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UIX: Roderick Daniels and Kingmakers aim to set others on the path to success

Roderick Daniels









Roderick Daniels' Kingmakers is an organization that seeks to keep men and women from a life on the streets through skill building and work. He draws on his own story as proof it can be done.
A life on the street and in prison wasn't the life Roderick Daniels wanted for himself. It's not the life he wants for others, either.
 
Dedicated to keeping others from falling behind, Daniels founded the nonprofit Kingmakers Community Development Church in 2008. Kingmakers, based in Byron Center, helps men and women overcome their own obstacles through skill building and with positive role models. 
 
Daniels says it was his time in prison, where he took on the responsibility of leading fellow prisoners and gang members through cognitive thinking classes and mediation, that helped form him for his role in Kingmakers. He found the best way to succeed in his own life was through learning and application, and says he wanted to pass that on to those in need outside of prison.
 
"When you got to eat and sleep and do what needs to be done, if you've got a felony while running around filling out applications, that's hard," Daniels says. "If you can teach a person a skill, though, like painting, carpentry, or drywalling, it goes a long way."
 
Much of Kingmakers clientèle comes through word of mouth and Daniels' own connections in the community. He says he has a knack for spotting talent and dedication in those in need of opportunity.  
 
"These guys know how to manage money. They know how to take something and flip it, they're just flipping the wrong product," Daniels says. "If I can teach them how to work in retail or wholesale, I can get them into a career. And these guys really do a good job; they're mechanically inclined and learn quickly."
 
Kingmakers clients are offered counseling and mentorship by Daniels and his wife, Nicole. At the same time, Daniels seeks to find what interests each member, and how to combine that interest with their available talents in a workplace. The Kingmakers crew has been contracted for different handyman and construction services, images of which can be seen on the Kingmakers website.
 
"I really felt like that was the piece that was missing in a lot of mens' lives. They really didn't have anything to hold onto or look forward to," Daniels says. "I am trying to tech these men a skill so they can support themselves and be better fathers, and get after that American dream. The hope is that they will grow and grow rich."
 
Trust is important to Daniels, and as such is incorporated into Kingmakers' message. Daniels says a lack of trust, among all communication barriers, is one of the main challenges he faces in his aim to help his clients succeed.
 
"The type of work that we do, and the chances that we're taking, I need people that I can trust," he says. "We've got several guys on different job sites and I'm running between them a lot. I'm working from an executive position and don't need to be a babysitter, but I need to trust the guys that work for me."
 
Daniels, a father of 8 and full-time pastor, and his wife, Nicole, have been leading classes and training at Kingmakers' Byron Center facility and on different job sites since its inception, but are in the process of reviewing and screening candidates to help facilitate classes.
 
"It is very important that the right people be put in the correct position to make Kingmakers an organization of integrity and transparency and effective in the transformation of families," Daniels said.
 
He says they are looking for people with different professional backgrounds willing to mentor and share their skills, too. Along with the contract work skills Kingmakers currently provides, Daniels is hoping to bring in volunteers from several other industries represented in Grand Rapids.
 
As a nonprofit ministry, Kingmakers is funded through donations and income from the contracted work the crew lands. Daniels says they have regular work orders for several different investors. Plans are already in the making for expansion, Daniels says.
 
"We hope that Kingmakers Grand Rapids is the model that is set for other Kingmakers in cities around the country and maybe even the world," he says. "We plan to be so successful in assisting families in their transformation that donors will be more than willing to contribute in the growth of Kingmakers. Actually we are seeing the tip of the efforts already."
 
For more information on Kingmakers, visit http://kingmakersgr.org/
 
Matthew Russell is the Project Editor for UIX Grand Rapids. Contact him at matthew@uixgrandrapids.com. 
 
Photography by Steph Harding 
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