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My Town: Back-to-school donations needed for Grand Rapids area children

My Town: Back-to-school donations needed for Grand Rapids area children

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—As the back-to-school shopping season nears, a Grand Rapids organization is encouraging community members to pick up an extra backpack or set of supplies for children in need.

D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s is in need of donations for its Backpack & School Supply Drive.  This is the eighth year for the event, which provides classroom necessities for more than 500 children who are recovering from abuse and neglect, or live in poverty.  Approximately 23 percent of children in Kent County live below the poverty line.

D.A. Blodgett- St. John’s will be accepting donations Aug. 11 through Aug. 15 at its Leonard Street and Knapp Street locations.  The donation wish list includes:

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Human Services is teaming up with Grand Valley State University to measure the success of a family support program in more than 150 Michigan schools.

A three-year, $1.05 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will go toward measuring the impact of the Pathways to Potential program in Michigan.  The program places DHS case workers in schools to make it easier for children and their families to address barriers to their safety, health, education, attendance and self-sufficiency.

“We know that many children struggle in school because of outside of school challenges affecting both students and their families,” Gov. Snyder said. “The goal of Pathways to Potential is to reduce or eliminate those challenges by conveniently connecting families to the services they need to help everyone become more successful.”

My Town: Grand Rapids Community College celebrates centennial with '100 Ways to Give'

My Town: Grand Rapids Community College celebrates centennial with '100 Ways to Give'

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids Community College is celebrating its centennial anniversary, but the birthday presents are going to local charities and organizations.

College faculty and staff created the 100 Ways to Give program, which includes service projects throughout the community.

“GRCC cannot properly celebrate 100 years without including the community that has given us our name and our mission,” said President Dr. Steven C. Ender. “West Michigan has made us what we are today, and it is a privilege to share this milestone with organizations and people who do so much good for our area.”

GRCC’s Grants and Resource Development Office launched the first project this month.  They’re trying to collect 100 items for care packages that will go to foster children at the D.A. Blodgett- St. John’s Home.

My Town: Founder of Kids' Food Basket honored with highest award

My Town: Founder of Kids' Food Basket honored with highest award

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—   A Grand Rapids woman who pioneered a program to help feed children in need is earning recognition from the state.

On June 30, Mary K. Hoodhood accepted the Governor George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteerism.  The award is the most prestigious of the Governor’s Service Awards, honoring an individual who has made a lifelong commitment to their community. 

In 1980, a vehicle accident put Hoodhood in a wheelchair, but also started her on a path to volunteering, which began with the Meals on Wheels program at God’s Kitchen.  In 2001, she founded Kids' Food Basket to combat childhood hunger.  The program started by providing evening meals to 125 children at three Grand Rapids public schools; now 5,700 children at 32 schools in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming rely on it, as well as 600 kids at two Muskegon schools.

My Town: School districts look to hire nearly 100 bus drivers

My Town: School districts look to hire nearly 100 bus drivers

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Kent Intermediate School District is looking to add to its team of bus drivers.

Kent ISD will be holding a bus driver job fair July 10, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nearly 100 positions are available, covering nearly a dozen school districts, including:

  • Caledonia Community Schools
  • Cedar Springs Public Schools
  • East Grand Rapids Public Schools
  • Forest Hills Public Schools
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools
  • Grandville Public Schools
  • Kelloggsville Public Schools
  • Lowell Area Schools
  • Sparta Area Schools
  • Wyoming Public Schools
  •  Kent ISD Special Education

 The job fair will take place at the Kent ISD’s Educational Service Center, located at 2930 Knapp NE in Grand Rapids. Candidates must be at least 21, have a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record and pass a drug test and criminal background check.

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

School is out, leaving many children from low-income families without meals during the summer months.

That’s where the Michigan Department of Education’s Summer Food Service program comes in. The program provides nutritious meals to people 18 years of age or younger for free.  All participants need to do is show up.

There are hundreds of participating locations, including places in Walker, Grand Rapids North, Grand Rapids West, Grand Rapids South, Grand Rapids Central, Grandville, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Kentwood, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Montague and Greenville. You can find the full list on the state website here.

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (National Heritage Academies)—Every child will lose a portion of the academic growth they experienced this school year during the summer break; It’s called summer learning loss. The problem is becoming so apparent the National Summer Learning Association has designated Friday, June 20, Summer Learning Day.

“It is so easy for students to slip into a summertime routine that doesn’t involve reading, writing, or using their math skills,” said Ridge Park Charter Academy Principal Emory Wyckoff. “We are challenging our students to set aside time each day to devote to a book or write about a summer experience they have enjoyed. Summer should be fun and educational.”

Wyckoff has some tips to help parents curb the summer slide: