Category Archives: Non-Profits

Cat of the Week: Cilantro

By Sharon Wylie, Crash’s Landing


Each week WKTV features an adoptable pet — or few — from an area shelter. This week’s beauty is from Crash’s Landing. Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary rescue organizations were founded by Jennifer Denyes, DVM (Dr. Jen), who is on staff at Clyde Park Veterinary Clinic (4245 Clyde Park Ave SW).


In honor of Cinco de Mayo 2017, Dr. Jen opted to give all of the ‘newbies’ for the month names of Hispanic origin; we had already had a Cinco (and Dr. Jen is saving Mayo for a white kitty). So, here’s a little bit about Cilantro, one of May’s magnifico kiddos that became a Crash Cat.


Super cute Cilantro is a fun and fabulous fella born in early 2015 who was fortunate enough to cross paths with one of our volunteers. As part of her TNR efforts on the south side of town, the volunteer comes across MANY a cat in need, but thankfully Cilantro was pretty darn healthy, just homeless.


He initially had a difficult time adjusting to shelter life as he didn’t take too kindly to others invading his personal space, but over time he has gotten used to their company. However, we are sure he wouldn’t mind being in a single cat house as long as it is a VERY busy one, probably with a rambunctious kid or two! He can’t wait to chum around with a human that is as energetic and adventurous as he is.


Want to adopt Cilantro? Learn about the adoption process here. Fill out a pre-adoption form here.

Interested in volunteering at one of the cat shelters? Email volunteer@crashslanding.org.


Can’t adopt, but still want to help? Find out how you can sponsor a cat!


Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary have a common mission: To take at-risk stray cats off the streets of the Greater Grand Rapids area, provide them with veterinary care and house them in free-roaming, no-kill facilities until dedicated, loving, permanent homes can be found.

 

Caregivers Corner: Empowering Seniors with Technology

File photo

By Regina Salmi and Kendrick Heinlein, Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan

 

The use of smartphones, tablets and computers has become firmly integrated into our daily lives. Even the most resistant adopters of electronic devices in their daily lives often find themselves on the way to their local library or a family member’s house in order to ‘get online’ to complete an important task. Fast-moving technologies can make once simple tasks like banking or ordering from a catalog difficult for those who have not stayed up to date with changes.

 

While in many ways it can seem like technology has overtaken our lives, it has brought us many opportunities we previously didn’t have. Being able to place a video call to grandchildren who may live miles and miles away from us, or to consult with a physician and get help without an appointment, enriches our everyday experience. Using electronic devices can also empower us, increase our independence and safety, and reduce isolation by connecting us to our communities.

 

In May, the Pew Research Center (2017), released results on a study of the use of technology by older adults and the results indicated a significant increase of electronic devices in the few years. Since 2011, the use of smartphones among older adults increased 35%. Today 4 in 10 adults age 65+ own a smart phone. There were similar increases in tablet use. One third of seniors own a tablet, like an iPad, which is a 19% increase from 2010. These results indicate that older adults are just as connected as other age groups, yet for many older adults, their devices seem more a hindrance than a help in their daily lives.

 

While 75% of older adults surveyed in the Center’s study are online several times a day, only 26% of those same adults feel confident in their use of electronic devices. There are several factors that contribute to this experience, but one of the main ones is the feeling of disorientation that older adults sometimes experience when they first get a smartphone, tablet or computer. Well-meaning family members, may get a device for a family member, set it up for them with passwords and security questions they don’t share with the new owner, and then become impatient with them when the device isn’t working properly.

 

Seniors will often limit themselves to only using features of their devices that they are certain they know how to operate, like making a phone call or playing a favorite game, missing out on a world of functions and apps that can actually enhance their lives and help them continue to be independent.

 

There are many organizations working to help seniors become more comfortable and proficient on using electronic devices throughout the nation. Public libraries are a great resource for seniors to learn the basics about how to use computers and even tablets and smartphones. Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) is developing a class to teach seniors how to use their devices, and show them specific applications available that can support their independence and connection to their communities. We’ll also teach seniors how to protect themselves from scams while on the internet.


On Tuesday, August 22nd from 1-3 pm as part of Family Caregiver University, AAAWM will be introducing our new technology class. On this day, participants will learn the best ways to integrate new technology into the lives of older adults, some of the assistive technologies built into many devices, review apps that can help caregivers manage their lives, as well as give a preview of an upcoming course designed specifically to help seniors use mobile devices like a smartphone or tablet. The class will take place at Area Agency on Aging located at 3215 Eaglecrest Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525.


For a full list of Family Caregiver University classes provided by the Caregiver Resource Network, please call 888.456.5664 or go here.


Caregiver’s Corner is provided as a public service of the Caregiver Resource Network. The Caregiver Resource Network is a collaboration of West Michigan organizations dedicated to providing for the needs and welfare of family and professional caregivers within the community. Funded by the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan with Older American’s Act Title IIIE, Family Caregiver Support funds.

Alternatives in Motion enhances independence through access to mobility equipment

 

By Alternatives in Motion and C. Davis

 

Being disabled is tough enough, but imagine not having access to mobility equipment to get around. Thankfully, there’s a nonprofit that helps people who can’t afford or fall through the cracks of health insurance.

 

Alternatives in Motion enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing independence through access to mobility equipment.

 

The nonprofit’s vision is to be the central hub in West Michigan for recycling, distributing, and maintaining mobility devices for those in need. Alternatives in Motion had its beginnings in 1993, after the brother-in-law of founder George Ranville, a Grand Rapids native, got into a tragic accident. As Ranville struggled to help his brother-in-law attain proper — but expensive — equipment, he saw an opportunity to help the disabled community.

 

The new nonprofit began raising money and making its cause known, believing that access to mobility equipment is the path to independence for those in need. Since then, Alternatives in Motion, which remains entirely funded by independent donations, has continued to grow and strives to keep up with the need for mobility equipment.

 

The organization’s mission is to provide wheelchairs to individuals who do not qualify for other assistance and who could not obtain such equipment without financial aid. By creating access to mobility equipment and repair services for those in need, Alternatives in Motion gives them the independence and quality of life they deserve.

 

If you or someone you know needs mobility equipment, apply here. (You must live in West Michigan to qualify.) For more information go to the website or call 616.493.2620.

 

Homeless Youth program helps when no one else is there

File photo

By Arbor Circle

 

For some people, being resilient is a way of life. As early as five years old, one Arbor Circle Homeless Youth client was removed from her mother who was selling drugs. During the course of multiple foster home placements and other times when she was physically and sexually abused, she was separated from her siblings and left completely on her own.

 

She dropped out of school in the 9th grade and ran away — again — staying with friends and other family members for short periods of time. She lived this way for years.

 

She then began prostituting herself with landlords for places to stay. When she came to Arbor Circle to see about the Homeless Youth program, she had just been told to leave a shelter home.

 

The Bridge of Arbor Circle is a safe shelter program for youth who are facing homelessness or considering running away. In the middle of crisis, The Bridge offers youth a stable and accessible place to stay. Along with a variety of supportive programs,it helps them connect with peers, learn new skills, and find resources to reconnect with their families, schools and community.

How it works

The Bridge provides crisis shelter, counseling, case management, group support, youth activities and connections to other needed services, The Bridge assists youth with meeting their basic needs, setting goals, building new life skills, and establishing connections with peers and mentors who can support them. Services include:

  • Shelter services available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for up to 21 days
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Intake/Assessment
  • Counseling
  • Case management
  • Placement
  • Community education and prevention services
  • Service learning opportunities for civic engagement

Eligibility

The Bridge services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year to youth in need of safe shelter and supportive services due to issues such as safety, runaway/homelessness, and/or disconnection from family, school or community. Services are available for:

  • Youth between the ages of 10-17, both Male and Female
  • Youth staying/residing in the Counties of Kent, Ottawa, Montcalm, and Ionia
  • Youth/families in crisis can call or walk in anytime
  • Services are free

Are you or is a youth you know homeless or considering running away? The Bridge can help. Call toll-free 1.877.275.7792 or call 616.451.3001.

 

Arbor Circle’s main campus is located at 1115 Ball Ave. NE in Grand Rapids. Phone 616.456.6571 for more information. The Bridge 24-hour Hotline is: 616.451.3001.

Baby animals are adorable — but leave ’em alone, OK?

A possum family

By Blandford Nature Center and Victoria Mullen

 

Aw, isn’t that baby animal just adorable? Maybe you’re tempted to scoop him up and turn him into a pet — after all, he must be starving, because mom isn’t around, right?

 

Not necessarily. In fact, if you intervene, you could make things a lot worse.

Baby mammals

Mammal babies are usually born naked with their eyes shut and require a lot of care from their parents. People are often tempted to take in mammal babies and try to raise the babies themselves. This is a bad idea. Not only is it illegal to do so without the proper permits, but it is dangerous for the animal and yourself for multiple reasons:

 

Misfeeding or Dietary troubles

People will try to feed mammal babies, and they will often end up having the babies choke to death on the food. Many people are under the misguided impression that since it is a baby animal, they should get milk from the store and feed that to it; however, only humans and cows can digest cows’ milk! Baby animals are lactose intolerant, which means that drinking milk will cause diarrhea, which may result in death (due to dehydration and lack of nutrition).

 

Mammals can carry a variety of diseases.

For example, raccoons can carry distemper, rabies, and a roundworm parasite that can be transmitted to other mammals, including humans. The parasite finds its way into the body and can burrow into the brain.

 

Squirrel siblings

Another problem is that of imprinting.

People who don’t know how to properly rehabilitate animals will end up with imprinted babies — even skilled rehabbers can have problems with imprinting babies. So, when the cute baby mammal turns into a mean adult mammal, and you try to release it, it can come right back and not be afraid of you, other humans, or people’s dogs and cats. Imprinting makes it easier for these animals to be hunted or injured, and there have been attacks on people by imprinted animals, particularly children.

