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Enrichment Programs : Bright Ideas

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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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Creative Writing, Tutoring Build Student Confidence

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

Building Community Through Hip Hop

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Bright Ideas

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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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