Features

Longform Teacher helping child at NEST Child Care and Parent Institute in Detroit

PreK For All Roadmap takes a holistic approach to rolling out PreK For All

The Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) has released the PreK for All Roadmap plan with recommendations on how the state can achieve universal pre-K for all 4-year-olds in Michigan.

Longform Teacher helping child at NEST Child Care and Parent Institute in Detroit

La Hoja de Ruta de PreK Para Todos adopta un enfoque holístico para el despliegue de PreK Para Todos

En enero de 2023, la gobernadora Gretchen Whitmer anunció su plan PreK para Todos, que proporcionaría acceso a la educación preescolar gratuita a todos los niños de cuatro años de Michigan para 2027. En febrero de 2024, el Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) publicó el plan de la Hoja de Ruta con recomendaciones

Longform John Fuse, Community Health Worker with the Berrien County Health Department, stands outside the department’s building in Benton Harbor.

Community Health Workers: Michigan's public health messengers

Community health workers perform essential roles in delivering physical and mental health care and increasing health care access for Michigan residents. 

Feature Story Amber Desgranges and Rachel Ruddock of the Michigan Primary Care Association.

New initiative offers Michigan nursing students opportunity to build careers in underserved areas

The Michigan Primary Care Association is collaborating with nine of Michigan’s state universities to provide nursing students with opportunities to train in Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics.

Feature Story Small-Jae-Gerhart

How local healthcare systems leverage local farms for healthy food options

Medical institutions around Michigan are using their local resources to bring real food to their staff and patients.

Feature Story SmallStarbucks

How a GR firm played a role in first fully accessible Starbucks store

The new D.C. store is serving as a model for all new and renovated Starbucks company-operated locations in the U.S. Grand Rapids-based Progressive Companies helped develop the framework used to create the inclusive design guidelines for the store.

Longform Family & Fatherhood Services Hub

Battle Creek's Fatherhood & Family Services Hub supports fathers to nurture their children

“I remember when my son was born. . .I’d often talk about it with my mom and friends and I’d tell him that I didn’t understand how someone could have a child and not be there for them. Every dad is their kid's superhero.”

Feature Story Potato Project

The Potato Project: Building a stronger, more sustainable food-to-school system

Getting fresh fruits and vegetables on the plates of school children has had a few food system obstacles. Enter KVCC ValleyHub's partnership in an innovative 'Potato Project' to increase farm-to-school options. A win-win for farmers and families.

Feature Story Bearcat Advantage

Battle Creek Public School's Bearcat Advantage expands to include Michigan's private institutions

“This really helps the child guide their education in a way they couldn’t before. They can choose the program that best suits what they’re looking for versus what they can afford."

Feature Story Hobbit Hole Gallery

Hidden enchantment: The Hobbit Hole Gallery in downtown Kalamazoo

The Hobbit Hole Gallery in the Kalamazoo Mall’s Devisser Alley transforms a quaint space into one man’s haven for artistic expression.    

Feature Story South Westnedge Construction

Small businesses in Kalamazoo navigate South Westnedge construction

When it comes to supporting small businesses in Kalamazoo disrupted by street and water line repairs, it is up to residents to take the detours.

Longform Christine Sauvé.

New state law will help ensure health care access for non-English-speaking Michiganders

Michigan's new Statewide Meaningful Language Access Coordination Act will require public services to be more accessible to non-English speakers. 

Longform Kelsey Lehman and Autumn Carson

Podcast a "not-so-clinical approach to conversations surrounding all things mental health."

Podcast hosted by three friends covers a range of topics like finding a therapist, tips for loved ones, and misconceptions and stigmas surrounding medications. 

Feature Story Robert Sheehan, executive director of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan

Proposed licensure changes aim to ease Michigan's social worker shortage

Mental health and social work advocates are pushing for legislative change to shift Michigan's social worker licensing process from a test-based approach to a practice-driven alternative that has proven successful in other states.

Feature Story Roel Garcia is an adjunct professor at Grand Rapids Community College as well as an English as a second language instructor at Zeeland Adult Education.

How a teacher regained his independence after losing his sight

Roel Garcia shares how the loss of most of his sight in high school turned his world upside down before he figured out how to adapt to his disability. He graduated from college, became a journalist, and now is a teacher. 

Feature Story small-jocelyn

Author to keynote West Michigan Disability Awareness Day celebration

Author and advocate Jocelyn Dettloff will speak about disability and mental health, the theme of the Disability Awareness Day event on March 22. 

Longform First Presbyterian

What's behind the big red doors? Sanctuary in the city

Kalamazoo's First Presbyterian Church borders Bronson Park and its weekly Red Door Dinners provide homecooked meals and hospitality for the unhoused and others in need. “Our congregation seeks to live faith as a sanctuary in the city, with the city, for the city, and others far beyond." This story is part of our Faith in Action series, sponsored by the Fetzer Institute.

Feature Story R.I.S.E.

Community Centers in Battle Creek awarded $1.5 million in State funding

Three community centers in Battle Creek were awarded over $1.5 million of State funding to "ensure that more than 100,000 Michiganders already living in poverty have access to better food and living conditions, transportation, and childcare opportunities."

Feature Story Maya James

What is a social practice artist? Kalamazoo's Maya James, a movement pioneer, explains

Meet Southwest Michigan Second Wave's newest writer and artist, Maya James, Art Prize Vanguard winner and trailblazer who has been following her own unique path only to discover there is a name for what she does — social practice art. And she may well be a 'mother of a movement' that she invites you to join.

Feature Story Rain barrel

April showers bring rain barrels to catch them in Battle Creek

Saving April showers for drier months is easy with a rain barrel, which both helps conserve water and capture storm runoff. In April, the City of Battle Creek is selling rain barrels and composting containers to help reduce environmental impact.

Battle Creek

Laundry Love: Finding community and dignity at a Battle Creek laundromat

St. Thomas' Laundry Love is focused on those who are “struggling to make ends meet,” says Deacon Trish Harris. “There are people who have asked me, ‘How do you know if I meet the qualifications?’ We have no qualifications. We want them to know that we see you as an important person and we’re coming to you with love." For the full story, click hereFor more stories, please visit here.
 

Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo's Sarkozy Bakery: Old world baking in an ever-changing world

"We had a liter bottle of Hungarian wine. As we were finishing the bread, and finishing the wine, we said, 'Man, this (bread) is good! You know, we could sell this!' And that's why you shouldn't drink too much." Read the full story here. Read more stories here.