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Kids Discover the Power of Pedaling

After losing her car, Angela Stamps discovered a new way to see the world after being given a bike. She has since repaid the favor by showing kids the benefits of cycling in Flint. 

In Pursuit of a Fitter Detroit

Reid Thebault has spent 40 years with the YMCA -- the last 20 in metro Detroit -- and will retire later this year. While he presided over a period of expansion for the Y, he considers his true legacy to be the organization's risk-taking culture.

Lisa Machesky

As executive director of the Baldwin Center in Pontiac, Lisa Machesky sees daily the growing divide between rich and poor. She envisions a future where every child has an equal chance for success, and Baldwin Center’s enrichment and education programs for kids and basic needs assistance for families mean Pontiac children have a better footing for the future.

Dennis Nordmoe

Dennis Nordmoe of Urban Neighborhood Initiatives believes that real change starts small in creating a better environment for a neighborhood, a street, or even a block. Since 1997, he’s worked to empower residents of the Springwells neighborhood to improve their community.

Greg Locke, Jr.

Greg Locke, Jr. leads The First Tee of Battle Creek, introducing hundreds of kids in Battle Creek to golf through summer programs, school involvement, and more. He finds funding for every child who wants to play golf, whether they can pay the program fee or not. A lifelong passion for the game mixed with a strong love of kids is the recipe for Locke’s success.  

David Gamlin

David Gamlin is a leader with a vision. A first-generation college student himself, he strives to ensure that every young person who goes through his Detroit-based program is armed with the knowledge that a support system exists to help with many issues that today’s post-secondary students face.

Denise Nightingale

Denise Nightingale has been running for most of her life. Her two young sons love to run too, but until March, they had no running club. That’s when the at-home mom took it upon herself to launch one at Saginaw’s Handley Elementary School. Her goal was to introduce 25 students to the sport with a Kids Run the Nation Saginaw pilot. A whopping 44 kids signed on and are running their hearts out.

Christopher McCoy

Christopher Jay McCoy, executive director of New Level Sports and senior pastor of Faith Assembly Christian Fellowship Church in Battle Creek, believes that leaders are trailblazers. Through his work, local kids are experiencing healthy relationships through mentoring and finding success in school, while negative cultural stereotypes are lessoned.  

Rick Huisman

Rick Huisman’s winding career path has taken him from professional baseball player with the Kansas City Royals to entrepreneurship with a family business to his current role as executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. He was first introduced to the organization through volunteer work during his time with the Royals.

Carlo Sweeney

In 2005 at the age of 32, Carlo Sweeney used his life savings to start the Downtown Boxing Gym with the aim of helping Detroit kids avoid the pitfalls that befell him as an inner city teen. The program combines the discipline of boxing with a strong focus on academics, community, and family bonds.

Kolmarge Harris

As someone who grew up on the streets of Chicago, Kolmarge Harris knows first hand the challenges urban kids face. After retiring from a 20-year career as a professional boxer, Harris started Lansing Spartans Youth Organization to combine his love for boxing with his desire to mentor at-risk youth in his community.

Ronald K. Nelson

Ronald K. Nelson heads the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids with confidence in the positive social changes the organization promotes. He is committed to offer low-income children healthy nutritional information, physical fitness opportunities, and more -- taking programming on the road and into neighborhoods as needed.     

Carrie Wilson

Carrie Wilson, Council Director for Girls on the Run of Calhoun County, believes one person with one voice can influence the lives of young girls. Wilson says planting the seeds of confidence in vulnerable children does not always yield instant gratification but requires time and dedication to pay off.

Carl Kelly

As executive director of the Grand Rapids Youth Boxing Foundation, Carl Kelly uses boxing to teach leadership and life principles to underprivileged kids. A retired schoolteacher, Kelly now spends his time directing the MLK Boxing and Mentoring Program, influencing the lives of many Grand Rapids young people. 
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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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