WOODTV.com & WOOD TV8: Grand Rapids n...

WOODTV.com & WOOD TV8: Grand Rapids news, weather, sports and v...

There are 194 comments on the WOOD-TV Grand Rapids and Michigan story from Feb 11, 2008, titled WOODTV.com & WOOD TV8: Grand Rapids news, weather, sports and v.... In it, WOOD-TV Grand Rapids and Michigan reports that:

It may take another two months for Michigan State Police investigators to unravel the finances of a nationwide youth organization based in Newaygo County.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WOOD-TV Grand Rapids and Michigan.

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former Pride member

United States

#1 Feb 11, 2008
I think this a shame for a grear organization for kids!


#2 Feb 11, 2008
This is hurtful. I can not believe that people I have grown to know could do such a thing. I respected this program and now I am not sure of what to think of it... All I can say is that I am torn to pieces

Grand Rapids, MI

#3 Feb 11, 2008
I am a member of one of the teams and PRIDE has helped me overcome so much in my life if it wasnt for PRIDE i wouldnt be who i am today. So please do not judge the whole orginization just because of this one incident.
Regina Boutwell

Chicago, IL

#4 Feb 11, 2008
I am a PRIDE international trainer for the orginization and was on the PRIDE of newaygo county team for 2 years. PRIDE youth programs has helped so many teens including myself. and posting a story with only the negative facts is only going to get my teammates more shit from their peers. when they get anough already, I know you guys have to report the news.. but the way you are going about it is bullshit. thank you so much for that!!!
Former member of PRIDE

Kalamazoo, MI

#5 Feb 11, 2008
I was a member of PRIDE of Newaygo County in the early 90's. I learned alot from Jay and I have alot of respect for him. I believe there is more to this story and we should remember through this investigation that people are innocent until proven guilty.
Regina Boutwell

Chicago, IL

#6 Feb 11, 2008
sorry, I was on the training team until a couple of weeks ago. and I didn't mean to be so abrupt and rude. please don't judge the teens in this orginization by my example. they are all wonderful people. I am sorry again.
Regina Boutwell

Chicago, IL

#7 Feb 11, 2008
please people... whatever you do... please don't judge the orginization and the teens in it just by the actions of one person. these kids work hard. really hard. I know I was on the team. I got to experience that magic that we bring into each performance. the program helps people it really does. please don't judge it. please don't stop supporting us in our cause!
Oh Please

Amelia Court House, VA

#8 Feb 11, 2008
Regina, that's investigative journalism for ya.
Regina Boutwell

Chicago, IL

#9 Feb 11, 2008
I agree. and I'm not knocking anybodys career. I'm just upset because of all the respect these teens are going to lose because of this? obviously you don't know how hard they work. if you want to know though I ammore than willing to let you know.
Alisha LeFevre

Mount Pleasant, MI

#10 Feb 11, 2008
I was a member of PRIDE for all four years of high school. This phenomenal organization not only made me into a leader and strong willed young woman, but the people involved in this organization saved my life when I had seriously considered suicide.

It is also because of these amazing adults and youth who volunteer their time to promote a healthy drug and violence free lifestyle, that I am a 21 year college student who DOES NOT consume alcohol. The financial aspects of PRIDE Youth Programs right now are a shame, but I ask that anyone reading this does not form their entire opinion of PRIDE based soley on this report. I think the real shame is that the Newaygo County community isn't doing anything to financially contribute to such an amazing and EFFECTIVE organization.
Just a Thought

Tucson, AZ

#11 Feb 11, 2008
It seems to me that Jay's assistant Mrs. Mercer is just as quilty as he is. If she knew that he wanted the money put into his account to go to the golf course then she knew it was WRONG so that makes her just as quilty!
Maybe you should look into her and her husbands dealings with pride and all the conventions they've gone to as well as Jay and who paid for all those trips and vacations they took etc etc etc.
How can this truly get down to the truth is the state police is doing the investigation when they are all tight with each other. They aren't going to arrest anyone or make them pay because their all friends.
Maybe since is it NATIONAL PRIDE that the FBI should be the one doing the investigation.
It's time these people paid for their crimes and that is just what they are crimes!!!
Just a Thought

Tucson, AZ

#12 Feb 11, 2008
To me this has nothing to do with the FANTASTIC job the kids have done for many years. I appauld each of them and hope they keep of the great work they have done.
Sometimes people aren't what they seem and I think that this is true with the heads of pride or this investigation wouldn't even be taking place.

