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How Motivated Kids and Better Food Access Fit Together

At Sprout Urban Farms in Battle Creek, kids grow produce for a mobile food hub, which transports fresh food to neighborhoods that are lacking.

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.

How to Build an Equitable Food System: Lessons from Battle Creek

Good Food Battle Creek wants to improve access to healthy food by bringing residents, growers, nonprofits, and other concerned folks together to address challenges in the local food system. 

Transforming Neighborhoods and Attitudes

Block By Block, a program of Team 313 youth development organization, is clearing trash-strewn lots and changing people’s minds about littering. However, its biggest success may be the values youth learn while keeping their neighborhoods clean.

Fighting for Better Outcomes in Delray

Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition formed in response to plans for an international bridge development in the Delray neighborhood. Better park maintenance and a safer environment for local kids will help remedy the impact.

The Common Bond of Fatherhood

Grand Rapids’ dads, both new and seasoned, come together for learning and encouragement with the Proud Fathers Program. 

Putting Vacant Housing to Good Use

The 19:1 Campaign in Grand Rapids is all about turning vacant houses into functioning residences for homeless families who need them.

Peggy Roberts

Power of We Consortium coordinator Peggy Roberts works to improve conditions and access to resources for Ingham, Clinton and Eaton County’s most underserved populations – with social justice, equity and sustainability always at the forefront. 

Kayla Mason

Raised in South Central Los Angeles, a low-income community where youth face many challenges to success, Kayla Mason found her voice at the young age of 15 advocating for improvements in schools and in the community. While the path to get here has been laced with many organizing victories, she is mighty fired up about her role as director of YOUTH VOICE, an organization of Detroit youth who tackle political and social issues to create change. Mason has even developed her own trademarked model to help youth become agents of change in their own life and in their community. 

Dan Varner

Few things are as fundamental to a child’s success as a quality education, and Dan Varner, CEO of Excellent Schools Detroit, is committed to making sure all Detroit children attend a school that helps them achieve their dreams and reach their potential. 

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. 

Jeff Sturges

Jeff Sturges came to Detroit with the idea that the damaging effects of poverty and racism can be overcome by handing people tools to create the life they want. He’s done that by founding Mt. Elliot Makerspace, where he emphasizes the need for people to look outside traditional structures to accomplish their goals.

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.

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.

Anji Phillips

Many vulnerable kids and their families need help, and Anji Phillips is dedicated to helping them. As executive director of the Coordinating Council of Calhoun County, Phillips leads with passion and fights for the rights of the underserved, the unseen, and the unrecognized with a team of strong child advocates beside her.

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.

Ponsella Hardaway

MOSES Executive Director Ponsella Hardaway believes in the power of community organizing to change things for the better; not just lip service, but real, honest, open dialogue between people to find common cause. It’s sometimes difficult and uncomfortable, but she says it’s the only way to make real change. 

Kari Pardoe

Kari Pardoe believes that children can accomplish whatever they want and that drive, direction, and leadership can start with service learning. As director of The LEAGUE Michigan, a program for service, service learning, and philanthropy education, Pardoe sees amazing results with youth, who though they have little themselves, find ways to give to back. 

Norman Bent

After two decades as an administrator at Wayne State University, Norman Bent decided to take a year sabbatical. But he wasn’t idle for long. Through his involvement in southwest Detroit’s Latino community, he was soon tapped to lead the Consortium of Hispanic Agencies, and a new career was born.

Jodi Johnson

Young Adult Librarian Jodi Johnson has created a safe and stimulating sanctuary for local kids at Ypsilanti District Library’s Michigan Avenue Branch. It’s built on mutual respect and trust. As the adult guide of the Teen Advisory Group, Johnson sees the at-risk kids who participate taking responsibility and learning from their leadership experience. 

Malik Yakini

In 2006, Malik Yakini organized a meeting of about 40 people to discuss food security issues; at that meeting, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network was born. Yakini recently won a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his work to ensure social justice, food equity, and food security for the people of Detroit.

Danielle Sielatycki

Danielle Sielatycki asserts that large-scale social change happens best with broad cross-sector coordination -- not isolated individual programs. As executive director of Prevention Works, Inc., she leads efforts to educate Kalamazoo area youth on the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and violence.

Deborah Buchholtz

With a passion for business and organizational operations, Deb Buchholtz brings effectiveness, efficiency, and results to Big Brothers Big Sisters, A Community of Caring. Buchholtz puts her unique approach to work improving the operations of the mentoring organization that serves five counties in southwest Michigan.

Denise Fase

Denise Fase recognizes that we often instinctively look at the weaknesses in others. As Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders, Fase makes it her job to fight that impulse and view troubled urban teens as prospective leaders with unique gifts and skills to offer their community. 

Don Hoaglin

Don Hoaglin’s job description calls for more than the average school principal. Community engagement is key to his everyday activities at Prairieview Elementary School, a school that stemmed from the Developing a Community School Project. Through hard work and a proactive approach, he has the involvement of Battle Creek business leaders, service agencies, clergy members and more.

Randy Osmun

Randy Osmun, executive director of The Source in Grand Rapids, is a bridge builder. His organization brings together people in need of jobs with employers in need of services. The results: more stable families and satisfied employers. 

Kari Walker

A vision for better outcomes for at-risk children drives Kari Walker, The Guidance Center’s president and CEO. His Downriver agency is both a catalyst for community change and a haven for local children and families. 

Darel Ross II

Darel Ross II became Co-Executive Director of LINC in 2008, after serving as the board treasurer for LINC for six years. Ross leads LINC’s efforts to revitalize neighborhoods by engaging residents, developing business and housing opportunities, and securing over $42 million in funding in the same neighborhood in which he grew up. 
28 Articles | Page: | Show All
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