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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.

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. 

Dream Big, Start Small

Dream Big, Start Small in Kalamazoo reaches children as early a possible to better prepare them for school.

Raising Kids in Detroit

It's no secret that young professionals have gravitated to Detroit's urban center in recent years, but what happens when they start having kids? Nina Misuraca Ignaczak spoke with some families who have made the commitment to stay and raise their kids in the city.

Rosedale-Grandmont Little League: 500 Kids Up to Bat in Detroit

Since it was founded in 1992, the Rosedale-Grandmont Little League has been the summer pastime of this west side Detroit neighborhood.

TeenQuest helps future employees stand out above the crowd

As the economy continues to straighten itself out, there is no doubt any edge a first-time employee can get on entering the working world is important. TeenQuest is here to help.

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.

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy Fourth

Michigan Nightlight editorial and photography crew is taking next week off to celebrate Independence Day with friends and family. We’ll be back on July 9,with a new featured profile, a new special report on grassroots health initiatives, and other bright ideas. Enjoy the holiday! 

Video: Playworks Teaches Kids to Play the Right Way

Resource-strapped schools have trouble providing recess in a way that is fun for kids and supplements academics. Playworks, a national nonprofit, has partnered with several Detroit schools to provide recess for kids that is fun, educational, and inclusive.

One Thousand Books Before Kindergarten

If you were writing the book of a child's life wouldn't you like it to have a happy ending? Every day more children are signing up for a Kalamazoo Public Library program intended to give them a life that includes loving the reading of books. 

U.P. Youth Help Conserve Great Lakes

K-12 students are taking part in a monarch butterfly project, while 16-24 year olds have been working in the Great Lakes Conservation Corps for years. Both are initiatives through the Superior Watershed Partnership to connect youth with their environment.

Kids, Families Welcome Spring on Belle Isle

Block By Block, a program of Team 313, clears trash-strewn lots and changes attitudes about littering. But its biggest success are the values youth learn while keeping their neighborhoods clean.

Nightlight Takes Break Next Week


At Arts in Motion Studio, Art is the Equalizer

Arts in Motion Studio in Grand Rapids provides the young and young at heart a space to create, learn, and perform, serving budding creatives of all abilitiies with individualized instruction.

Kalamazoo Literacy Council Wants Everyone to Read

Today, knowing how to read is basic in order to get a job. But one out of three job applicants lack the reading skils needed to do the job they seek. The Kalamazoo Literacy Council is stepping up efforts to change that. 

Spring Break for Nightlight


Students Design Solutions for Neighborhood

Students at the GRPS Academy of Design and Construction are getting in on the ground floor, so to speak, as they partner with Habitat Kent to envision, design, and eventually build a mixed-use development right in their own community. 

Building Networks for Job Success

Youth Employment Solutions and the Detroit Youth Development Commission's employment program help young people in Detroit develop skills needed to find jobs and prepare themselves for a better future. 

U-M Field Social Workers Benefit Nonprofits

More than just a well-respected educational institution, U-M's School of Social Work assigns hundreds of students to work for and with nonprofits throughout Washtenaw County. Those students have become a uniquely powerful community asset, offering much-needed support to local organizations and acting as ambassadors for new ideas and strategies.

Revolutions Aims to Get Kids on Bikes and Skis

A quiet revolution is taking root in Marquette. Aptly named Revolutions, the program aims to give young people access to the Upper Peninsula's great outdoors.

Finding the Balance Between an Asian and American Identity

No matter how loving the home, Asian adoptees often struggle with identity. The impacts of race and culture don't diminish with assimilation. Mam Non is a support program that helps adopted children and their parents bridge the gap between their Asian and American identities.

Teens Create App for Downtown Grand Rapids

Students on WMCAT's app design team are discovering their city while learning about design thinking in a unique partnership with Mutually Human and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. 

Kids Get Leg Up on Health and Fitness

For many Michigan kids, reductions in elective physical education classes and recess time leaves them less able to move their bodies in a healthy way every day. Luckily, Gymco is a big player in the business of teaching kids how to play, and they're helping the littlest Grand Rapidians build healthy bodies and strong minds right here in West Michigan.