About bunnies

Baby rabbits are often found in backyards. Rabbits will make nests in shallow depressions in the ground, in grassy areas. These areas are often near edges of forest, by fences, and under shrubs. Before you mow the lawn or rototill your garden, you should check the area for rabbit nests, and if you find one, just work around it and wait a few weeks; the babies will be ready to leave and get out of your way.

 

Bunnies are born with their eyes closed and no fur. Their ears are close to their head. Bunnies are on their own when they are around 5 inches long and furry, with their eyes open and ears up. They may still hang out with each other near the nest for awhile before going their separate ways. You don’t want to bring these older bunnies to a wildlife rehabber, since they don’t need help, and bunnies tend to become stressed out very easily and could die from just the transport to a rehab center. It’s a good idea to make sure they need help before trying to help them, or you could do more harm than good.

 

Baby bunnies

If you find a nest with bunnies inside that are too young to be on their own, unless they look injured, leave them alone. The mother will come back, but not until dusk and dawn. So, you won’t see her coming back to the nest. If you’re worried that the mother isn’t coming back to the nest, put flour around the nest and place some twigs in an X formation over the nest, and check back the next morning. If the flour and/or twigs have been disturbed, the mother hasn’t abandoned her babies. If you happen to touch one of the babies, just put it back and gently touch the others so they all smell the same. The mother will still accept them, just make sure you don’t handle them much.

 

It is not a good idea to move a rabbit nest, but if you can’t wait a week or two for them to leave, or if you have already disturbed the nest, you can try to move it. You should move it to an area as close as possible to the original location, in an area that has some longish grass, possibly under a shrub. Put the fur that was in the old nest in the new one, and cover the bunnies with dry grass. Again wait till the morning to see if the nest was visited by the mother, using flour and twigs.

 

For info on other baby animals, go here.

 

 

GVSU to host cyber security groups real-time hacking contest

Cyber security will be at the heart of a program at Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus next week.

By West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium

 

Much of today’s news seems to include a cybersecurity twist, but how do companies prepare for cyber incidents? They exercise or practice, as the West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium will at Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus’s DeVos Center in Grand Rapids.

 

The 5th annual WMCSC Cybersecurity Exercise will take place Friday, July 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (followed by a Networking reception from 5:30-8 p.m.), at the DeVos Center, 401 Fulton St. W.

 

The cybersecurity event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and interested attendees should reserve their space by Friday, July 14, by visiting wmcybersecurity@kentcountymi.gov

 

The day-long exercise will include Purple Teams — typically, cybersecurity teams are Red (offense) or Blue (defense); working together, they are Purple teams. The exercise will use the Michigan Cyber Range’s “Alphaville” virtual devices.

 

Alphaville, developed by Merit Network in Ann Arbor, is a collection of virtual machines simulating information systems that are networked together and assigned varying security levels modeled on how real towns across the country are configured.  It exists as part of the Michigan Cyber Range, a secure test bed designed to enable cybersecurity attacks and defense methods in a realistic environment without impacting production network traffic.

 

At the July 14 exercise, nine Purple teams will be challenged to capture, secure and defend email servers, web servers, and file systems, using security and hacking tools comparable to the systems found in most businesses today. They will compete against each other hoping to be crowned the winners for “owning” the most systems for the longest time.

 

The West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium is a multi-jurisdictional, public/private partnership whose purpose is to enhance the prevention, protection, response, and recovery to cybersecurity threats, disruptions and degradation to critical information technology functions. Its membership includes individuals from government, healthcare, law enforcement and private businesses. The group meets quarterly to share information around cybersecurity issues.

 

The Michigan Cyber Range prepares cybersecurity professionals to detect, prevent and mitigate cyberattacks in a real-world setting. Like a test track or a firing range, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to conduct “live fire” exercises: simulations that test the detection and reaction skills of participants in a variety of situations. The Michigan Cyber Range also offers certification courses for a number of cybersecurity disciplines, with instruction available on-site and live online. A full training schedule may be found at the Merit Michigan Cyber Range web site at merit.edu/cyberrange/
The Michigan Cyber Range is hosted and facilitated by Merit Network in partnership with the State of Michigan and with the sponsorship of Consumers Energy and DTE Energy.

 

Merit Network, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance.

 

Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions and professional development to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations. For more information visit merit.edu/

 

Cats of the Week: Goldie and Buzz

Meet Buzz! Could he be any cuter? We think not.

By Sharon Wylie, Crash’s Landing


Each week WKTV features an adoptable pet — or few –from an area shelter. This week’s beauties are from Crash’s Landing. Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary rescue organizations were founded by Jennifer Denyes, DVM (Dr. Jen), who is on staff at Clyde Park Veterinary Clinic (4245 Clyde Park Ave SW).


Beyond-beautiful Buzz (born in April of 2005) and drop-dead gorgeous Goldie (born in April of 2004) were former Crash Cats known as ‘M-n-M’ and ‘Horatio’ back in the day. Both boys were so social and adorable that it was no surprise to any of us that they got adopted (and together) not too long after they were put on Petfinder.


The dashing duo resided harmoniously with a retired gentleman for the better part of nine years, but when their proud papa passed away in 2016, the boys were relocated to a relative’s house. Unfortunately, the relative’s two feline residents didn’t take kindly to the additional company, so he contacted us in early April of 2017, asking if we would be willing to open our doors to them once again; we jumped at the opportunity without hesitation.


We hadn’t seen the guys in years, so the first order of business was to get them out to the clinic for wellness exams, re-testing, vaccines, lab work and dental cleanings. Buzz needed a few teeth extracted and some minor grooming (as the fur on his undercarriage tends to mat and clump, since it is soft as down) but other than that, he was good (no, great) to go!


Goldie fared a little bit worse, as Dr. Jen discovered the reason he had been over-grooming his belly prior to his arrival was that he suffers from an inflammatory condition of his bladder known as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis; Dr. Jen suspects the stress of his owner’s death and upheaval from the move exacerbated this underlying condition that can wax and wane.


In order to control this extremely common affliction, Goldie was put on daily canned food and oral anti-inflammatory medication. He was also started on monthly injections of a drug that helps protect the cartilage in his joints, as Dr. Jen had diagnosed him with a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee back in 2014. Now he simply glides around our place with grace and ease, as comfy as they come; since both medications are very inexpensive, we don’t feel that either condition is a deterrent to adoption. For an old guy, Goldie does pretty darn well for himself!


Meet gorgeous Goldie!

We were a bit concerned as to how the pair would fare, not having lived at Crash’s for over 10 years, but we needn’t have given it a second thought, as they settled in so seamlessly and quickly that you would have thought they never left! Both are VERY nice boys who seek out any attention they can get; if you stand still for more than a few seconds, Buzz will jump onto your shoulders or try to climb you like a tree, and Goldie follows the volunteers around asking for belly rubs constantly. They aren’t particularly bonded, so they do not have to go into a home together, though Goldie would do best in a place without small kids, as he likes to nip a bit when you touch his hindquarters.


Overall, each fab cat couldn’t be sweeter; both are excellent choices for companions! Take it from us when we say that seniors make THE BEST PETS, as they seem to be sincerely appreciative for another chance at a life surrounded by creature comforts and people to adore and share their time with!

More about Buzz:

  • House trained
  • Spayed/Neutered
  • Declawed
  • Current on vaccinations
  • Coat Length: Medium
More about Goldie:
  • House trained
  • Spayed/Neutered
  • Declawed
  • Current on vaccinations
  • Special needs
  • Coat Length: Short
Want to adopt Buzz or Goldie — or both? Learn about the adoption process here. Fill out a pre-adoption form here.

Interested in volunteering at one of the cat shelters? Email volunteer@crashslanding.org.


Can’t adopt, but still want to help? Find out how you can sponsor a cat!


Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary have a common mission: To take at-risk stray cats off the streets of the Greater Grand Rapids area, provide them with veterinary care and house them in free-roaming, no-kill facilities until dedicated, loving, permanent homes can be found.

Your Community in Action: Expanding affordable housing opportunities

By ACSET Community Action Agency


Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) recently announced that they signed an agreement to purchase nearly 200 homes in Grand Rapids and Lansing from a Chicago developer. ICCF will work with other affordable housing advocates to make sure these homes remain affordable for individuals and families with limited incomes.


While Kent County—and Grand Rapids, in particular—is seeing tremendous population and economic growth, it is creating a housing shortage that is driving up the cost to buy or rent a place to live. In many cases, people who have lived in neighborhoods for decades can no longer afford to live there.


There are several agencies in Kent County that are working to ensure that all residents have access to affordable housing and thriving communities. When the broad community is engaged in addressing the urgent need for adequate, affordable housing, we all become less vulnerable and more resilient:


Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build or rehabilitate affordable homes.


Kent County Land Bank Authority works with local governments and nonprofits to revitalize and stabilize communities.


Kent County Housing Commission provides rental assistance to families on extremely low incomes through a voucher system. They also educate property owners and the community on the need for affordable housing.


LINC Up links community organizations with real estate developers to “help neighbors, business owners, and community stakeholders realize their visions for the community.”


Your Community in Action! is provided by ASCET Community Action Agency. To learn more about how they help meet emergency needs and assist with areas of self-sufficiency, visit www.communityactionkent.org.

Employment Expertise: Choosing strong references

 

By West Michigan Works!

 


Personal references bring your resume to life through stories. Most hiring managers call references after the interview, so make sure to prepare your references during your job search. Use these 4 P’s as a guide to choosing strong references:


Prepare
Double-check the contact information for your references your interview. You wouldn’t want the hiring manager to call a disconnected phone number. Outdated contact information also shows the employer you haven’t kept in touch with that person.


Professional
Keep your references professional. Don’t use friends or family members (even if your dad is your boss). Choose references who know details about projects you worked on or how you deal with conflict. If you’re part of a company with multiple locations, don’t use the CEO as a reference. Choose an assistant manager or team leader who can give examples of your day-to-day work ethic.


Permission
Before you give a name and number to a hiring manager, contact that person and ask for their permission. At that time, you can give them details of the jobs you’re applying for. Let them know what experiences you would like them to highlight.


