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The 10 most read stories of 2018 from Michigan Nightlight

We're sharing a year of great content with Michigan Nightlight's top 10 most-read stories. 

While you celebrate the new year with your favorite sparkling beverage, we’re busy applauding 2018 – a year of great content here at Michigan Nightlight.

We’re excited to share with you our top ten stories of the year, which appeared in Detroit-based Model D, Grand Rapids-based Rapid Growth, and Kalamazoo- and Battle Creek-based Southwest Michigan Second Wave.

If you haven’t read these stories yet, we encourage you to take a moment to discover the innovative approaches and unrelenting compassion of the many people, programs and projects making sustainable change for children and families across the state. We’ve shared a few details below.

VOICES: Overcoming Challenges in Learning series

In our VOICES series, we featured the authentic voices of teachers, parents, students, counselors, and others about challenges to learning they have encountered and overcome. While all the essays were poignant, our readers were especially drawn to an essay by Nora Standish, a self-proclaimed Aspie and synesthete. In this top-ten story, the Grand Rapids 12-year-old charmed us with her wit and straightforwardness and educated us with an insider’s view of what it’s like to attend sixth grade with the “geek syndrome.”

Untraditional families

A number of stories addressed supports for untraditional families and the youth who are raised in them, building our understanding of the many challenges that parents and young people face. But we were surprised at the reactions – both positive and adversarial – to our story on Families Forward, a demonstration program that helps parents in Calhoun and Jackson counties train for and find jobs that can help them pay child support.

Spotlighting young people who are exiting the foster care system and entering the daunting world of adulthood, this feature about Western Michigan University’s Seita Scholars also made our top ten. This comprehensive, innovative program for foster care youth expands accessibility to college and increases successful outcomes for young adults who have lived some or all of their teenage years in foster care.

Readers also were moved by the story about transracial adoptions that offered an inside look at four Grand Rapids families who adopted children of other colors and cultures into their families. The story presents real-life examples of how families have navigated multiple challenges with hope and care.

Michigan Good Food Fund series

In a series about Michigan Good Food Fund loan and grant investments in Detroit, we looked at good food enterprises working to increase access to affordable healthy food in low-income and underserved communities. MGFF focuses on economic development, food access, environmental stewardship, and sourcing regionally grown and produced foods.

Coming from this series, our most read story of the year was about the Detroit Food Commons, a community development project led by Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and driven by Malik Yakini’s vision to foster a fair and equitable food system. This story was also in Model D’s top-five stories of 2018. The commons, which will be anchored by Detroit People’s Food Co-op, is now eight years in the making, with an eye on opening in 2019.

The two other stories in this series were part of our top ten list as well. Our piece on FEAST Detroit looked at the co-processing facility and collaborative manufacturing plant in Inkster that was once a Garden Fresh hummus production facility. The story included a video featuring Amit Makhecha, FEAST co-founder and managing director, which was viewed by more than 10,000 people.

Readers also gobbled up our feature on Corridor Sausage, a company that’s bringing ethics and artfulness back into sausage making. Lead by two former chefs, Zachary Klein and Will Branch, Corridor moved its operations from a rented butcher shop in Howell to a manufacturing space in Eastern Market in 2017.

A radical approach to babysitting

Also part of our top ten was a story about the Detroit Radical Childcare Collective. The article highlights the work of the DRCC – a group of mostly 20-somethings and mostly organizers, students, and artists, who bring a social justice bent to their work with children. The piece revealed how the collective is filling a niche for childcare for conscious parents who agree with the DRCC’s principles of collective work, gender affirmation, restorative justice, child-friendly activism and economic justice (caregivers earn a living wage). This article was part of a three-story series on alternative childcare options for working families (the other stories covered onsite, workplace options and the Detroit Parent Collective co-op childcare and pre-school).

On the lighter side

Kids running businesses and riding bikes were also a draw for MNL readers.

An article about the GR Dirt Dawgs made our top ten list, showing how the Grand Rapid's mountain bike program for youngsters has an agenda well beyond exercise and fresh air. Along with dirt bike skills training, young riders are learning to care for trails, enjoy nature, volunteer, and foster friendships.

Another reader favorite was a story featuring Grand Rapids teen entrepreneurs who are using their ideas and passions to pursue their dreams. They’re doing well being their own bosses – and they’re not wasting any time making their mark on the world.

Like those brilliant teen entrepreneurs, Michigan Nightlight is also making a mark with our Michigan-based content. Many thanks to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for its grant funding to support Michigan Nightlight stories, and thank you, readers, for engaging with our content.




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