Kids Nurture Detroit Gardens

The productive green space is part of the Detroit School Garden Collaborative, a partnership between the Detroit Public Schools and the Greening of Detroit. Amy Kuras eagerly looks forward to planting season in this report. 

Hands-on Tech Experience for Middle School Girls

With support from Atomic Object, Software GR hosts unique, one-day, hands-on tech experiences for middle school girls. 

Support for Children of Migrant Workers

Without migrant laborers, many Michigan farms wouldn't get their crops in. But the groups of temporary residents can challenge the services available in rural areas. Groups across northwest Michigan provide help with day care, health care, dental services, and summer school for children of the migrant workers who pick crops or do other farm labor for a living.

Ranch for Challenged Kids

HopeWell Ranch, northwest of Mt. Pleasant, offers emotionally challenged kids, and other children, a place to connect with horses, learn about relationships, and build self-esteem.

Career Education in Schools

A combination of mentoring, job shadowing, and taking kids inside classrooms and labs used to train tomorrow's scientists, doctors and coders is helping prepare young Detroiters for careers in health care. 

Dealing with Student Conflict

Restorative Circles, a new program at Godfrey Lee Middle School in Wyoming, teaches conflict resolution and builds empathy with help from the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan. 

Getting to School on Two Feet

Suburban sprawl has led to a new generation of children being driven to school instead of walking or biking. But with Michigan's Safe Routes to Schools program funding sidewalks and other infrastructure, walking and biking are the new educational path. 

Diversity in Hamtramck Schools

In Hamtramck, where immigrant families from all over the world have settled for generations, students are as likely to speak Arabic or Bengali as they are English. 

Center for Self-Directed Teens

At the Open Doors Center for Self-Directed Teens, students are responsible for their own education, with a curriculum built on engagement, innovation, and respect. 

Program Offers a Second Chance for Young People

Can young people poised for adult criminal records turn their lives around? Some dedicated folks in Kalamazoo are trying to help them round that corner.

Taking the "Home" Out of Homework

At Clintondale High School, students review video lectures at home and do homework in the classroom with teacher guidance.

Program Connects Young People to Lake Superior

For youngsters who have grown up a stone's throw from its shores, Lake Superior's enormous presence can sometimes be taken for granted. 

Engaged Parents Drive School Policies

Let's face it, being a school board member can be a tough and thankless job, especially for parents with kids enrolled in the educational system they help to oversee. 

Flint River Farms Educates City Kids About Farming

Flint River Farm grows vegetables, fruits and herbs on a Flint city block that used to house burned-out homes and vacant lots.

Progressive Charters Step Up For Detroit Kids

Detroit Achievement Academy, James and Grace Lee Boggs School, and the Y Detroit Leadership Academy High School opened this fall in Detroit.

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.

Healthy Futures for Kids

The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute addresses disparate health outcomes by acting as a resource for health education, research, and advocacy.

Tween Entrepreneurs

If violin lessons and Little League aren't enough, Dearborn Chamber of Commerce has launched the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a program that teaches precocious kids how to launch their own start-up.

Wrestling with ADHD

Can brain training help wean kids with ADHD off medication? A Grand Rapids psychologist is seeing hopeful results.

Early Grade Reading Improvement Program

A reading achievement pilot program at Verona Elementary School in Battle Creek has students improving reading skills and interest -- starting in kindergarten. 

Weeklong #EdMattersHere Chat on Detroit Schools

Join the social conversation in Detroit this week by tweeting your thoughts. Not a gripe session; instead, share solutions, sing the praise of on-the-ground heroes, promote change. 

Career Education in the Kitchen

At Ann Arbor's Food Gatherers, feeding the hungry is only part of the equation. Preparing at-risk young adults for careers in the food industry is another. 

Mentoring For Children From Migrant Families

Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance's Migrant Mentoring program offers community advocates and coaches an opportunity to connect with school-aged migrant children.

The Power of Collective Impact

From Detroit, to Battle Creek to Holland, nonprofits, businesses, and community members are impacting social problems using a collective impact framework. 

