January 18th, 2007Good news! Our Youth Grant Committee (YGC) is tremendous! Information on this group of dynamic young leaders is found on our website - under the tab for grants and scholarships then go to Youth Grant Committee. Yesterday, members of the YGC held a press conference at West Catholic High School to announce the results of the bi-annual survey they conduct asking teenagers throughout Kent County what they feel are the needs that are top of mind to them. The YGC develop and test the survey, compile the results and the findings are used in their grants decision making process.
The headline regarding the survey results centered on the fact that they had shifted in emphasis from previous years. Essentially, the top issue impacting youth in 2006 according to the more than 1,000 middle and high school students completing the survey last fall is the pressure to succeed and then this issue is followed by topics such as peer pressure, conflicts with parents/teachers, cliques/not "fitting in"and low self-esteem. In previous surveys the top issue was alcohol abuse/drunk driving.
The idea to conduct this media event was the committee's with good guidance from Cris Kooyer our Youth Program Officer and Amanda St. Pierre our PR/Marketing Associate. And the event was a success!
Mark Ayers, a senior from West Catholic High School, was prominently featured on the morning news show on WOOD-TV on January 17th being interviewed twice by Jennifer Moss and Bret Thomas who are the morning show anchors. I was extremely proud of him and then later on with the way that the press conference was handled. Jesus DelaCruz was the emcee for the event, Emily Vanden Berg and Mark Ayers presented the survey results. A panel comprised of Ryan Ritzema, Margaret Kennedy, Emily Nowicki, and Aqueelah Seifullah answered questions from the media and other school officials.
Good news! Wendy Lewis Jackson, the Program Director of the Grand Rapids Education Reform Initiative (funded by Steelcase, Frey and Grand Rapids Community Foundations) and a prominent community leader, is receiving a Giants award on Saturday, January 27th! This is a huge honor and the Giants Banquet and Awards ceremony is hosted annually by Grand Rapids Community College and a number of African-American organizations. The award that Wendy is receiving is the Phyllis Scott Activist Award. As is found on the GRCC website, the event was initiated in 1983 by GRCC's Continuing Education Office and the African-American community. "Each Giants award is named for an individual who pioneered change that fostered the inclusion of African Americans into some of the walks of life that were previously excluded in Grand Rapids." Congratulations to Wendy!