Each year, high school students in Kent County actively participate in Grand Rapids Community Foundation grantmaking by joining the Youth Grant Committee (YGC). Students in this year-long, intensive volunteer activity reviewed 29 grant proposals and recommended 15 for funding. A year of spirited debate, discussion and countless pizzas culminated in a Board of Trustees meeting, where YGC members made grant recommendations totaling $51,750 for youth-focused programs.
Child and Family Resource Council: Resources Against Violent Encounters (RAVE) will use $2,000 to offer relationship violence prevention programs to youth ages 12 to 18 in Kent County.
Children’s Assessment Center: KIDZ Have Rights—Body Safety Program aims to reduce the number of Kent County children who are victims of sexual abuse and increase the number of children who report current and past sexual abuse. They received $5,000 to teach methods of body safety and sexual abuse prevention.
City of Kentwood: Recreation Education through Alternative Choices for a Healthy Life (REACH) received $450 for operations support. REACH offers children recreation and mentoring in a friendly, safe and positive environment.
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum: Summer Banner Project will use $5,000 so inner-city children can create banner art and participate in museum experiences during summer.
Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities: Crossing Cultures Cruzando received $2,000 to sponsor a Summer Arts Camp for children in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood.
Humanity for Africa Inc.: Cross Cultural Afro Youth Program will use $5,000 to reach out to immigrant youth who are at risk of cultural crises, school dropout and delinquent behavior.
Millennium of Agape International Outreach: Inside/Out Youth Prevention & Intervention Program will use $5,000 to reach high risk youth, in part through the Grand Rapids Amateur Athletic Union Summer Basketball Program.
Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church: Young Men’s Activity and Support Program received $2,300 to provide an alternative gathering place for young men who might otherwise engage in gang and drug activity.
New Hope Missionary Baptist Church: New Hope Youth Engaged in Action will use $4,000 to run a Summer Youth Program service project in which youth make picnic tables for the Delaware Manor Elderly Housing Community.
Oakdale Neighbors: Mars-Bros Chess Club plans to use $2,000 to further develop a chess team among at-risk youth in southeast Grand Rapids. Playing chess helps youth improve quantitative reasoning and decision making.
Specialized Language Development Center: Language Links received $4,000 to help low-income first through third grade students who are significantly below grade level in reading, writing and spelling but do not qualify for special education services.
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts: ArtWorks Summer Job Training Program will use $4,000 for neighborhood arts projects. Projects help students develop and improve technical skills, learn about creative-class careers and achieve more. They learn to be leaders, team-based problem solvers and active community volunteers.
VSA Arts of Michigan-Grand Rapids: A Very Special Choir received $5,000 so Kent County students can express themselves creatively through voice, experience diversity and connect socially with peers.
YMCA: Visser Family YMCA Arts & Humanities Programs will use $1,000 for the new program to help youth learn to sing, act, paint and take photos.
Youth Commonwealth: Kaboom Playground received $5,000 to build a playground at Camp O’Malley.