Speaker Series: Creative Cities, The Next Generation

Join us August 22 in Detroit or Grand Rapids for a dual-city conversation on the state of arts education.

Truffles Not Trouble For Convicted Young People

Dale Anderson wanted to help kids by teaching them building trades skills. He ended up teaching them how to make truffles. Here's the story on Confections with Convictions.

Southwest Comes Alive With Arts Education

Southwest Detroit attracts people with its ethnic food, its early 20th-century architecture, and, increasingly, its innovative learning projects. 

The Next Generation of Creative Problem Solvers

Arts education contributes to all that we want for Michigan kids: academic achievement, emotional and social maturity, and equitable opportunity. But with pressure to raise standardized test scores, arts and culture programs are often pushed aside. We’ll take a look at who is filing the arts gap and why.

VIDEO: Arts Education Detroit - Filling the Gap

Arts education meaningfully contributes to academic success, social development, civic engagement, and equal opportunity -- all the good things we want for Detroit kids. In our latest Michigan Nightlight video, we look at who's filling the gap in arts education and why. 

VIDEO: Shaping Creativity for Grand Rapids Youth

Colorful, relevant, and inspiring, this Michigan Nightlight video looks at who is filling the gap in arts education in Grand Rapids and why.

Knee-High Naturalists Introduces World of Wonder

Petting reptiles and learning about amphibians too -- it’s all in a day for Battle Creek's Knee-High Naturalists. 

Open Roads Opens Doors For Kalamazoo Young People

Once you've learned how to fix a bike what else can you fix? For young people in Kalamazoo, Open Roads teaches the skills to find out. 

Creative Writing, Tutoring Build Student Confidence

The nonprofit 826michigan recently expanded programming into Detroit. Participating students are digging it. 

Creating Change In Michigan's Food Systems

How is Michigan doing in creating systemic change around food access, nutrition, and sustainability for low-income children and families? 

Teens Find New Direction With Mountain Biking

Start the Cycle introduces court-referred and at-risk teens to the sport of mountain biking as a positive alternative to drug and alcohol use and other unhealthy activities. 

Building Community Through Hip Hop

All of the Above in Lansing uses the fundamentals of hip hop to engage kids in community change.

Preschool Economics

Can quality preschool learning for Michigan children be tied to a healthy economy? Early education proponents around the state believe it can. Michigan Nightlight’s Amy Kuras talks to the experts.

SEEDS of Traverse City

Northwest Michigan's SEEDS offers a wide range of services -- with an ecological and social justice bent -- including free afterschool programming for kids.

Arts and Community Life in Southwest Detroit

Southwest Detroit attracts people with its ethnic food options, its early 20th century residential architecture and, increasingly, for innovative learning projects. 

Brown-Bagging an End to Hunger

From 125 meals in 2003 to today's 5,100, Kids' Food Basket has grown into one of the brightest and most recognizable nonprofits in Grand Rapids.
Food 

Kids in Tune

Kids in Tune is about more than teaching Kalamazoo youngsters music. It's about support, nurturing, joy and acquiring life skills through the learning of music skills.

Honoring Our Youth: A Starting Point to Success

Getting a GED isn't always so easy. Learn how the Honoring Our Youth program at Steepletown Neighborhood Services helps. 

A Case for Retention

A study by CEOs For Cities found that 58 percent of a region's economic health comes from the educational attainment of its residents. How does our region cultivate a culture that properly educates, trains and retains its talent?

Clarkston Jr. High's Digital Blackboard

What do mini laptops, video-streaming pencasts and Charlie Sheen have to do with academics? At Clarkston Junior High School, plenty. Algebra and statistics teacher Jeff Peariso has piloted a high-tech learning program for students, with exciting results.

Girls on the Run Gets Girls Running, Healthy and Happy

We all want our kids to have well-balanced, healthy and long lives. One of the keys to that is getting kids physically active and teaching them what to eat. A mid-Michigan program, Girls on the Run is doing that for young girls in Saginaw and Bay counties.

