by Jon Shaner

We see it every day. Masses of people walk on the street, shop in the grocery store and work in the yard, all connected to devices via headphones or earbuds. Nowhere is this more true than in a fitness center.

At The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., one officer decided to take advantage of this phenomenon by starting a podcast. Lt. Taylor Brutto, Kroc officer for mission integration and youth development, introduced the “Become” podcast after being appointed there in 2016.

“One of the things we heard from employees and members at the Kroc Center was that they wanted more interaction with officers and leadership,” said the lieutenant. “But with 5,000 members and nearly 200 employees that becomes an enormous challenge. The podcast is a way we can share ourselves and our mission with others in a way that is deeper than an email or a quick hello.”

Each episode typically involves information about current events at the Kroc Center, an encouraging devotional and a guest interview. Most guests are from the Grand Rapids Kroc Center, but Lt. Taylor likes to invite others as well. Some of these have included a director from the Kids Hope USA mentoring program in which many Kroc employees participate, and Lt. Corey and Captain Nikki Hughes from the Chicago, Ill., Red Shield Center.

“I felt the conversation with Corey and Nikki was important for people in Grand Rapids to hear,” said Lt. Taylor. “Their experiences on the frontlines of poverty, racial issues and police-community relations are helpful as our neighborhood works through some of the same issues.”

Podcast episodes generally range from 25 to 45 minutes so listeners can fit it into a workout or lunch break. The podcast is available by searching “GR Kroc Center” on SoundCloud or in the iTunes podcast library.

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