Alumni Success Story: Shanna Grigoletti '05
–By Christy Wolff ‘10
During Shanna Grigoletti’s ‘05 time at Trinity, God laid on her heart the idea of opening her own gym and using it as an outreach to the community. Through a handful of job changes, moves, and other life experiences, Grigoletti saw how God prepared her for the career she is in today.
Grigoletti was raised in west Michigan and grew up attending Calvary Christian Reformed Church (Wyoming, MI) with her family. Through Sunday school, youth group, and attending church twice on Sundays, Grigoletti was fully immersed in the CRC but desired to experience something new.
Along with that desire came an adventure in a new city. Grigoletti enrolled at Trinity–where her sister attended–with a track scholarship. Sports have always been a big part of Grigoletti’s life, so it was natural for her to major in exercise science. God began moving Grigoletti in the direction of opening her own gym and community center, beginning with an internship working at a corporate gym on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. “Trinity was really helpful in connecting me to this internship,” Grigoletti says.
After graduation, Grigoletti got married and the couple moved to St. Louis, where her husband found work at an inner-city church planting ministry. “We jumped into family life really quickly and had kids early on,” Grigoletti shares.
When Grigoletti was pregnant with her fourth child, her family decided to move back to Michigan to be closer to family. Grigoletti soon found herself reengaging in the Calvary CRC community, this time with a fresh perspective.
Looking for a part-time job, Grigoletti agreed to fill the custodian role at Calvary. “It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Grigoletti recalls. She enjoyed interacting with others during the week and seeing what Calvary was like outside of Sunday worship.
During one of her shifts at the church, Grigoletti had a meaningful conversation with the pastor and shared that she longed to do more with her life. The pastor told Grigoletti that he wanted to open a community center but couldn’t find anyone to lead it. That’s when Grigoletti stepped up and became the Executive Director of Lighthouse Community Ministries, located on Calvary CRC’s campus.
Lighthouse serves its community through physical wellness, nutritional wellness, mental wellness, addiction recovery, and poverty mitigation by offering classes, activities, and other programs.
Thinking back to her time at Trinity, Grigoletti reflects on an interim experience where she worked with women who were transitioning out of rehab. The program connected men and women to different volunteer opportunities, including helping at an after-school program and serving at a thrift store. “It was eye opening to have that kind of ministry right in your own neighborhood,” Grigoletti shares. “I was able to take what I learned during my interim course at Trinity and apply it to the community center I started.”
More than 15 years have passed since Grigoletti was a student at Trinity, and she’s grateful for the ways God grew her faith during her college years. “Trinity showed me that you need to step out of your bubble, love those around you, and open your eyes to the immense amount of opportunity that’s outside your front door.”