Opinion: School Success for All

Can we turn dismal statistical projections and empty rhetoric around education into constructive dialog and real cooperation? Vulnerable kids in Michigan and Detroit give us inspiration to try.

Academic Rigor, Commitment Make Cristo Rey Tick

This Catholic college prep high school in Southwest Detroit stresses an eight year educational arc -- four at Cristo Rey and four more at the university level -- as its measure of success. 

GRIL U Creates Leaders

Teaching young adults how to be strong leaders is the key to transforming communities. A Grand Rapids nonprofit has a proven record for making this happen.

Empowering Our Youth Through Computer Science

When MSU identified a lack of qualified computer science applicants, the Information Technology Empowerment Center was created to foster a new generation of IT enthusiasts in Lansing. Here's how ITEC and an array of community partners are making it happen.

Bringing Lessons of the Far East into Midwest Classrooms

Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Bill Skilling sees a future dominated by China's economic and political interests. With that in mind, he has become a strong advocate for teaching our kids both Chinese culture and language.

Repairing Detroit Through Restorative Practices

Can using Restorative Practices with students be the key to building community in Detroit? We think the idea has merit. 

Museum Encourages Kids to Become Young Entrepreneurs

Kids have bright business ideas all the time, but they don’t always follow through with creating an enterprise of their own. A program at the U.P. Children’s Museum helps them do that, with training and help to develop their ideas.

Battle Creek Elementary Brings the Community to School

At Prairieview Elementary in Battle Creek, the Developing the Community School Project uses a holistic approach to achieve school success.

Sustainability: The Next Generation

Detroit kids are into transformational change, getting turned on by green living science projects and taking positive ownership of their neighborhoods. 

Dreams Come True and Grades Improve at the Creative Youth Center

Story-writing workshops. Screenwriting workshops. Journalism classes. These are just a taste of what Grand Rapid's Creative Youth Center does to enrich at-risk kids’ lives. 

Dino's: Feeding Fans And School Kids Alike

Dino's restaurant has been a beloved Ferndale fixture for over a decade. When the recession hit, owner Dean 'Dino' Bach started catering to keep his employees working and, unexpectedly, discovered a whole new business opportunity: providing healthy lunches to school kids.

Makerspace culture for kids

The Mt. Elliott Makerspace in Detroit is nothing short of a place for transforming lives and handing kids the tools for determining their own future.

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. 

Happy Holidays from Michigan Nightlight

The Michigan Nightlight team is taking a holiday break to spend time with our families and friends. We’ll be back on January 9, 2013, with more news, information and inspiration about the people, programs and projects that are making a difference in the lives of vulnerable kids. 

Improving college access and completion for Michigan youth

At the national, state, and local level, college access networks are leaving no stone unturned in an effort to increase college-going rates across Michigan and the entire nation. 

Fresh Food Fairy gives fresh perspective to veggies and fruits

You don't have to clap your hands to keep the Fresh Food Fairy alive. Instead, Hether Frayer is doing what she can to make sure Kalamazoo children get it when it comes to fresh food so they can live longer themselves. 

Teaching kids about food from the ground up

Stephanie Reuter has melded her expertise and passion to create Grow. Cook. Learn., her exciting new Lansing business that uses a hands-on approach to teach kids about community, gardening, and cooking.

Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative prepares children for kindergarten and life

When Dr. Nkechy Ezeh was growing up in Nigeria, they didn't have early childhood learning programs. No one knew what children were missing. Now that she lives in the U.S., what baffles her most is that we have early education, but not all children have access.

Educating parents gives children their best shot

The Great Start Plus program is designed to help Kalamazoo County families whose life situations put their preschool children at high risk of school failure. Margaret DeRitter talks to parents who are learning they can be their child's best teacher.

Saginaw youth a FORCE for positive change

A young people's advisory board, part of the Saginaw Community Foundation, is making a difference. That's thanks in large part to a Kellogg grant which challenges the youth in the community to develop their own programs.

WorkZone Helps Youth Get Ready For Employment

Finding work in today's job market is tough enough. For at-risk teens, it can seem impossible. WorkZone, a program created and run by Ozone House in Ypsilanti, helps young adults to develop job-seeking skills and hone them through training and paid internships.

