Escape's History

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Escape Ministries was founded as a non-profit in 2008 by Willie Watt Jr. as a resource for youth in difficult situations to have a second chance, a place to belong, and be introduced to God's love for them. An old steel factory space at 202 E. 32nd St was renovated to house the new youth ministry hub, and a host of volunteers helped launch the exciting, unique, and diverse new ministry.

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Second Chances For Suspended Students

In 2012, Escape launched its Alternative Suspension Accountability Program (ASAP), and has since given over 500 youth a second chance to restore themselves and their education.

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Westside Boxing

Westside Boxing & Fitness was launched in 2013 as a positive outlet for youth to learn, train, and compete. Westside occupies the back area of Escape with a complete boxing ring, bags, and weightlifting equipment, and has produced multiple Golden Gloves champions over the years.

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Summer Jobs Curb Crime Rate

In 2013, Escape launched a youth summer jobs program with the City of Holland. Now known as Career Connections, the program continues to provide 40+ youth every year with jobs, skill development, career exposure, and mentoring relationships.


Social Justice Award

Building on strong staff and collaboration with Holland & West Ottawa Schools, ESCAPE's ASAP Program was awarded the 2019 Social Justice Award in Education by the Holland Human Relations Commission.

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"The Hero In Me" Begins

"The Hero In Me" program was founded to celebrate Escape's youth who have shown incredible heroism in their journey at Escape and beyond. In the process, they and the community get to see them as the heroes they are when they share their stories at a public event in May and scholarships are awarded!

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Shared Leadership

Todd Krygsheld (Executive Director) and Jennifer Jones (Associate Executive Director) join Escape, and their passion and vision push Escape deeper and wider into its mission: Grounded in the hope of Jesus, Passionate about relationships, and Committed to community partners, staff, and procedures that contribute to thriving for Escape and the youth it serves.


Years of




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