Progress
Once you land an interview, be sure to contact your references. Let them know they can expect a call within a certain time frame. This allows them to plan ahead or let you know if they’re unable to take the call.


Give them as much information as you can: who may call, what job it’s for and what organization.


Lastly, be thankful
Every time you use your references, it’s important to thank them for their time. It’s also a good time to provide a follow-up to your interview: Did you get the job? Or are you pursuing other prospects? Either way, they’ll be happy to hear from you!


Employment Expertise is provided by West Michigan Works! Learn more about how they can help: visit westmiworks.org or your local Service Center.

Bats in the belfry — er, attic? Tips to keep the wildlife out of your home

Adorable chickadee

By Blandford Nature Center and Victoria Mullen

 

Ah, wildlife. Who doesn’t enjoy watching birds eat from a feeder or squirrels chasing each other around the backyard trees?

 

Yes, wildlife can be just ducky — until some poor, little critter gets into your garbage or finds his or her way into your house. It’s amazing how destructive these little beasties can be. To be fair, it’s not their fault.

 

Here are some measures you can take to make sure the wild stays wild — outside:

  1. For porches or spaces under buildings like garages and sheds, bury chicken wire a foot down in the dirt and affix it to the bottom side of the structure to prevent animals from living under there.
  2. Cover laundry vents with mesh or chicken wire to prevent birds and other animals from getting in or nesting there.
  3. Cap chimneys to prevent wildlife from coming in the chimney. Many types of wildlife, including bats, owls and raccoons think it’s a cozy place to stay or investigate. Don’t worry — Santa can still get through.
  4. Secure all garbage, recycling and compost containers or bins. You may not be feeding wildlife directly, however, if the lids of your waste containers aren’t firmly shut, wildlife could be encouraged to return to an easy-to-access food source.
  5. Don’t feed animals (bird feeders, etc.) if you don’t want to encourage them to be around or possibly inside your home.

So far, so good, right?

 

But what if you happen across an injured or baby animal that can’t survive on its own? Try calling a wildlife rehabilitator.

 

Gray squirrel

The following are the main rehabbers in the Grand Rapids area:

  • Peg & Roger Markle of Wildlife Rehab Center LTD  616-361-6109
  • Sjana Gordon of Michigan Wildlife Center 616-885-4223
  • Sue Stamy of Braveheart Raptor Rehab Center 231-821-9125
  • Buck DeRiuscher for lost banded pigeons 616-897-8206 (Can call to figure out where the bird came from, also look online at www.pigeon.org. The owners often don’t want the banded pigeons back, as they see them as defective. These pigeons can be kept as pets or you can see if the animal shelter will take them in.)

It is illegal to rehab skunks, bats, and raccoons in Michigan, so there are no wildlife rehabilitators that can take them in.

 

The following pest removal services will charge a removal fee:
  • Advantage Wildlife Management 616.460.3966
  • Mike’s Wild Animal Control 616.340.4263
  • Mike Roberts 616.738.8565 (Will relocate animals, euthanize if injured only)
  • Critter Control 616.245.4680
  • Chimney Sweeps 616.774.0027
  • Grand Rapids Pest (Insects) Control 616.784.2288
  • Bee Movers G&S 616.364.7736
  • Organization for Bat Conservation 1.800.276.7074 (Located in Bloomfield Hills, they can answer questions about bats [removal, housing, etc.])

List of other Licensed Michigan Wildlife Rehabbers.

Live trapping

Before you decide to live trap an animal…

  1. You need to figure out where you will relocate it. To decrease the possible spread of diseases, mammals cannot be relocated outside of their original county. You need to have the permission of the property owner whose land you’re releasing the animals on, as they may not want your nuisance animal to become theirs. Blandford doesn’t allow animal dumping on the property because we already have established animals and adding outside animals can put stress on our flora and fauna populations. It also increases people vs animal incidents on the property.
  2. Once you remove an animal from your property, you need to find out how to exclude that animal or another animal from coming right back to that area, such as under your porch, inside your attic, etc. Otherwise, you can be dealing with the problem again.
  3. It is recommended to cover the live trap with a towel or tarp, because if you trap a skunk, on purpose or not, if it’s covered it will not spray you.

Don’t use rat poison!

Many rodent poisons do not kill the rodent right away; they cause the animal to slowly bleed out. This slow death allows other animals to eat that rodent, causing you to poison that animal as well. Pets and children can get into those poisons too, so it’s not worth the risk of losing a love one. Using a snap trap is the better way to go.

 

If you are still having problems with pest wildlife, please contact one of the wildlife management services listed in the contacts above.

Pets of the Week: Lola and Missy, Shadow and Khloe

By Brooke Hotchkiss, Humane Society of West Michigan


Each week, WKTV features an adoptable furry friend (or few) from various shelters in the Grand Rapids area. This week, we focus on Humane Society of West Michigan, located at 3077 Wilson Dr. NW in Grand Rapids.


Humane Society of West Michigan’s mission is to rescue hurt, abused and abandoned animals and find them a new forever home. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization helps over 8,000 animals annually and is 100% donor-funded by caring individuals and businesses in the community. Additional programs help reduce pet overpopulation, provide assistance to low-income pet owners, behaviorally assess animals and reunite lost pets with their owners.


Lola – Female Wire Fox Terrier / American Staffordshire Terrier Mix

Meet Lola!

I’m a 2-year-old dog looking for my forever home! I was transferred to Humane Society of West Michigan three weeks ago and am currently living in a foster home. When I first arrived I was very nervous and scared, so HSWM connected me with a loving foster home right away. I’ve been building up trust for people and I like to be a little shadow following my people and dog friends around! I LOVE being with other dogs and must go home with a social, playful dog that I could become BFFs with and do everything together! I enjoy playing in the water and having fun. If you’re interested in meeting me, please call Humane Society of West Michigan at 616.453.8900 for more information or to set up a meet and greet!


More about Lola:

  • Animal ID: 35442655
  • Breed: Terrier, Fox, Wire/Terrier, American Staffordshire
  • Age: 2 years
  • Size: Medium
  • Color: White/Black
  • Neutered

Missy – Female Domestic Short Hair

Gorgeous Missy

I’m a sweet 9-year-old cat who enjoys a laid-back environment and would do well in a relaxed home. I would do best as either the only pet in the house or with other laid-back cats. I’m affectionate, but I also like having my own space to hide and snooze! Senior pets, ages 7 years and older, have their adoption fees waived due to generous grant funding.


More about Missy:

  • Animal ID: 33958186
  • Breed: Domestic Shorthair/Mix
  • Age: 9 years
  • Size: Medium
  • Color: Black/Orange
  • Spayed
  • Not declawed

Shadow — Female Labrador Retriever/Chow Chow Mix

Meet Shadow!

I’m a 1-year-old, sweet, medium-sized dog (45 lbs) looking for my forever home! I’m a playful and polite dog who gets along with other dogs (I’ve mostly met male dogs) and am currently sharing a kennel with a male dog — we’re doing great as roommates! I would do well with older/respectful children. I’ve lived with children successfully in the past. I’m a goofball that likes to play around and have fun, but would also benefit from taking a basic behavior class with my new family to better learn basic commands. Come meet me at Humane Society of West Michigan!

 

More about Shadow:

  • Animal ID: 35455675
  • Breed: Retriever, Labrador/Chow Chow Mix
  • Age: 1 year
  • Size: Medium
  • Color: Black
  • Spayed

Khloe – Female Siamese Mix

Lovely Khloe

I’m a 3-year-old cat, sweet cat looking for a laid-back home to call my own! I used to live with a blind dog and we had some challenges getting along, so I would likely do best in a home without dogs. I enjoy playing around and then taking a nice loooooong nap. Please come meet me at Humane Society of West Michigan and see if I am the right fit for your home! Humane Society of West Michigan is open Tuesday-Friday 12-7, Saturday & Sunday 11-4.


More about Chloe:

  • Animal ID: 35377775
  • Breed: Siamese Mix
  • Age: 3 years
  • Size: Large
  • Color: Buff/Orange
  • Spayed
  • Not declawed

Adoption fee includes:

  • A physical done by the staff veterinarian
  • A test for heartworm disease (if six months or older)
  • A first series of vaccines including DHLPP (distemper combo), Bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine, and rabies (if older than 14 weeks of age)
  • Spay/Neuter Surgery
  • Treatment for internal parasites
  • One dose of flea preventative
  • One dose of heartworm preventative

The organization automatically microchips all adoptable animals using 24PetWatch microchips, which include FREE registration into the 24PetWatch pet recovery service. For more information visit www.24petwatch.com or call 1.866.597.2424. This pet is also provided with 30 days of FREE ShelterCare Pet Health Insurance with a valid email address. For more information visit www.sheltercare.com or call 1.866.375.7387 (PETS).


Humane Society of West Michigan is open Tues-Fri 12-7, Sat & Sun 11-4.

Emergency Food Assistance: Providing high-quality, nutritious foods to families in need

Your Community in Action!

By ACSET Community Action Agency


The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). TEFAP supplements the diets of low-income Americans by distributing nutritious food at no cost to the recipients. In Kent County, ACSET Community Action Agency (CAA) organizes regular distributions across the county.


The USDA purchases a variety of fresh and shelf-stable foods from domestic producers and distributes to states based on their low-income/unemployed population. The items vary depending on the season, availability and state preferences but always include a mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein products. Food items have reduced levels of fat, sodium and sugar and can include canned and fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, pasta and cereal.

 


The cost of healthy foods and the accessibility of grocery stores make good food choices a challenge for families with limited incomes. For example, you can purchase a package of hot dogs for under $3, while fresh pork or beef costs several dollars per pound. TEFAP ensures that more families have well-rounded, nutritious meals to eat. And because the food is purchased domestically, it also supports American agriculture markets.

 


Residents of Kent County who have a household income at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines can qualify for emergency food assistance. To receive food, individuals need to supply a photo ID with current address at the distribution site. The next TEFAP distributions will happen on Thursday, July 13 at the following locations:

 


ACSET CAA – Kent County Human Services Complex
121 Franklin St SE, Suite 110, Grand Rapids
Distribution hours: 1-7pm*


Flat River Outreach Ministries
11535 E Fulton St, Lowell
Distribution hours: 9-11am & 2-4:30pm*


North Kent Connection
1075 Northland Dr NE, Rockford
Distribution Hours: 9am-3pm*


*Or while supplies last


To learn more about TEFAP and find a full distribution schedule with locations, visit: http://bit.ly/CAAFood.


Your Community in Action! is provided by ASCET Community Action Agency. To learn more about how they help meet emergency needs and assist with areas of self-sufficiency, visit www.communityactionkent.org.

Blandford Nature Center founder/director to be honored with President’s Award

Mary Jane Dockeray attends to a sassafras tree at the Blandford Nature Center 9/27/66 in this Press file photo.

By Katelyn Nettler, Blandford Nature Center


The Association of Nature Center Administrators will distinguish Former Blandford Nature Center Founder and Director Mary Jane Dockeray as the inaugural ANCA President’s Award recipient for foundational leadership in the Nature and Environmental Learning Center Profession.


During a near 70-year career, Dockeray has helped instill youth environmental education as part of the nature and environmental learning center profession. Since boldly asking for the donation of ten acres of private land in 1964 for “getting kids boots on the ground”, Dockeray has displayed what Jason Meyer, current President/CEO of the Blandford Nature Center calls “her characteristic willingness to push boundaries.”


Over 43 years, Dockeray grew those ten acres into a 143-acre refuge that has served over two million visitors, an astounding accomplishment. Among her innovative achievements is the foundation of the Blandford School, a sixth grade program where 60 public school students spend their entire school year using the nature center as their classroom.


Beyond Blandford, Dockeray helped build youth environmental education into the ethos of the profession by freely offering her knowledge. She hosted and supported an early professional association of nature center administrators: the Michigan Coalition of Nature Centers. Corky McReynolds, PhD, CPF, and former Coalition member writes, “Her inspiration to me helped launch my career, and I am just one of literally thousands of lives she has touched.”


Dockeray exemplifies the exceptional contribution to the nature and environmental learning center profession that the President’s Award was created to acknowledge. ANCA Board President, Francis Velazquez, writes, “It is how Mary Jane’s story touches on all the aspects of our profession that captured my attention. It was the humility, simple directness, foresight, and sustained effort that brought her consideration for the President’s Award. It was how she educated one child, through one program, one field trip, one nature center, one pioneering idea after another and how she influenced one community and one profession with such lasting effects that made it clear she should be awarded by ANCA.”


Jen Levy, ANCA Executive Director, writes, “Mary Jane represents an exceptional group of individuals who recognized the need to secure the places that are now a vital network of nature education sites. Our profession is indebted to Mary Jane and her fellow nature education pioneers, and I am thrilled the board is recognizing her.”


To no surprise, at age 90, Dockeray continues to live out her commitment to environmental education. You can find her captivating young learners and mentees weekly at the Blandford Nature Center. On behalf of the nature and environmental learning center profession, we recognize Mary Jane Dockeray for her unwavering commitment to youth, nature, and the profession with the ANCA President’s Award — rock on Mary Jane!


The President’s Award will be given to Mary Jane Dockeray at the Association of Nature Center Administrator’s Annual Summit in August in Nauvoo, Alabama.

 

Employment Expertise: Job Search Buzzwords — Soft Skills

By West Michigan Works!


Editor’s Note: This is week four of our five week series on job search buzzwords.


What are soft skills?


Dictionary definition: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.


Our definition: desirable qualities that you can’t learn in a classroom.


How do I show an employer I have soft skills?


Soft skills are important to your success as an employee. They’re the qualities you’ve learned through life experiences. Employers value these skills as much, or more, than the specific teachable abilities you need to perform a job like welding or programming (hard skills).


Examples of soft skills include:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
  • Time management

During a job interview, employers may ask you situational questions like: Give an example of a time when you had a conflict with a team member?


Your response is a perfect opportunity to showcase your soft skills:

  • You spoke rationally with the coworker about the problem (illustrates good communication skills).
  • You changed a process in your daily routine to help make theirs a little easier (highlights your flexibility).
  • You value harmony in your team because you know you’ll be more efficient if everyone is getting along (shows you’re a team player).

Employers want to know they’re hiring a person who will do their job well but also has the ability to work with other team members, is reliable and represents the company well.


Employment Expertise is provided by West Michigan Works! Learn more about how they can help: visit westmiworks.org or your local Service Center.

Cat of the Week: Chesterfield

Just look at those ears!

By Sharon Wylie, Crash’s Landing


Each week WKTV features an adoptable pet from an area shelter. This week’s beauty is from Crash’s Landing. Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary rescue organizations were founded by Jennifer Petrovich, DVM (Dr. Jen), who is on staff at Clyde Park Veterinary Clinic (4245 Clyde Park Ave SW).


Montcalm County contacted us in January of 2017 for help with this rough-n-tumble tom cat that had a nasty herpes infection in his eyes causing him quite a bit of trouble. Born in early 2013, the mighty and muscular stud came in sporting tom cat toughness, a bit of an attitude and eyelids that were rolling inward, causing corneal irritation and ultimately requiring two surgeries to completely repair.


Over time, Chesterfield’s orneriness has resolved wonderfully, to the point that he has become an extremely social and outgoing guy who gets along famously well with most of the other kitties. On occasion a bigger male may bully him, but Chesterfield doesn’t let it bother him, preferring to hang out with the mellower population of feline kind at his current foster home.


We asked Chesterfield’s foster mom to speak a few words on his behalf, in the hopes of finding him a permanent home:


Listen — you can almost hear him purr!

“He LOVES being around people and typically comes out to find you wherever you are; he is definitely not shy, though he is both laid-back and fearless at the same time. He is also very opinionated about when he is finished being petted, but as long as you listen to him there is no issue. He settled right in and made himself at home immediately, but sadly can’t stay home long-term due to the brattiness of Martin [one of the foster mom’s other cats], who doesn’t think he was as cool as the humans and the other four feline residents in the household do. We will miss him!”


So how about helping a handsome hunk out and take a chance on this charming black-and-white boy with the slightly askew ears and a gaze that will peer into your soul sweetly? We promise you, you won’t be sorry!

 

 

Make your food dollars go further at the farmers’ market

Your Community in Action!

By Community Action Partnership of Kent County

 


The summer months in Michigan offer plenty of locally grown, fresh and healthy food choices. But what if you rely on food assistance dollars for your grocery budget? Can you use them at the farmers market or a roadside stand? The answer is yes! There are programs specially designed to help everyone access local produce.


Double Up Food Bucks
This program will match the money you spend on SNAP-eligible foods at the farmers market using your Bridge card. You can receive up to $20 in Double Up Food Bucks per market day. Just take your SNAP Bridge card to the market’s office or info booth before you shop. Learn more here.


WIC Project FRESH
WIC (Women Infant and Children) clients qualify for this program. Clients can receive five coupons worth $5 each to spend on fresh, local produce. Coupons can be used any time between June 1 and October 31. Vendors and/or farmers markets must have a contract to accept the coupons and will have a sign posted reading “Project FRESH Coupons Accepted Here.” Learn more about Project FRESH here.


Senior Market FRESH
Similar to the WIC program, Market FRESH provides eligible seniors with ten coupons worth $2 each to use with vendors/farmers markets contracted to accept them. Coupons are accepted June 1 through October 31, and participating vendors/farmers will have a sign posted reading “Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH Welcome Here.” Learn more about the program and eligibility here.


The following farmers markets in Kent County participate in the Double Up Food Bucks, Project FRESH and Market FRESH programs.

  • Byron Center: Byron Farmers Market
  • Grand Rapids: Fulton Street Farmers Market, Southeast Area Farmers’ Market
  • Kentwood: Kentwood Farmers Market
  • Wyoming: Metro Health Farm Market

You can search all farmers markets and filter by what food assistance benefits are accepted at: http://mifma.org/findafarmersmarket/.


Your Community in Action! is provided by ASCET Community Action Agency. To learn more about how they help meet emergency needs and assist with areas of self-sufficiency, visit www.communityactionkent.org.

Employment Expertise: Job Search Buzzwords — LinkedIn

 

By West Michigan Works!


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is week four of our five-week series on job search buzzwords.

 

What is LinkedIn?

 

Dictionary definition: a business and employment-oriented social networking service that operates via websites.


Our definition: a networking tool that acts as part resume, portfolio, letters of reference and social media. The social media aspect allows you to highlight your personality as well as your professional experience.


How do I make LinkedIn work for me?

Your LinkedIn profile should represent how you want to be seen by your network and potential employers. All of the topics discussed in our job search buzzwords series can help you build your profile:

  • Use the site to network with trusted contacts.
  • Strengthen your brand by including personal information you wouldn’t include on a resume.
  • Use your elevator speech as your headline or in the summary section.

With this knowledge and the five tips below, you will be on your way to creating a strong presence on LinkedIn.

  • Stay up to date. Be sure to include your most recent positions, responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • Get personal. You should always be professional. However, LinkedIn is a great way to let your network and potential employers understand you better. Include volunteer experience, interests and causes you are passionate about.
  • Give. LinkedIn allows you to write recommendations for others in your network as well as endorse them for skills. Start endorsing, and they may endorse you back.
  • Engage. The site allows you to follow posts about business-related topics or posts from different industries and companies. Read, share and comment on posts that interest you.
  • Make sure your profile is error free. In addition to proofing for typos, spelling or grammatical mistakes, make sure your information is correct and accurately portrays your accomplishments. Do not exaggerate.

Employment Expertise is provided by West Michigan Works! Learn more about how they can help: visit westmiworks.org or your local Service Center.