Kids I'm sorry that this has happened. Keep helping others and doing the great work you do. You are PRIDE!!! And pride itself is a good thing.

Marion, IN

#13 Feb 12, 2008
maybe the American Decency Organization in Fremont can picket these people, they seem to judge everyone in a group, not looking into all the facts at all! Or having their facts straight!
Concerned Citizen

Sparta, MI

#14 Feb 12, 2008
We need to remember that we only know what we are being shown on TV. This is a wonderful organization. Jay has served the community of Newaygo for over 20 years in one way or another. I beleive we need to wait and see what the investigation finds. As the saying goes "the proof is in the pudding". I would guess he would like to comment on the case and to clear up all the statements that he is being accused of but we need to remember this is a legal case and there are probably legal reasons he can't respond. Let's not let this ruin a great organization.
Try to Remember

Sparta, MI

#15 Feb 12, 2008
How many times do we see accusations made towards a person or an organization only to find out there was not wrong being done? I have no idea if Pride or Dewispelaere are innocent be no one knows if they are guilty at this point either. It is important to remember that while we are all entitled to form our own opinions on this matter that the basis of our justice system is “innocent until proven guilty”. It is much more interesting and sensationalistic to assume wrong has been done here but interesting and sensationalistic do not automatically equal fact or guilt. Let’s let this investigation unfold and base our opinions on the facts that are revealed.
Sick of it

Ionia, MI

#16 Feb 12, 2008
I am totally sick of all the corrupt crap that comes out of Newaygo County. This Pride thing has been a scandal for a long, long time. Two Sheriff's and this Dewispeleare guy too. The current sheriff's wife worked there. All of these good ole Newaygo County boys go on Pride "conferences". Some have even gone to Brazil on the taxpayer. Cops too! This crap needs to be stopped and the State Police better look into it. Look at the cars they all drive. Who pays for the gas? We do! Fishing Trips!!! I'm so damn mad about this.

Pride can get all of their highschool age supporters to come out of the wood work, but having an illegal gun is a crime as far as I know. I'm sure alot of other people would go to jail for it.

Time to do your damned jobs MSP!!!! Put these crooks away (all of them) once and for all!!!

Fremont, MI

#17 Feb 12, 2008
Why is this article a reflection on PRIDE? It should be a reflection on President Jay DeWispelaere. PRIDE has has a huge influence on my life, I have seen a lot of their performances and they have been my insperation to stay clean. PRIDE is a great organization and you should not be critisze them.
Sick of it

Ionia, MI

#18 Feb 12, 2008
Ummm....Pride is a reflection of who is running the organization and vice-versa. Do you pay taxes Marie? If so, you should be a bit peaved about this "organization" still owing the county THOUSANDS of DOLLARS!!!! The monies never should have been co-mingled in the first place. The whole thing is R-O-T-T-E-N!!!

By the way, I pay my taxes so our cops can patrol our communities and keep them safe, not travel around the country and then go on FISHING TRIPS. Gas is $3.09 per gallon and WE have to pay that price to get to/from work etc. Why do these guys (and gals) get free gas. Talk to our area gas stations. They watch as these people fill up their tanks with Pride Credit cards which in my mind equates to County Credit Cards.
Another Concerned Citizen

Cadillac, MI

#19 Feb 12, 2008
Just because the investigation uncovered the president mishandling funds for the second time we shouldn't be concerned about him? I don't think that the reporter had anything bad to say about what the organization did, but what the president of the organization did with the funds. Don't you care if you belong to such a great organization that your money is being spent the wrong way? It is hard to hold your head high when the leader of your organization is a accused of stealing from you, because that is basically what he is doing, so maybe you should demand the answers from the leaders yourselves. What exactly happened to all that money? You can still hold your heads high! You as a member have done nothing wrong it is the president of the organization that is in question, again! Living a drug and alcohol free lifestyle is a wonderful way to live and I applaud you all for being the smart young people that you are!
Formerly from Newaygo

Big Rapids, MI

#20 Feb 12, 2008
I may be mistaken, but didn't Jay DeWispelaere
used to be a police officer?
Another thing, just because the news is reporting this, does not make these allegations true.

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