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ANet Michigan

The Achievement Network is a nonprofit organization formed in 2005 that addresses two key needs expressed by educators: more support for developing instructional plans aligned to standards and a better understanding of why students struggle with specific material. ANet recently formed a Michigan Network, comprised of 15 Detroit schools, to provide coaching and tools to help educators overcome these challenges. 

Hoophouses for Health

Bringing together low-income community members with farmers, Hoophouses for Health is about nutrition, education, opportunity, and accessibility to fresh, Michigan-grown produce. Through this program, farmers get loans to build hoophouses that allow them to extend their growing season; low-income families can then purchase the food grown through a voucher system.

Youth Service Corps

Allen Neighborhood Center’s Youth Service Corps is a job and life skills training program engaging 20-30 youth, ages 11-17, with healthy food availability projects in neighborhoods on the eastside of Lansing. Youth build and install garden boxes for neighbors, plant and maintain a community garden, and make and sell healthy snacks at a local park. 

Detroit Food Academy

Detroit Food Academy teaches leadership skills by supporting Detroit high schools in building their own community-focused food business. Using experiential learning, Detroit kids are driven to critically think, consciously consume, and actively promote community change as they wear the shoes of food entrepreneurs who have the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit at heart. 

Community Literacy Initiative

For over two decades, the Literacy Center of West Michigan has been dedicated into improving reading skills and helping those learning English as a second language. Their work positively impacts schools, families and the community by expanding opportunities and increasing the quality of life by those they serve. 

Cook Library Center

Cook Library Center in Grand Rapids is a safe haven for K-7 students and their families to explore the joys of reading. With a collection of books in English and Spanish, laptops for student and adult use, homework help, and many other programs and outings, the center wants to engage the entire family and see student growth in both academics and leadership. 

Shelter & TIL Program

The Alternatives For Girls' Shelter & Transition to Independent Living Program goes far beyond a meal and a roof for homeless girls and young women in metro Detroit. In a caring and nurturing setting, the program offers counseling and educational services to help reunite girls with family or to ready them for self-reliance. 

Starfish Family Services Crisis Shelter

Starfish Family Services Crisis Shelter in Inkster helps to keep kids, ages 10 to 17, off the streets. Working with runaway, homeless, and throwaway youth and youth in immediate crisis – and their families – shelter staff try to reunite youth with their families when possible. Within a safe, stable, and structured environment, youth learn life skills, receive counseling, and connect with other community resources. The shelter is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Runaway and Homeless Youth Regional Alliance

The Runaway and Homeless Youth Regional Alliance is dedicated to creating a better system of care for disconnected youth in southeast Michigan. Made up of four agencies -- Alternative for Girls, Common Ground, Ruth Ellis Center, and Starfish Family Services -- the alliance wants to share data, improve outcomes for homeless youth, and increase public awareness about youth homelessness and the challenges faced by disconnected youth. 

Maternal Infant & Child Health Program

The Family Health Center of Battle Creek’s new Maternal Infant & Child Health Program aims to lessen infant mortality rates, enhance pregnancy experiences, and address childhood health issues in Calhoun County. The program is serious about giving voice to women about what they want and need to improve health outcomes for themselves, their babies, and their growing children.

Air Filter and Air Conditioner Intervention Study

Preventative health measures around asthma and other illnesses can’t happen without solid research into what works and what doesn’t. The Air Filter and Air Conditioner Intervention Study in Detroit is searching for ways to improve children’s asthma experiences and respiratory health by keeping indoor air cleaner. This study is a project of Community Action Against Asthma and Detroit Community Academic Urban Research Center, a community-based research partnership conducting research and interventions to promote health equity in the city.

Building Bridges

Building Bridges offers meaningful training and jobs for Grand Rapids youth who, as employees of the program, maintain vacant and foreclosed properties and provide top-notch, affordable landscaping and construction services to community members. Empowering youth and reducing blight, Building Bridges is a partnership between Bethany Christian Services and Urban Family Ministries. 

Family Support Partners

Family Support Partners is an Advocacy for Kids’ initiative developed to empower Kalamazoo County families who are raising children facing mood, behavioral, or emotional issues. The program’s participants form solid bonds with their unique peer mentors, because every Family Support Partner has a child with the same issues.  

Project CHILL

Normally, kids get mental health treatment after diagnosis, intervention after an illness becomes evident. At the Family Outreach Center in Grand Rapids a prevention program called Project CHILL is for kids who don’t have mental health issues. But their parents do, and that puts them at risk for developing illnesses later in life. The weekly after-school CHILL sessions are designed to educate kids on mental illness and teach them skills to cope with the issues surrounding it.

Honoring Our Youth (HOY)

Honoring Our Youth (HOY) is a program of Steepletown Neighborhood Services that helps out-of-school Grand Rapids youth, ages 14-21, conquer employment and education obstacles. Often labeled as “dropouts” or “nobodies” by others, the youth are provided GED, employment, and mentoring services at HOY to get back on track and restore their belief in their own potential.
152 Articles | Page: | Show All
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Bright Ideas


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.


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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