 

Exalta Health on mission to provide medical care to underserved community

Exalta Health provides health care to an underserved population at two clinics, one in the 2000 block of Division Avenue. See close up of plaque below. (WKTV/K.D. Norris)

K.D. Norris

ken@wktv.org

 

Exalta Health is a south Division Avenue based healthcare provider for low income residents of Wyoming, Kentwood and south Grand Rapids — serving patients who “have no place else to go,” the organization likes to say.

 

“There is a saying in health care that the best predictor of you heath is not your genetic code but you zip code,” President Bill Paxton said during a recent taping of WKTV Journal’s new “In Focus” public affairs program. “What we know is where people live is often reflective of their access to good health care services. It is really reflective of socio-economic status.

 

President Bill Paxton and Medical Director Laura Vander Molen of Exalta Health. (WKTV)

“What we are seeing is that people who have less income, less revenue, have poor health and poor access to health care — and that is across the country. Both in rural areas and in urban areas such as Wyoming and Kentwood and Grand Rapids. … What we see is that people with lower income often have other barriers to health care — cultural barriers, language barriers, transportation barriers.”

 

For a YouTube video of the complete “In Focus” segment, visit here.

 

Exalta works to break down those barriers to health care by providing “compassionate … quality … and accessible care” at its Clínica Centro, at 2060 Division Ave S, and its South Clinic at Streams of Hope, 280 60th Street SE.

 

We provide “mainly primary care, that’s medical care, trying to have patients have continuity care with the provider,” said Medical Director Dr. Laura Vander Molen. “We also have dental care — in the past we have separated dental care from medical care but now we are trying to see the patient as a whole person.”

 

Exalta has many care providers who either work or volunteer at their clinics, but it also works with community partners — including Spectrum Health, Mercy Health St. Mary’s, and Metro Health-University of Michigan Health — for speciality care services. But that sometimes leads to problems for patients.

 

“We work to get our patients in to see specialists if they need care beyond us,” Vander Molen said. “But when we send people out for speciality care, that tends to drive up the costs” and “becomes an insurance issue” for the patients.

 

“We (also) try to educate people on chronic diseases, so we do a class for people with diabetes. We also have behavioral health, which includes medical and social workers, and also counseling for our patients who may be struggling with behavioral health issues.”

 

Lastly, she said, there is spiritual support if needed and requested.

 

“We also have spiritual care. We feel that people are emotional, spiritual and physical, so we are trying to meet all those needs,” Vander Molen said.

 

Plaque at entrance to Exalta Health’s Division Avenue clinic and office. (WKTV/K.D. Norris)

While Exalta is proud that it is a religiously-motivated organization, Paxton makes clear they are more focused on serving the community than spreading the Gospel.

 

“We are a Christian organization, that is really our motivation for doing what we do,” Paxton said. But “overall, what we really want to see is a healthy community. Reflecting what we think the call is to us — as Christians, to do as Christ would do — to show compassion, and (provide) quality care. That is why we do what we do.”

 

For more information on Exalta Heath, call 616-475-8446 or visit exaltahealth.org.

 

SCA kicks off 15th theatre season with ‘Memphis: The Musical’

By Angela Peavey, Saugatuck Center for the Arts


Celebrate 15 years of theatre with Mason Street Warehouse at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver St., Saugatuck). The Tony Award-winning Memphis: the Musical opens the season and runs June 23–July 9. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at sc4a.org, by calling 269.857.2399, or at the box office.


Memphis: the Musical bursts off the stage with explosive dancing, irresistible songs, and a thrilling tale of fame and forbidden love. Inspired by actual events, Memphis is set in the places where rock and roll was born — underground nightclubs, radio stations, and recording studios of the 1950s. Romance sparks between a white radio DJ who wants to change the world, and a black club singer who is ready for her big break.


“We’re very excited to celebrate our 15th Anniversary season with the largest production in Mason Street’s history,” said SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong. “Memphis has a cast of nineteen, and we’ve brought incredible professional talent from New York City, Chicago, and across the country home to West Michigan for the production.”


Lindsay Roberts plays the lead role of Felicia for Memphis: the Musical. She made her Broadway National Tour debut starring as Felicia, and reprises the role for Mason Street Warehouse. Roberts’ Broadway credits include the role of Creole Love Call in After Midnight.


David R. Gordon plays the other lead: Huey Calhoun. The actor, who hails from Los Angeles, played the role of Roger in Flashdance the Musical during its first national tour.


Mason Street Artistic Director Kurt Stamm says that while the show is set in the 1950s, the story’s themes are fresh and relevant. The lead character Huey Calhoun is loosely based on the late Memphis DJ “Daddy-O” Dewey Phillips — who gained a devoted multi-racial following by boldly spinning a mix of country, rhythm and blues, and the new rock ‘n’ roll on his Red,
Hot & Blue radio show through most of the 1950s. And the message of Memphis, The Musical is the power music has to unite people across seemingly unbridgeable divisions.”


Mason Street Warehouse’s 15th anniversary season continues with:

Fully Committed (July 21 – August 6). You think you’re having a bad day? Meet Sam. He works the red‐hot reservation line at one of New York’s trendiest restaurants, where the best food inspires the worst behavior. Coercion, petty threats, bribes, histrionics—a cast of desperate callers will stop at nothing to land a prime reservation, or the right table. Amid the barrage, Sam has his own problems to deal with. While juggling scheming socialites, name‐dropping wannabes, fickle celebrities and egomaniacal bosses, can he still manage to look out for himself? Fully Committed serves up a delicious helping of juicy schemes and hilarious characters that will have you laughing out loud.


It Shoulda Been You (Aug 18– Sept 3). It Shoulda Been You invites you to a wedding day you’ll never forget, where anything that can go wrong does, and love pops up in mysterious places. The bride is Jewish. The groom is Catholic. Her mother is a force of nature, his mother is a tempest in a cocktail shaker. And when the bride’s ex-boyfriend shows up, the perfect wedding starts to unravel faster than you can whistle Here Comes the Bride. Plots are hatched, pacts are made, secrets exposed – and the sister of the bride is left to turn a tangled mess into happily ever after. Get ready to make a toast to the funniest wedding you’ve ever attended!


 

Pets of the week: Bentley and Brina

By Brooke Hotchkiss, Humane Society of West Michigan


Each week, WKTV features an adoptable furry friend (or few) from various shelters in the Grand Rapids area. This week, we focus on Humane Society of West Michigan, located at 3077 Wilson Dr. NW in Grand Rapids.


Humane Society of West Michigan’s mission is to rescue hurt, abused and abandoned animals and find them a new forever home. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization helps over 8,000 animals annually and is 100% donor-funded by caring individuals and businesses in the community. Additional programs help reduce pet overpopulation, provide assistance to low-income pet owners, behaviorally assess animals and reunite lost pets with their owners.


Meet Bentley!

Bentley – Male Pit Bull Terrier mix

I’m a playful, 2½-year-old pup looking for my forever home! I am friendly, social, and love to play. Sometimes I’m picky with other dogs, so it’d be best to bring your current dog in to meet me before taking me home. I would prefer a home without cats. Tug-o-war and chase are my favorite games to play. If you’re interested in meeting me, please visit Humane Society of West Michigan!

 

About Bentley:

  • Animal ID: 33660748
  • Breed: Boxer/American Pit Bull/Mix
  • Age: 2½ years
  • Gender: Male
  • Size: Medium
  • Color: Charcoal
  • Neutered

To adopt, call 616.453.8900 or email adoptions@hswestmi.org.


Beautiful Brina

Brina – Female Domestic Long Hair

I’m a 1½-year-old cat looking for my forever home! I love attention, but I can be a bit shy at first. I would prefer to be the only pet in the home, and I would do best with older, respectful children. I would love a quieter home. Adult cats five months and older currently have their adoption fees waived. If I sound like the right fit for you, please visit me at Humane Society of West Michigan!

 

About Brina:

  • Animal ID: 34812030
  • Breed: Domestic Longhair/Mix
  • Age: 1½ year
  • Gender: Female
  • Size: Small
  • Color: Brown/White
  • Spayed
  • Not declawed

To adopt, call 616.453.8900 or email adoptions@hswestmi.org.

 

Adoption fee includes:

  • A physical done by the staff veterinarian
  • A test for heartworm disease (if six months or older)
  • A first series of vaccines including DHLPP (distemper combo), Bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine, and rabies (if older than 14 weeks of age)
  • Spay/Neuter Surgery
  • Treatment for internal parasites
  • One dose of flea preventative
  • One dose of heartworm preventative

The organization automatically microchips all adoptable animals using 24PetWatch microchips, which include FREE registration into the 24PetWatch pet recovery service. For more information visit www.24petwatch.com or call 1-866-597-2424. This pet is also provided with 30 days of FREE ShelterCare Pet Health Insurance with a valid email address. For more information visit www.sheltercare.com or call 1-866-375-7387 (PETS).


Humane Society of West Michigan is open Tues-Fri 12-7, Sat & Sun 11-4.

Your voice matters — make it heard!

 

By ACSET Community Action Agency (CAA)


One of the resources that allows ACSET Community Action Agency (CAA) to address the most urgent needs of Kent County residents is its diverse board. CAA boards are made up of representatives from the private and public sectors as well as consumers of their services.


Public and private sector representatives bring a wealth of experience, resources and community connections to the board. They represent government, business, religious organizations, welfare, education, law enforcement or other groups and interests in the community served.


Consumers provide meaningful input and insights that are essential to fighting the causes and symptoms of poverty.


By bringing together this diverse group of individuals, the CAA board can:

  • Help ACSET CAA better understand the needs of the community
  • Ensure ACSET CAA focuses on the greatest needs of low-income families in Kent County
  • Make a difference for everyone who seeks the services of ACSET CAA

ACSET Community Action is currently seeking new consumer sector members. Consumer representatives must be low-income and qualify for a CAA service at the time of their appointment.


This is a great opportunity to make your voice heard, gain leadership experience and help others.


