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Yes for Youth

These aren’t your typical, rumdum summer jobs for teens. Yes for Youth is a Jubilee Jobs program that gives underserved 14- to 18-year old youth in Grand Rapids the opportunity for employment training, followed by a paid summer job in an area of interest, like journalism or social service work.

El Arte: Arts Infused Education

El Arte brings artists into the classrooms of at-risk students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade for arts-infused education. Artists use hands-on methods, which improve student performance in core subjects through the arts. They work closely with classroom teachers to pilot innovative curriculum that target unmet student needs. 


The SOURCE brings businesses, government agencies and nonprofits together to help the community. It works to make healthy and stable homes for employees by providing access to resources and assistance. The SOURCE also provides training and opportunities, with the end goal of sustainable employment and self-sufficiency.

Early Childhood Connections

In 2008, the residents of Calhoun County were surveyed about their hopes and dreams for their children. The result of that survey was the creation of Early Childhood Connections, giving support to children from birth to age four with welcome baby baskets, family coaches, toddler play groups and much more.

Madres Unidas (MomU)

Since 2012, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation’s Madres Unidas program, MomU, has been helping Hispanic mothers in southwest Detroit deal with the challenges of parenting and the challenges of life. Using input from mothers to design a meaningful curriculum, the program addresses local mothers’ most pressing issues, including parenting teens. 

Conner Creek Mother Nurture Project

The mission of Advantage Health Centers is to improve the health status of the individuals and the communities we serve by providing access to high quality, respectful, and efficient health care services. Advantage Health Centers will also be a catalyst for access to health care and other resources for those who would otherwise go unserved.

New Start Preservation Program

The goal of any social service agency is to keep families together. No one wins when children have to be removed from their homes by the court system. The Baraga Houghton Keweenaw New Start Preservation program has a solid record of not only keeping children in their homes, but affecting change in the parents of those children, a better outcome for all involved.

The River Rouge Promise Neighborhood

The River Rouge Promise Neighborhood initiative is making sure everyone is heard. With a goal to have children in the River Rouge community enter kindergarten ready to learn, parents, childcare providers, professionals, teachers, schools and the community are becoming better aligned to support all River Rouge kids on their educational journey.

Voces Language Services Program

The Language Services Program of Voces in Battle Creek focuses on providing interpreter services to limited English language proficient families, as well as educating and building the capacity of healthcare providers, nonprofits, public services, and schools to better deliver meaningful language access to their clients.

Community LINC

Community LINC works to revitalize communities by empowering residents and providing them with the skills and opportunities to move out of poverty. It also works with Believe 2 Become to help children succeed in school, particularly in four underserved Grand Rapids neighborhoods identified as the Hope Zones. 

Cooking Matters for Families

With the Cooking Matters for Families, kids join their parents in the kitchen for hands-on cooking and nutrition sessions conducted by chefs and dieticians. Cooking Matters is a program of Share Our Strength and is administered in metro Detroit by Gleaners Community Food Bank. 

Our Kitchen Table

With Farmers’ Markets, cooking classes, and home gardening instruction, Our Kitchen Table is turning the tide for people living in Grand Rapids neighborhoods that had limited options for buying fresh, healthy food. This compact nonprofit is also addressing other health and social justice issues, like lead poisoning and air quality.  

Northern Initiatives

Attempting to launch a business in a rural area has its special challenges. The Small Business and Family Improvement Initiative: Launch, Grow and Prosper helps small business owners living in rural northern Michigan start and succeed in business.

Burmese Parents Summer Enrichment Program

The Burmese Parent Summer Enrichment Program is an answer to the needs of the Burmese refugee population in Battle Creek. Participants have a strong voice in determining program activities and classes, exercise their creativity, and learn new skills.  

Children’s Healthcare Access Program (CHAP)

Many studies show that children’s brains undergo the most important stages of development before they even enter Kindergarten. Yet for many kids and families, these important development years are a struggle. First Steps is working to fix these issues in Kent County. Through the Children's Healthcare Access Program (CHAP), First Steps provides high-quality preventative healthcare.
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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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