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Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project

Youth in southwest Detroit are spending the summer beautifying their community, earning money, and learning about creative careers as part of Urban Neighborhood Initiatives’ Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project. Young people design murals, decide on locations, manage projects, and lead mural painting teams.

ACT I: Arts Continuum Training

In Living Arts’ Act I drama program for pre-K through third grade students in Detroit, professional teaching artists provide weekly classroom experiences based on teachers’ language arts objectives. In dramatizing and using techniques such as tableau and interviewing, students build their language comprehension. Each session also asks students to comment and reflect on the stories from a “text to self” perspective to promote character and citizenship development.

Visual Arts Council

In keeping with Ann Arbor Neutral Zone’s mission of youth directed programming and leadership, its Visual Arts Council is an advisory board of students, open to teens of any background who want to participate in directing the organization’s arts-related activities. Teens are responsible for planning and organizing events, bringing in artists from the community, and innovating new programming. 

BEE Green: Living Science School Program

Bringing new programming into Detroit schools can be tough on teachers, but the BEE Green: Living Science School Program makes it easy. It aligns with state standards, and can be worked right into lesson plans. Even better, after BEE Green students learn about science and the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), they end up as environmental change agents in their own households and communities. 

STEM Initiative

The STEM Initiative is one of three primary priority areas at the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. The foundation focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), recognizing the importance of high-tech jobs and wanting to ensure that DPS students gain the knowledge and skills during their K-12 education to go on to advanced studies or to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.

KidsFirst Emergency Shelter

As the first stop for every Kent County child that is removed from the home because of abuse or neglect, KidsFirst Emergency Shelter in Grand Rapids knows how to meet the needs of traumatized kids. While children may be angry, sad or anxious, KidsFirst staff is prepared to handle difficult times with the children who will eventually be placed in a more permanent setting, like a foster home or independent living program.

Michigan Good Food

Healthy food means good nourishment, especially “green” cuisine that comes from environmentally sustainable sources. Fair food means nutritious food that everyone can afford. That’s where Michigan Good Food comes in. Centered around the Michigan Good Food Charter, Michigan Good Food is a policy initiative that fosters policy changes to promote healthy, affordable food for all ages, especially at-risk youth.

Life Skills Experience

The First Tee of Battle Creek’s Life Skills Experience is a youth leadership program that teaches young people core values and life skills, like respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and integrity. The sessions, running from May to September, use the game of golf and its inherent values as a way to teach youth perseverance and build self-confidence. 

Follow Through

Follow Through is an extension of The Midnight Golf Program’s 30-week course in college readiness, empowerment and life skills. Conducted at Marygrove College in Detroit, its mentors support families to ensure that students thrive in college and don’t abandon their education in the face of financial challenges, cultural issues or academic concerns. 

Kids Run the Nation Saginaw

In 1986, Road Runners Club of America developed the Kids Run the Nation program to educate young children on the importance of physical activity and good nutrition. Today, elementary schools and other organizations all over the nation use the free, 8-10 week curriculum in their youth running clubs. Thanks to one concerned mother and a strong supportive staff, Saginaw’s Handley Elementary School is one of them. 

Speaking Out Loud (SOuL)

Speaking Out Loud, otherwise known as SOuL, is a nonprofit youth enrichment program that encourages marginalized teens to tell their stories through spoken word art. Youth in the program are literally given a voice in the community by producing performance poetry pieces that engage and transform their audiences.

Youth Arts Program

WMCAT’s Teen Arts Program uses the arts to engage urban teens in making school and career connections. Embracing project-based learning, teen leadership, and civic engagement, the program inspires and moves teens to success in high school and post high school endeavors.

Parent Empowerment Program (PEP)

The nine-month Parent Empowerment Program (PEP) transforms parents’ outlooks and restocks their toolkit. Led by Bob Sornson, Ph.D., a national presenter and author on early childhood issues, the classes are held in Inkster at Starfish Family Services, where a warm staff, a hot breakfast and top-notch childcare create a great environment to learn. 

Vulnerable Youth Project

As the most vulnerable youth in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are struggling in school; lacking readiness for post-secondary academics; and living with environmental stress in a multitude of areas, the Vulnerable Youth Project is tackling their issues head on in effort to improve quality of life and stimulate better outcomes. 


SEEDS, an acronym for Seeking Ecology, Education and Design Solutions, takes a multi-faceted, holistic approach to improving ecological and educational systems in the Grand Traverse area. SEEDS improves and enriches the communities it serves through a diverse array of programming such as after-school cooking clubs, Great Lakes Bioneers, and a Youth Conservation Corps.
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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.


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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