kindness to hundreds of kids who had known so little in their short lives.

In those early years, the kids who knew him found an older brother they had never known. Later on, Mike became the dad they never had known—ready to take them out to shoot hoops, out to the ball field, or over to Riverside Park to go fishing. He taught them how to shoot a jump shot, throw a baseball or bait a hook. He was full of patience, wisdom, and loving support.

That support also came during a time of the day with which most of the kids at St. John’s Home struggled: the school hours. After years of frustrations, so many of the kids with whom Mike worked found the classroom to be one more reminder of their failures. At times, these kids resisted any help offered to them. It was not uncommon to see crises during the school day. As a leader of the Academic Support Team, Mike often had to take the lead in calming kids down. In all his years—through the good days and the bad—Mike never lost his temper or his focus on the kids with whom he was entrusted.

Even in the most challenging times of his life, Mike continued to keep in mind the children of St. John’s Home. He showed up, ready to work following the death of his father and when his dear son, Michael was stationed overseas in Iraq.

That never changed with Mike, even after being diagnosed with cancer two years ago. As he approached the end of his time in this world, he asked that a memorial fund be established—Mr. Mike’s Educational Fund—to help children in years to come as they struggle to fulfill their academic potential. In the years to come, his family and friends will be invited to add to this special fund to be used exclusively for the educational needs of the children on the St. John’s Home campus.

If you would like to be a part of Mike’s remarkable legacy of caring for kids, we are asking you to consider a contribution to the Mr. Mike Educational Fund. In doing so, you will help to give the kids who come to the St. John’s Home campus a fair chance at life. Like Mike DeBolt, you will know that you have left the world a better place. To donate to Mr. Mike’s Educational Fund, or DABSJ in general, please click here http://www.dabsj.org/give-now

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