Executive Staff

Mark and Jan Gregston


Mark and Jan founded Heartlight in 1988 after spending years working with Young Life, as a youth pastor, and living at Kanakuk Kamp, in Branson, Missouri.  Now, years later, Heartlight has seen over 2,800 kids pass through Heartlight’s doors.  Little did Mark or Jan know that the desire to work with struggling teens would develop into the successful program that it has.

Mark and Jan live “on property” with the Heartlight staff and 60 residents.  Mark now hosts the national radio program “Parenting Today’s Teens” and has written a number of books helping parents counter the effects the current teen culture is having on their adolescents.   He spends most weekends speaking at seminars and conferences, and with parents at Heartlight.

Mark and Jan both attended Tulsa University, where Mark received his Bachelors of Business Administration.  Both are licensed child care administrators (LCCA), and remain actively involved in the lives of the Heartlight teens.  They have two children, four grandchildren, a dog, a cat, two llamas, a donkey, and way too many horses.

Blake Nelson

Chief Operating Officer, Licensed Child Care Administrator

Twenty years ago, Blake began his employment at Heartlight as a 19-year-old college student pursuing his bachelors in Behavioral Sciences degree at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. Now, 20 years, later, Blake has held every possible position at Heartlight and has gained a full knowledge of all day to day operations.

Blake is a native of the East Texas area and has been a part of the Heartlight staff since 1994. Because he has held positions in several areas within the program throughout that time, Blake is no stranger to the structure of Heartlight. Blake brings enthusiasm and excitement to the staff, as well as experience in helping families as they struggle through difficult times. Blake’s boldness and sense of confidence with Christ is displayed daily in the way that he relates with both the kids and the staff members. In his free time, Blake enjoys hunting, wakeboarding and a variety of other sports. Blake is married to Melissa, our Director of Admissions. They have two children.