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Starr Suspension Center

Calhoun County children who have been suspended or expelled from school have the potential to move forward emotionally and academically at the Suspension Center of Starr Commonwealth Battle Creek. The center promotes academics, positive behavioral change, and personal enrichment for students -- and is helping kids successfully integrate back into school when they return. 

Kalamazoo Kids in Tune

Kids in Tune is an after-school orchestra immersion program held at Kalamazoo’s Woods Lake Elementary School for first through fifth graders who are struggling in school. While learning to play musical instruments is the primary focus, students also receive academic help. Kids in Tune is a dynamic collaboration of Kalamazoo Public Schools, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo.

High School Accelerator

Michigan Future, Inc.’s High School Accelerator plans to open 35 open enrollment, high-performing high schools in Detroit and nearby suburbs by 2017. It hopes for a trickle up affect: 85 percent of students graduate high school, 85 percent of high school graduates attend college, and 85 percent of college students earn a college degree. 

Mt. Elliot Makerspace

The Mt. Elliott Makerspace in Detroit is a community resource for children, teens and adults to learn about anything from computers to electronics to building bikes. The idea is that people will actively educate themselves and each other about how to accomplish their projects and develop skills to improve their lives. 

Family Reading and Science Program

Each year, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History brings a unique collection of children’s workshops to libraries in southeast Michigan with its Family Reading and Science Program. Content changes from year to year; this year, in fun, kid-friendly settings, children learned to prepare, enjoy and understand foods from around the globe; to appreciate the likenesses and differences between races; and to recognize the inspirations that drive the universal language of music.

Baldwin Family Soup Kitchen

A welcome, dependable place for a hot meal in Pontiac, the Baldwin Family Soup Kitchen never turns away anyone seeking a meal. Volunteers and those needing meals connect, and both are satiated in more ways than one. 

Sack Suppers

Kids' Food Basket is devoted to alleviating childhood hunger in greater Grand Rapids, and now in Muskegon. Its Sack Suppers program, where take-home meals are distributed in classrooms to ensure that each child has a nutritious evening meal, reaches low-income students in 35 schools. 

Hope Center in Macomb

Supported by churches from across Macomb County and serving residents of Macomb County, Hope Center is a client choice food pantry and a one-stop shop of 17 human service programs. Client choice pantries allow patrons to select food items their families want and need, much like grocery store, reducing waste and making the process of acquiring emergency food a more dignified experience. 

Girls' Tutoring Program

From its hub in southwest Detroit, the Girls' Tutoring Program at Mercy Education Project (MEP) helps girls learn basic academic skills they may have missed in school through one on one tutoring. Once those fundamentals are mastered, student performance improves – and many tutoring program grads go on to college. 

Prosperity Coalition

Michigan League’s new Prosperity Coalition will serve as a catalyst and convener, bringing together leaders to influence policies that promote greater prosperity for all people in Michigan – including children. The coalition will hone messages and coordinate advocacy, working toward making economic security and racial equity a reality in our state.

Ready for School

Ready for School is a Holland, Zealand and Hamilton community initiative insuring that all children come to kindergarten prepared to succeed.

Teen Open Studio

REACH Studio Arts Center has a number of arts programs for Lansing children. At its free Teen Open Studio, young adults cultivate an appreciation for developing partnerships and building community through creative art expression. 

Design Thinking

Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies, a middle and high school, wants to equip young people with skills to become critical thinkers and innovators and find success in college and careers. Students use Design Thinking, a structured way of innovating that involves identifying roles, techniques, environments, and tools to address problems using human-centered design, learning by doing, and collaboration. When integrated with core curriculum, Design Thinking makes creativity and innovation an integral part of learning at this Detroit public school academy. 

School Residency Program

The School Residency Program of InsideOut Literary Arts Project puts practicing, professional writers in 30 Detroit schools to work with students on creative writing. At the end of the year-long residencies, students are hooked on the power and pleasure of writing and are rewarded by becoming published authors themselves. 

Press Club

Youth in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood of Grand Rapids are digging the Press Club, a program of the Creative Youth Center and Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities. Here, young reporters go on field trips, conduct interviews, and even get published. The program encourages youth to find, develop, and share their voices and improve writing skills as they report on their experiences at events and cultural activities in west Michigan. 
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Bright Ideas


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.


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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