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Care, Concern and Consistency Get Youth Back on Track

One Wyoming 1 on 1 uses the power of relationships to keep kids in school and on track. Adult mentors are matched with at-risk kids; early results show great promise.

Supporting Girls in Technology

The Michigan Council of Women in Technology unites technology-minded girls and women of all age groups, inspiring and nurturing their interests and careers. 

2020 Girls: Empowering Future Leaders in Science and Math

The 2020 Girls program develops a passion for STEM studies and careers in young girls in the Lansing area, engaging girls in traditionally male fields of study. 

Hip-Hop: Unifying Detroit Youth

Hip-hop gets a bad reputation, but a look outside the mainstream, at a small but powerful program for Detroit youth, provides a whole different view.

Family-Type Support for Foster Youth

An innovative program, Blue Babies, is reinventing foster care service in Michigan by providing round-the-clock family-type care and letting kids steer programming. Its work has helped create a community of foster care youth and alumni that help one another even after they age out of the system.

Jo Ann Cribbs

Children need positive role models both inside and outside their families says Jo Ann Cribbs, who oversees youth programming for the Urban League of Battle Creek. While educators play a vital, day-to-day part, Cribbs feels strongly that parents are a child’s strongest influence when it comes to education. Cribbs strives to better the lives of local children and involves parents in programming too. 

Leah Kelley

With collaboration and positive social change in the driver’s seat, Leah Kelley of Allen Neighborhood Center in Lansing is motivating youth to think more about their role in creating positive shifts in community health. She leads the center’s Youth Service Corps, which engages community youth in food access projects through hands-on work and learning activities. 

Amanda Good

Concerned about the safety, security, and futures of homeless and vulnerable young women and girls, Amanda Good, CEO of Alternatives For Girls, has been leading efforts in Detroit to provide support, shelter, help, and hope to at-risk youth for a quarter of a century.

Dianne Shaffer

Advocacy Services for Kids is an agency devoted to supporting families and bettering children’s mental health in Kalamazoo County. Its director, Dianne Shaffer, leads with solid faith in teamwork – both within her organization and outside of it, joining with community partners who share the same goals. 

Emilio Zamarripa

As a young man, Emilio Zamarripa helplessly watched two close friends drop out of high school. Good kids. Not the failures or ‘losers’ that society branded them afterward. Quite simply, they had no support systems. Zamarripa, a youth advocate for the Honoring our Youth program at Steepletown Neighborhood Services in Grand Rapids, is occasionally haunted by that memory, but it’s part of what pushed him to realize that no child is lost, ever.

Alice Brinkman

Alice Brinkman, executive director of REACH Studio Art Center in Lansing, approaches her role as a leader with passion. And although leadership doesn’t come as naturally as she would like, Brinkman is determined to confront difficult situations and learn better ways of doing things all in the name of growing a great neighborhood art center.

Sharon Loughridge

As executive director of Grand Rapid’s D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s, the largest child welfare agency in west Michigan, Sharon Loughridge, believes that many of the barriers facing vulnerable children can be torn down by a human hand. D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s 22 programs work to keep families in tact, but when children can no longer stay in their homes it also provides shelter, foster care, and adoption services. 

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.

Kirk Latimer

Kirk Latimer believes healing happens when youth tell the story of their struggles to a live audience. As educational director of Speak it Forward, Inc., based in Kalamazoo, Latimer teaches teens to find and express their voice through the spoken word arts.

Kuhu Saha

A 2008 graduate of the University of Michigan, Kuhu Saha brings all the positivity, energy, and enthusiasm of youth to her job as executive director of Give Merit’s FATE program. Give Merit is the nonprofit arm of clothing company Merit Goodness and receives 20 percent of the brand’s revenues to fund and develop programs such as FATE.
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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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