Questions? To learn more or find out if you qualify, contact Sarah at 616.336.2228. 


Ready to apply? Download an application here.


Your Community in Action! is provided by ASCET Community Action Agency. To learn more about how they help meet emergency needs and assist with areas of self-sufficiency, go here.

 

Local First presents ‘Measure What Matters’ workshop June 21

By Local First

 

Grab a beer and join the equity and inclusion conversation! The next Measure What Matters workshop will explore the importance of viewing our local economy through an inclusive lens. This workshop will host a discussion focusing on the resources available to build your business, implement access forward principles, and strengthen positive communication between staff. Attendees will walk away with the knowledge to craft an inclusion and equity statement and turn it into a company-wide policy.

 

Measure What Matters is part of Local First’s ‘Good for Grand Rapids’ initiative that brings together and celebrates companies using business as a force for good. These companies have a demonstrated commitment to positive environmental and social change in Grand Rapids and beyond by creating high-quality jobs, stronger communities and a healthier Great Lakes region. The initiative offers resources and best practices for sustainability and social good.

 

Companies — of all sizes and all industries — are encouraged to see how they stack up against other businesses in the nation and determine how much good they do for the local economy by using an online Quick Impact Assessment tool here. It takes 30-60 minutes to complete.

Measure What Matters Workshop

When:  Wednesday, June 21 — 3-5 pm

Where:  LINC UP, 1167 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI

Price: $10 (Local First Members)-$15 (Nonmembers)

 

REGISTER HERE.

 

Hack the QIA! Local First will also be available to help attendees through the QIA — bring your laptop or mobile device!

 

Introduction
Paul Doyle, Inclusive Performance Strategies

 

Resources
Jill Vyn and Chris Smit, DisArt
Topic: Creating access forward principles in small business

 

Dawn Helou, HR Director, Gordon Food Service
Topic: Written policies, how to enforce and encourage conversation amongst staff

 

Paul Doyle, Inclusive Performance Strategies
Topic: Creating an Inclusion and Equity statement for your business

 

Breannah Alexander, Partners for a Racism Free Community
Topic: Taking it steps beyond an equity and inclusion statement — creating company-wide policy.

 

 

 

Urban artists featured in new summer exhibition at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts

 

By Taylor Koopman, Saugatuck Center for the Arts

 

The new summer exhibition, Stories of Us: Transforming Communities Through Art, comes to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver St.). Stories of Us will run from June 10 to September 3, Mondays through Fridays from 9 am-7 pm, and weekends from 10 am-7 pm, with free admission.

 

Stories of Us features works from four Chicago-based urban artists that create “street art” as well as works for galleries and exhibitions. In the exhibition, artists Rubén Aguirre, Andy Bellomo, Miguel A. Del Real, and Sam Kirk will share their own works, along with a collaborative 3-D installation piece made for the Saugatuck Center for the Arts’ gallery.

 

“We’re thrilled to welcome this group of incredibly talented young artists to West Michigan,” said SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong. “They are all connected by place (Chicago), their roots in graffiti art, and their passion for using art as a means of deep story telling. The four have never done a collaborative show before – we’re very excited to debut their work at the SCA!”

 

The artists’ exhibition at the SCA features work that encourages unity, and their pieces reveal stories interwoven with optimism and a better understanding of people; their culture, their identity, and their circumstances.

 

Ruben Aguirre, the Artist in Residence for summer 2017 at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, transitioned from graffiti artist to abstract painter/contemporary muralist. His mural can be seen on buildings and neighborhoods in Chicago as well as Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands.

 

Andy Bellomo is a mixed media artist, using her perspective to transform acrylic, stained glass, repurposed objects, and spray paint into works of art. Bellomo’s pieces have been featured in galleries across the country.

 

Miguel A. Del Real’s art illustrates mostly black line works contrasted with colorful accents and original designs influenced by pre-Columbian and indigenous patterns, as well as calligraphy and urban art. Del Real has created large-scale public mural installations that can be recognized in Chicago neighborhoods, as well as in Brooklyn, New York and Oaxaca City, Mexico.

 

Sam Kirk creates paintings and murals using art to provoke people to feel, see or understand things differently. Recognized for her public art and solo shows in Chicago, Kirk has exhibited in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Minneapolis. Kirk is an award-winning artist, and has been commissioned by Guinness, Smirnoff, Ciroc, Rolling Stone Magazine and Proctor & Gamble.

 

Rubén, Andy, Miguel, and Sam believe art is a transformative tool, each using their art as a means of creating community. Their work encourages unity, and understanding of others’ culture, identity, and circumstances. The art featured in this exhibition serves as a platform for discussion, learning, and human connection in the Saugatuck community in the spirit of creativity and openness to all people.

 

For information on other SCA programs featuring these artists throughout the summer visit sc4a.org.

 

Stories of Us is sponsored by Bud Baty & Max Matteson, Debra Minton & Terri Osborne, Lori & Keith Hayward, Marlo & Tom Byrne/Barbara Bradley Bakagaar Foundation.

 

Employment Expertise: Job search buzzwords — soft skills

 

By West Michigan Works!


Editor’s Note: This is week four of our five week series on job search buzzwords.


What are soft skills?


Dictionary definition: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.


Our definition: desirable qualities that you can’t learn in a classroom.


How do I show an employer I have soft skills?


Soft skills are important to your success as an employee. They’re the qualities you’ve learned through life experiences. Employers value these skills as much, or more, than the specific teachable abilities you need to perform a job like welding or programming (hard skills).


Examples of soft skills include:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
  • Time management

During a job interview, employers may ask you situational questions like:


Give an example of a time when you had a conflict with a team member?


Your response is a perfect opportunity to showcase your soft skills:

  • You spoke rationally with the coworker about the problem (illustrates good communication skills).
  • You changed a process in your daily routine to help make theirs a little easier (highlights your flexibility).
  • You value harmony in your team because you know you’ll be more efficient if everyone is getting along (shows you’re a team player).

Employers want to know they’re hiring a person who will do their job well but also has the ability to work with other team members, is reliable and represents the company well.


Employment Expertise is provided by West Michigan Works! Learn more about how they can help: visit westmiworks.org or your local Service Center.

 

Cat of the week: Brimley

Look at this guy… just LOOK at him!

By Sharon Wylie, Crash’s Landing


Each week WKTV features an adoptable cat from Crash’s Landing or Big Sid’s Sanctuary. Both cat rescue organizations were founded by Jennifer Petrovich, DVM (Dr. Jen), who is on staff at Clyde Park Veterinary Clinic (4245 Clyde Park Ave SW).


Dr. Jen had purposely saved this name for when a cat arrived that came in as a diabetic (c’mon, everyone has seen those commercials, haven’t they?). So she was excited when she finally got the chance to use it when this fine, FIV fella came to the sanctuary through Carol’s Ferals on September 4th, 2012. Well, she wasn’t excited he had diabetes, but you have to admit that it is pretty clever naming.

In any case, this poor pussycat found himself in very dire straits when first taken in to CF, and since he had way more medically wrong with him than they felt they could handle (he hadn’t been diagnosed at that point), Dr. Jen offered to take him in and figure out what was going on.


Born in March of 2010, Brimley sure had seen some rough patches while out of the streets of Grand Rapids. This nub-tailed ragamuffin was a filthy, albeit friendly, fella who was starving for food, affection and blood glucose regulation. In fact, his sugar levels were so out of whack that it took a few weeks on a pretty high insulin dosage to knock his sugar levels down to a dull roar.


Brimley is the sweetest kitty

And then, a pleasant surprise: Brimley went into remission! Diabetics can be fickle, so he may very well require insulin in the future, so we are keeping tabs on his status and fattening him up, which he is more than thrilled about (he was less thrilled with his twice daily shots, but he tolerated them alright as he got treats in return).


Being FIV-positive (read about FIV here) will be less of a drawback than being diabetic; cats with dual issues like this are harder to adopt out, as it takes a special person to commit to a lifetime of meds and follow-ups. But, all of us here at Big Sids feel Brimley is more than worth it, and we know once you meet this cutie pie you will see why we feel he deserves every chance at a life in a home of his own!


More about Brimley:

  • FIV-positive
  • House trained
  • Spayed/Neutered
  • Current on vaccinations

Want to adopt Brimley? Learn about the adoption process here. Fill out a pre-adoption form here.


Interested in volunteering at one of the cat shelters? Email volunteer@crashslanding.org.


Can’t adopt, but still want to help? Find out how you can sponsor a cat!


Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary have a common mission: To take at-risk stray cats off the streets of the Greater Grand Rapids area, provide them with veterinary care and house them in free-roaming, no-kill facilities until dedicated, loving, permanent homes can be found.

 

School’s Out: No more pencils, no more books, no more… food?

 

By ACSET Community Action Agency


In Kent County, more than 47% of K-12 students were eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch in 2015. Nearly 50,000 children in our community rely on school meals to get the nutrition they need. What happens in the summer when school isn’t in session? How do families on very limited budgets provide those meals?


To address this issue, many groups in our community host summer meal programs. These programs provide free meals to children under the age of 18 on weekdays throughout summer break. This helps families stretch their food dollars and ensures kids are getting healthy, nutritious meals when they’re not in school. Many locations offer both breakfast and lunch.


Multiple hosts will be providing free student meals across Kent County this summer. Click the links below to find a location near you.

If your family is struggling to put food on the table, ACSET Community Action Agency (CAA) can also help. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides low-income families with nutritious, pantry staples once per quarter. Many distributions are happening this week!


Find TEFAP distribution locations and dates on their website at: http://bit.ly/CAAFood.


Your Community in Action! is provided by ASCET Community Action Agency. To learn more about how they help meet emergency needs and assist with areas of self-sufficiency, visit www.communityactionkent.org.

