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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: 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:

My Town: Metro High School Police Academy welcomes 40 students

My Town: Metro High School Police Academy welcomes 40 students

WYOMING, Mich.—While school is out for most districts this summer, another academy is starting up classes this week.

Public safety and police departments from Wyoming, Kentwood, Grandville, Walker, Rockford, East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University are teaming up for the 19th annual Metro High School Police Academy.  The Michigan State Police Rockford post and Kent County Sheriff’s Department are also participating in the academy, which runs now through June 20 at Grandville High School. 

Approximately 40 area high school students are taking part in this year’s training program, which will give them a snapshot of what a real police academy would be comprised of- patrol operations, criminal investigations, community policing and physical training.  A graduation ceremony will take place at Grandville High School beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.

My Town: Construction on an upswing in Plainfield Township

My Town: Construction on an upswing in Plainfield Township

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Hammers and saws are busy once again in Plainfield Township, as home and business construction picks up with the improving economy.

“Plats of land that have been on hold for years are coming back to life this spring,” said Bill Fischer, community development director for Plainfield Township.  “Many of these plats already have the infrastructure built; subdivisions that have roads and utilities, water and sewer.  And now, finally, the builders are feeling confident in the market and moving forward with construction.”

From Jan. 1 through the month of April, construction crews worked on homes and businesses in the township totaling more than $5.5 million in value.  Fischer says the long winter delayed many building permit applications until late April, so that investment only reflected a few weeks of investments.

My Town: Kent County campaign spreads the word about free preschool

My Town: Kent County campaign spreads the word about free preschool
------------------------NEWS RELEASE---------------GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (First Steps Kent) – A collaborative team of parents, educators and advocates in Kent County launches a coordinated spring-summer marketing campaign for state-funded free preschool this week. Designed with bright colors, bold graphics, and adorable children, the materials focus on the benefit of preschool for little ones throughout the county. Campaign posters, flyers and yard signs will be shared by schools, preschools, doctors’ offices, salons, grocery stores and more—essentially, any organization serving parents of preschoolers. “We don’t have buckets of money for a big advertising push, so we are taking it to the streets with our amazing network of parent volunteers, community advocates, and grassroots activists,” said Judy Freeman, director of Great Start Collaborative for Kent County.

My Town: Local representative honored as Afterschool Champion

My Town: Local representative honored as Afterschool Champion

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A lawmaker from West Michigan is being honored for championing support for afterschool programs and the children who participate in them.

Rep. Peter MacGregor and Rep. Rashida Tlaib were recently honored as Afterschool Champions during a “Breakfast of Champions” by the Afterschool Alliance in Washington, D.C.  Both state representatives worked together last year to generate bi-partisan support to restore critical afterschool funding in the Department of Human Services budget.  MacGregor and Tlaib were also instrumental in securing funding for a summer learning loss study by Michigan State University researchers.

MacGregor represents East Grand Rapids and the townships of Cannon, Courtland, Nelson, Oakfield, Plainfield, Spencer and Grand Rapids.