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family stability & independence : Bright Ideas

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Unemployment Policies Put Families at Risk

With a jobless rate that's 50 percent below the state average, it's easy to think Ann Arbor is immune to the impacts of long-term unemployment. The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project commissioned a study on the effects of the state's policies and discovered that we're undermining both our economic recovery and the well-being of our most vulnerable kids.

Aging Out Of Foster Care

"Aging out" of the foster care system leaves young adults on their own, with little guidance on how to handle adulthood. A new U.P. program helps these fledgling adults navigate the real world.

D.A. Blodgett - St. John's: 125 Years of Helping Kids

Twenty-five perent of children in Kent County are living in poverty. In the face of this startling statistic, D.A. Blodgett - St. John's, West Michigan's oldest child welfare organization, strives to make a difference. 

Burmese Americans find a home in Battle Creek

More than 30 years ago the first family from Burma came to Battle Creek. Now the city has a thriving Burmese community. Jane C. Parikh reports on recent steps being taken to make them feel more at home and strengthen their ties to the area.

New program gives parents a step up with new skills

Based on the successful Harlem Children's Zone, CAN Council's Great Start University teaches parents effective techniques to deal with children. The program expects to serve about 250 Saginaw County parents in 2012.

Limiting Transit Options Limits Opportunities For Kids

In the conversation about mass transit and whether or not we develop a county-wide service one type of rider often gets overlooked: kids. What do limited transportation options mean for students car-less volunteers who work with kids?
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Can systemic racism impact infant mortality?

Even when controlling for poverty, education level, and tobacco use of a mother, maternal and infant health outcomes are far worse for minority populations than European-American women. What's causing the continued disparities? And what can West Michigan do to ensure all babies born here have the best chance of reaching their potential? Zinta Aistars reports on Strong Beginnings, one local program working to give all families a fair start.

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Company Supports 4th Grade Field Trips to Lake Michigan

Parents working more than one job or odd hours, a lack of funds, and no transportation often prevent kids from experiencing one of Michigan’s incredible natural resources. For the majority of west side Grand Rapids elementary school kids, Lake Michigan is sadly out of reach. OST has teamed up with Grand Rapids Public Schools to give fourth-graders at west side schools the opportunity to experience the big lake firsthand.

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Youth Decide Where Grant Dollars are Spent

For Grand Rapids students who serve as trustees-in-training on the GRCF Youth Grant Committee, giving back to the community goes hand in hand with empowering students to succeed. 
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