Planting Seeds of Promise

Seeds of Promise, a Grand Rapids nonprofit organization that calls itself an urban community improvement laboratory, has recently received a grant to begin a self-sustaining, community-governance program in the area surrounding Dickinson School. Board President Ron Jimmerson explains their strategy.

Coming out: Undocumented students chase American DREAM

Local activists launched 1Michigan, bringing attention to the challenges of immigrant youth and advocating for the passage of the federal DREAM act. Amy Kuras reports.  

Voces helps Latino youths envision college and careers

The Latino and Hispanic community of Battle Creek has a place it can come together in Voces. Its mission is "many voices, one community" and now young people have a voice, too. Margaret DeRitter talks to Antonio "Tony" Carillo and others about his role in the organization and its role in his life.

Leaning into Change: Carlo Sweeney, Downtown Youth Boxing Gym

When he founded the boxing gym in 2005, Carlo Sweeney wanted to better engage Detroit youth. Mission being accomplished, reports Tunde Wey.

The Journey to Eliminate Racism

Is it possible to end racism? PRFC thinks so. Partners for a Racism-Free Community (PRFC) in Grand Rapids offers an organized and measured program to help individuals and organizations become racism-free.

Farming top-notch school nutrition

Want kids to eat fresh and healthy food? The Farm to School program promotes local food in schools and educates children on healthy eating.

Shelter From The Storm

Amidst the stories of entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity it's sometimes easy to forget that there are those who face profound hardship. For instance, Oakland County, for all its prosperity, must contend with teens who have left or been forced from their homes. Kim North Shine takes a look at the shelters and services that help struggling youth find a place in our community.

The Education Issue

With school just around the corner for many Michigan children, we’re profiling education initiatives across the state and encouraging our Detroit area readers to attend our Innovation in Education panel discussion tonight. 

Summer Jobs: GRCF helps youth find that first job

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, connects nonprofits with youth looking for summer jobs. The result is a win-win, with benefits lasting far beyond the summer.

TC Chamber's Doug Luciani knows the value of Michigan's kids

Traverse City’s Chamber President Doug Luciani walks his talk when it comes to Michigan children and shares his thoughts on how communities and businesses can help.

'Emerging Leaders' program preps young girls for future success

Leadership training, career exploration and goal setting are all part of the Mercy Education Project. Melinda Clynes reports.

Ele's Place: Healing Through Listening

A positive fixture in the Lansing community for over 20 years, Ele’s Place is now nationally recognized for their work in helping countless children heal and cope with grief. In January, the organization received a $25,000 grant from The New York Life Foundation to use toward their efforts in expanding the success of their unique program to new Michigan communities. Whether it’s listening to the needs of a community or those of a grieving child, Ele’s Place is clearly doing something very right.

U.P. summer camp helps disabled children meet their goals

Bay Cliff Health Camp is more than just a summer camp for disabled children; it inspires these children to work toward realistic goals and allows them to be surrounded by other children who accept them for who they are. Lucy Hough learns more about how Bay Cliff helps these children become more independent.

Nutritional values: Rachelle Bonelli and the Gleaners mission

When people think of Gleaners, programs like Kids Helping Kids, Cooking Matters, and No Kid Hungry probably don't come to mind. They will now, says Noelle Lothamer. 

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.

Welcome to Nightlight!

Michigan Nightlight is a new online source of news and inspiration for people who care about kids. Our tag line, illuminating solutions for children, is just what we're doing  through interviewing visionary leaders, spotlighting dynamic work, and profiling amazing projects and programs that impact the lives of vulnerable children in our state. 

GRPS Centers of Innovation: It Takes a Whole Community

Launched in 2007, the Centers of Innovations consists of five schools whose structures have been redesigned to foster public/private partnerships and offer students and their parents more school choices and real-world mentorship.

Carl Kelly & the Grand Rapids Youth Boxing Foundation

Every Wednesday night, approximately 35 children and young adults from the surrounding schools and neighborhoods gather with the staff and volunteers of the MLK Mentoring and Boxing Program to train in the sport. But talk to any member of the staff, and you’ll hear that there is much more to the program than athletics.