Safe and Supported program offers free therapy for LGBTQ youth

An attendee showing their wings at a previous Grand Rapids Pride Festival (Photo credit: Matt Oberski)

Grand Rapids Pride Center and Arbor Circle recently introduced the Safe and Supported Program, which offers free therapy and counseling for LGBTQ youth

 

By Matt Oberski, The Rapidian

 

The Grand Rapids Pride Center, in their partnership with Arbor Circle, is now offering free therapy and counseling services for LGBTQ youth. While the Pride Center has offered support services for several years, the Safe and Supported program, which launched in February, provides one-on-one support for youth ages 13-24. LLMSW Sydney Sturm, whose work at Arbor Circle focuses on homeless youth, works with local youth in the LGBTQ community to help them regarding mental and physical health risks including depression, anxiety, and gender dysphoria, preventing homelessness, and offering a safe and welcome environment to discuss their concerns.

 

At that age, Sturm said, “you’re not only trying to figure out who you are, but society is telling you who you should be.”

 

As a young adult struggling with their identity as well as possible problems at home or at school related to it, it can be difficult to find accepting facilities and services that are willing to help. Many LGBTQ youth have been frustrated with the current mental health community; with “deadnaming,” or calling a person by their birth name rather than their chosen name, and staff using the wrong pronouns in relation to their gender identity, these young adults have found seeking mental health services discouraging. It is therefore important to have a professional on the LGBTQ spectrum that kids and young adults can come to for support in an inviting and welcoming environment, Sturm explained.

 

“I’ve seen them open up tremendously in regard to wanting mental health services, which is a great barrier to break,” she said.

 

One of the major issues Sturm is concerned with is youth homelessness. According to the LGBT Homeless Youth Provider Survey conducted by the Williams Institute, approximately 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Sturm estimates that of the clients she has met with in her past work with Arbor Circle and the Pride Center, between 50 percent and 75 percent of youth are worried to come out truthfully for fear of being kicked out of their homes. This often brings a temptation to run away or remove themselves from their homes to find a more accepting community.

 

With the Safe and Supported program, young people have the opportunity to meet with a therapist on their own terms and receive professional help free of charge. Sturm emphasized that she and staff at the Pride Center are willing to “take any measure possible” to meet with youth and help if their family or living situation is unwelcome or unsafe. This includes meeting at a location of the individual’s choosing, and even helping them navigate the local housing system and shelters.

 

“What’s the point in working in a community if you’re not going to support that community?” she asked.

 

Safe and Supported is funded by grants through Our LGBT Fund at Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

 

For more information on the Safe and Supported program or to schedule an appointment with the Safe and Supported program, go to http://www.grpride.org/support-services/ or call 616-458-3511.

 

To learn more about the state of LGBTQ youth homelessness in our community, view the Safe Impact Report: http://www.arborcircle.org/safe-impact.

 

More than taste: the definition of ‘Good Food’

By Ellie Walburg, Access of West Michigan


What makes food “good”?


It may be taste. If you have a sweet tooth, maybe you’d consider a decadent layered chocolate cake with fluffy whipped frosting “good”. Or for the savory side, a bowl of soup that has a harmony of seasonings and flavors singing out. That sounds good.


Or based on presentation. They say we eat with our eyes, so the appearance of a plate could mean everything. Freshness is also key–does it look like it just came from the garden or was it forgotten on a counter at the back of the kitchen somewhere.


At Access of West Michigan, we appreciate a more specific definition than something that just tastes yummy and looks appetizing. And for good reason. In our effort to promote sustainable, wholistic solutions to poverty, the food we work toward is more than just a plate of chocolate chip cookies.


According to the Michigan Good Food Charter in 2010, which presents a vision for improving Michigan’s food system, “good” food has four requirements.


Healthy

First and foremost, food that is good is food that is healthy. Which means those packages of frosted mini donuts probably won’t cut it. The charter states that healthy means the food “provides nourishment and enables people to thrive.” Healthy foods like ripe red strawberries, bushy stalks of deep green kale and whole grain oats provide essential nutrients to give energy and sustainability.


Green

No, in this case green does not refer to money. Rather, the charter defines green as food that “was produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.” Biting into a crunchy Granny Smith means that the grower didn’t need to use harmful pesticides that hurt the earth, animals and humans. No obnoxious or harmful fumes were emitted into the air while washing potatoes. Good food is not only based on the food itself but protecting and preserving the environment in which it’s grown.


Fair

This has become a buzzword in today’s culture, referring to justice in the production of food from start to finish. Yet it’s a concept of the food system that is of high importance. The charter describes “fair” as “no one along the production line was exploited during its creation.” This element of criteria for good food ensures that those involved won’t get abused or taken advantage of in supporting both those who eat and those who grow or produce it.


Affordable

Having food that is healthy, green and fair is so important. But what if people can’t even purchase or obtain it? Affordability means that no matter their income level, social status, age or gender, everyone should be able to have access to such food.


So why is this definition of “good food” important?


For our co-executive director Emma Garcia, it provides a path toward improving how food pantries serve their community.


Charitable food organizations, or those that distribute emergency food such as a pantry, don’t often find it easy to follow these guidelines. Garcia said that when the charitable food system began, it was a fairly straightforward concept.


“For the surplus of food, rather than it ending up in a landfill, give it to people who need it,” Garcia said.


Yet a lot of the food that is produced in surplus and is often donated is unfortunately foods that don’t meet these four criteria for “good” food.


Through our Farm to Pantry program, we are working to make good food a reality for all by investing in our local food economy and partnering pantries with small West Michigan farms to better our community and practice good food values.


 

Cat of the week: Abby

Meet adorable Abby!

By Sharon Wylie, Crash’s Landing


Each week WKTV features an adoptable pet from various local shelters. Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary were founded by Jennifer Petrovich, DVM (Dr. Jen), who is on staff at Clyde Park Veterinary Clinic (4245 Clyde Park Ave SW).


Not too long after Abby was first adopted out, her new mom relocated out of the country and asked her grandparents to care for her (we were not aware of this exchange until after the fact).


Everyone seemed to be doing well for many months until Dr. Jen received a call: Abby had fallen very ill and continued medical care was not affordable. Of course Dr. Jen asked her to be brought back to the shelter immediately so treatment could be started for profound weight loss, diarrhea and a non-regenerative anemia that was proving to be life-threatening.


When Abby arrived at the clinic, Dr. Jen was astounded at what rough shape she was in; the one portly princess who tipped the scales at 11# was down to a mere 7-1/2#, all skin and bones, weak and rail-thin. Thankfully, heavy-duty antibiotics and steroids acted efficiently to counteract the devastating effects of a blood parasite, and within a few short weeks, Abby was gaining weight, color had returned to her pale mucous membranes and some of her vibrant energy was restored. Having not been her primary caretaker for quite some time, Dr. Jen surmised that physiological stress caused by significant oral inflammation and pain exacerbated the blood parasite (can lay dormant for years); had her oral condition been addressed in a timely manner, it is possible she would have not fallen so ill in the first place.


All of her teeth except her canine had to be removed in hopes of controlling a condition known as Feline Stomatitis, but no worries on the chewing and chomping front, as Abby is able to chow down with the best of em!


Abby had been through more trials and tribulations in her years on this earth (she was born in the summer of 2008) than any one animal should ever be expected to, but she has handled herself with grace in the face of adversity. She is not one to complain or carry on, but a gentle, divine soul who wants nothing more than to be loved and told how pretty she is! Her bladder inflammation (Feline Idiopathic Cystitis) is controlled with daily medication and minimizing her external stressors, as keeping her days as low-stress as possible is what this doctor has ordered!


She has overcome some pretty amazing odds as of late, and we are doing everything within our power to insure that Abby is happy, healthy and well-cared for, so we are planning on her staying put for the time being. Dr. Jen needs to be 100% sure that her anemia resolves completely, and that we are able to get her as healthy as possible before going to a new home.


Abby is positive for Feline Leukemia, but potential adopters shouldn’t rule her out for this. Read about the facts on Feline Leukemia here.


More about Abby:

  • FELV/FIC/stomatitis
  • House trained
  • Spayed/Neutered
  • Declawed
  • Special needs
  • Current on vaccinations
Want to adopt Abby? Learn about the adoption process here. Fill out a pre-adoption form here.

Interested in volunteering at one of the cat shelters? Email volunteer@crashslanding.org.


Can’t adopt, but still want to help? Find out how you can sponsor a cat!


Crash’s Landing and Big Sid’s Sanctuary have a common mission: To take at-risk stray cats off the streets of the Greater Grand Rapids area, provide them with veterinary care and house them in free-roaming, no-kill facilities until dedicated, loving, permanent homes can be found.

Humane Society of West Michigan offers animal camps for kids ages 5-17 this summer

All photos courtesy Humane Society of West Michigan

By Humane Society of West Michigan


Spend your summer with the animals!


Humane Society of West Michigan’s Summer Camp is a great place for your kids to spend their summer learning, growing and having a fun-filled experience that will leave a lasting impression! Summer Camps are filled with activities, games, crafts, lessons and hands-on experience for everyone based on animals and animal welfare! Five different camps are offered for a variety of ages and interests.

  • Full day sessions —  from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • AM sessions — from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • PM sessions — from 1-4 p.m.
  • After Care and Before Care are available for an additional fee.

Camp PET PALS

This camp offers a new theme everyday, including Delightful Dogs, Fun with Critters, Feline Friends and more. Days are filled with crafts, games and fun! Campers are expected to bring their own lunch, snack and a water bottle each day. Limited to 40 campers per session.

  • June 19-23, ages 5-7 — half-day sessions (AM and PM)
  • June 26-30, ages 8-10 — full-day sessions
  • July 17-21, ages 11-13 — full-day sessions
  • July 24-28, ages 5-7 — half-day sessions (AM and PM)
  • August 7-11, ages 8-10 — full-day sessions
  • August 21-25, ages 8-10 — full-day sessions

MEDIA MUTTS Camp

In this learn-and-create camp, campers will learn about a new topic each day focused on animals. There are different activities and projects throughout the week leading up to the final unique media project. Campers are expected to bring their own lunch, snack and water bottle each day. Limited to 40 campers per session.