All-of-us Express Children's Theatre: Curtain Up on Lansing's Youth

Sure, as an up-to-date person about town, you’re familiar with of the richness of the theatre culture present in the Lansing area. But have you heard about a 23 year old organization that works year-round to help raise the leaders of tomorrow through a truly community theatre experience?  Children, regardless of ‘age, color, creed, gender identity, disability, height, membership in any labor organization, national origin, parental status, political identification, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or weight’, are welcomed with open and supportive arms at All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre. Read on to learn more about the remarkable things happening both on and off the stage.

Baylor-Woodson: Dispelling The Myth that Public Schools Can't Improve

For some critics there is the view that public schools can do no right, especially when it comes to under-served communities. Baylor Woodson in Inkster is evidence to the contrary. In a system hobbled by the recession, school and community leaders turned their struggling elementary school into an award-winning example of achievement, involvement, and innovation.

SPARKS helps students ignite interest in academic success

In the constant search to find better ways to help students achieve their goals, one Regional Education Service District in Clare and Gladwin counties has come up with a program that has shown huge success. Second Wave's Kim North Shine does her homework and files this report.

Three towns. Three citizen philanthropists. All for Detroit

In the first month of Detroit4Detroit, over 50 Detroiters of all types and from around the city and country have stepped forward to make their mark on the city. Meet three of them.

City Kids: Putting a laser focus on high achievement (part II)

Three schools that have three things in common: excellent teaching, strong leadership and high expectations. Amy Kuras takes another deep dive into city education in part II of our series.

Traverse City's Junior Achievement program teaching kids business basics

With the cooperation of school systems and local businesses, the Junior Achievement program in the Traverse City area reaches more than 4,000 kids, teaching them about workforce readiness, personal finance, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

Generation E teaches the next generation how to be their own boss

At age 10, youngsters can start their education in being an entrepreneur. Chris Killian reports on a curriculum called Generation E started in Battle Creek and now offered nationally and internationally that readies young people for the business world.

College Access Network aims to get more students into college

While a future that includes a college education is a given for some high school students, the Marquette-Alger College Access Network is developing an initiative that will encourage all area students to seek education beyond the high school classroom. It's part of a larger statewide plan to help more Michigan students attend, and succeed in, college.

City Kids: Putting a laser focus on high achievement (part I)

How do we get public education in Detroit to the next level? It's happening now, though some of the highest performing schools fly under the radar. Amy Kuras reports that good work is getting done: we just need more of it.

Community of Inclusion: It is about what you can do

Asking children and adults with disabilities what it is they want to do opens new opportunities for them. Writer Chris Killian finds the Arcadia Institute is asking all the right questions that are providing answers for those who want to be included in the community in a greater way.

Refugee Development Center Provides Bridge of Hope for Refugee Children

Lansing’s Refugee Development Center has been helping refugee families find hope and build new lives for more than 10 years. Today, the organization serves hundreds of refugees and has created specialized programs that support and help children making this difficult transition into American life; so they can start anew.

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?

Encouraged to Think, Create, Write

826michigan is well known for its Robot Repair Store and writing center in downtown Ann Arbor (not to mention its fun, offbeat events). But did you also know they tutor and host workshops in Ypsilanti? From fiction to stage plays to poetry, volunteers at their Drop-In Teen Writing Workshop inspire kids to find expression through words.

The beautiful scars of Kinetic Affect bring healing to others

Slam poetry competitors turned business partners, the two men behind Kinetic Affect have found a way to connect with audiences of all kinds through their vulnerability. Zinta Aistars talks to them about their art and business.

Strong Beginnings

There is a shocking racial disparity when it comes to infant mortality rates. Learn about how Strong Beginnings is working to decrease this disparity and dismantle racism in West Michigan.

City kids: The greenhouse effect

Connections are being made in Detroit classrooms between the science curriculum, growing and eating good foods, creating better nutritional habits that lead to healthier lifestyles. Melinda Clynes puts her garden gloves on for this report. 
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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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