  • August 14-18, ages 8-12 — full-day sessions

Vet Camp

In this hands-on camp, teens who are seriously considering a career in veterinary medicine will learn the ins and outs of being a vet. Spend some time with HSWM’s vet staff and watch surgeries, participate in dissections, practice suturing and injections, learn about diagnostic testing and more! Campers are expected to bring their own lunch, snack and a water bottle each day. Limited to 25 campers per session.

  • July 10-14, ages 13-17 — half-day sessions (AM)
  • July 31-August 4, ages 13-17 — half-day sessions (AM)

K9 Enrichment Camp

Sit, stay and come are just a few of the basic commands you will teach shelter dogs during this canine enrichment-filled camp. Learn basic and advanced obedience training, scent training, agility training, enrichment and socialization! Trainers will practice positive reinforcement training and special skills. They will also perform further research in body language, behavior assessment and breed histories to create a long-term strategy for a shelter dog. Campers are expected to bring their own lunch, snack and a water bottle each day. Limited to 25 campers per session.

  • July 10-14, ages 13-17 — half-day sessions (PM)
  • July 31-August 4, ages 13-17 — half-day sessions (PM)

Animal Advocates Mini Camp

In this mini three-day camp, campers who are passionate about animal welfare and making a difference will meet guest speakers and learn about current animal issues in our community. Each day campers will learn about a new topic through games, crafts and activities and even complete a service learning project! Campers are expected to bring their own lunch, snack and a water bottle each day. Limited to 40 campers per session.

  • July 5-7, ages 13-17 — full-day sessions

Reserve your place by signing up today!

Sign-up by emailing JordAnn your Summer Camp Registration Form (below) at jbush@hswestmi.org.


Go here to download the Summer Camp Registration Form.


May is Community Action Month Part 2: Fighting Poverty for 53 Years

 

By ACSET Community Action Agency


This is part two of a two-part series about Community Action Month.


For 53 years, Community Action Agencies (CAAs) in the United States have been fighting poverty at a local level. They are guided by their individual missions and are committed to the Promise of Community Action to improve the community by helping people help themselves and each other.


In Kent County, ACSET CAA is focused on providing services to generate a higher quality of life for all residents. In 2016, ACSET CAA:

  • Weatherized 101 homes
  • Provided tax preparation assistance to 2,662 individuals
  • Made 1,090 utility payments
  • Distributed 1,945,560 pounds of food
  • Served 18,068 Latin-inspired meals to seniors

ACSET CAA is grateful to their partners and volunteers. Without the support of 76 partner organizations and 36,588 volunteer hours they would not have the same impact on our community. Together, they are helping people and changing lives.


Your Community in Action! is provided by ASCET Community Action Agency. To learn more about how they help meet emergency needs and assist with areas of self-sufficiency, visit www.communityactionkent.org.

Blandford Nature Center kicks off summer activities with Farm Day Open House May 27

By Blandford Nature Center

 

Summer is knocking on our door, and Blandford Nature Center seems as busy as ever. As we close out the end of the school year, prepare for Summer Day Camps, and develop our Community Programs for the upcoming months, we have many openings for volunteers to come out during this busy, sunny season. Check out the Volunteer Opportunities below to get a sneak peek of all the things happening around Blandford!

Farm Day Open House

When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, May 27

 

Don’t miss this family friendly event down on the farm! Meet the goats, chickens, and pigs; say ‘hi’ to your local farmers; check out our plant sale; listen to a story; and play some games. This is a great option for a Memorial Day ‘stay-cation’.

 

Volunteer for this Event

Longest Day 5K

2017 marks the 6th year of Blandford Nature Center’s fundraising trail run/walk! Join us for an evening of fitness, food, and fun. Run or walk the trails through Blandford’s property. Afterwards, celebrate the summer solstice with us at our Summer Celebration!

  • Where: Blandford Farm
  • When: 4-9 p.m. on Friday, June 23

Volunteer for this Event

Spring Planting Days

As the temperatures rise and the sun shines brighter, Blandford is preparing to take on a few landscaping projects in the various gardens and green spaces around BNC. We need help planting.

We’ll be making several trips to buy/collect native plants from local nurseries so there will be a variety of days available for planting. Please specify a time frame during that day’s open hours so we can plan accordingly.

  • Where: Blandford Nature Center
  • When: Various dates

Volunteer for this Event

Eco-Stewardship Work Days

Eco-Stewardship work focuses on habitat restoration, trail restoration, stream clean-up and removal of invasive species on several sections of our 264-acre site.

  • Where: Blandford Nature Center
  • When: Various dates

Volunteer for this Event

Farm Work Days

NEW THIS YEAR! Perfect for volunteers who want to get their veggies on and hands dirty. Currently offered once a month with the potential to add more days as the season becomes busier.

  • Where: Blandford Farm
  • When: Various dates

Volunteer for this Event

 

Blandford Nature Center is located at 1715 Hillburn Ave. NW in Grand Rapids. For more info, call 616.735.6240.

 

All registration fees and donations will be used to further Blandford Nature Center’s mission to engage and empower our community through enriching experiences in nature.

Employment Expertise: Job search buzzword — ‘Networking’

 

By West Michigan Works!


If you’ve job searched for more than a day, there are a handful of words you’ve probably heard over and over:

  • Network. 

  • Personal brand. 

  • Elevator speech. 

  • LinkedIn. 

  • Soft Skills.

What do these words actually mean? How do you do them well?


Welcome to our five-part series, Job Search Buzzwords. We’ll explain these terms in an easy way to understand. And, give you practical ways to start putting these words into actions.


Job Search Buzzword: Networking — What is it?


Dictionary definition: interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.


Our definition: Getting to know other people in the community so you can help them and they can help you.


How to do it?


Forget the phrase networking. Instead think relationship maintenance. 
Networking is about meeting people you want to share ideas and resources with and are genuinely interested in staying connected. Networking is a way of thinking and not a “thing” you do once a month.


Networking is natural.
 When was the last time someone you knew asked you for a restaurant recommendation? Or asked for your thoughts on a problem they had with a project? This is networking in action! You develop relationships with people. And, they trust what you share because you have a relationship with them.


Attend events that make sense for you.
 Don’t go to every networking event planned. You’ll wear yourself out. Instead go to the events with interesting speakers or people attending.


Prepare before you go.

  • Decide your goal for going before you step in the door: do you want to meet with three people, meet a specific person, or find someone you can help.
  • Avoid awkward conversations. Have a few conversation starters in mind: ‘How did you hear about this event?’ ‘Have you ever been before?’ ‘Hi, I don’t know too many people here, so I wanted to introduce myself. I’m [name].’

Follow-up. 
People are busy. The next day, send a quick email to remind them of you and your conversation. Make sure to send them any articles, videos, project examples you promised.


Maintain the relationships. 
After you send your follow-up email, connect to them on LinkedIn. Do they tweet? Follow them on Twitter. Monitor your social media feeds and comment on their posts sometimes. Email them once in a while to check-in. And keep an eye out for them at future networking events.


Employment Expertise is provided by West Michigan Works! Learn more about how they can help: visit westmiworks.org or your local Service Center.

Adoptable pets from Humane Society of West Michigan: Gracelyn, Tommy & Jerry

Gracelyn

By Brooke Hotchkiss, Humane Society of West Michigan


Each week, WKTV features an adoptable furry friend (or few) from various shelters in the Grand Rapids area. This week, we focus on Humane Society of West Michigan, located at 3077 Wilson Dr. NW in Grand Rapids.


Humane Society of West Michigan’s mission is to rescue hurt, abused and abandoned animals and find them a new forever home. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization helps over 8,000 animals annually and is 100% donor-funded by caring individuals and businesses in the community. Additional programs help reduce pet overpopulation, provide assistance to low-income pet owners, behaviorally assess animals and reunite lost pets with their owners.


Gracelyn — Female Boxer/American Pit Bull Terrier Mix

I’m a playful 2-year-old girl looking for my forever home! I have been waiting to find my family since October of 2016 at Humane Society of West Michigan, and before that at another shelter. I’m an active and playful dog who would do well in a home with no small children due to my activity level. Being only 2 years old, my family would ideally be willing to spend some time and energy training me to help me become the perfect fit! I’ve got a lot of love to give and know I could make someone very happy! I am currently living with a foster family to give me a break from the stress of the kennels so that I can relax in a home environment. If you’re interested in meeting finding out more or meeting me please call Humane Society of West Michigan at 616.453.8900 to schedule a meet and greet. My adoption fee ($175) will be paid by Kool Toyota, and Kool Toyota will also give my new family a $100 gift card to Chow Hound Pet Supplies to help get me settled!

 

About Gracelyn:

  • Breed: Boxer/American Pit Bull Terrier Mix
  • Age: 2 years
  • Gender: Female

To adopt, call 616.453.8900 or email adoptions@hswestmi.org.

 

Tommy & Jerry — Male Domestic Short Hair

Tommy & Jerry are a bonded pair

We are a pair of 13-year-old cats who have lived our whole lives together. We are a bonded pair and must be adopted together. We would like to live in a quiet, relaxed home where we would have our own space to snuggle up and nap. We are both front declawed. Senior pets (ages 7 years and older) always have their adoption fees waived due to generous grant funding.

 

About the boys:

  • Breed: Domestic Short Hair
  • Age: 13 years
  • Gender: Male
  • Color: Tabby
  • Neutered
  • Front paw declawed

To adopt, call 616.453.8900 or email adoptions@hswestmi.org.


Adoption fee includes:

  • A physical done by the staff veterinarian
  • A test for heartworm disease (if six months or older)
  • A first series of vaccines including DHLPP (distemper combo), Bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine, and rabies (if older than 14 weeks of age)
  • Spay/Neuter Surgery
  • Treatment for internal parasites
  • One dose of flea preventative
  • One dose of heartworm preventative

The organization automatically microchips all adoptable animals using 24PetWatch microchips, which include FREE registration into the 24PetWatch pet recovery service. For more information visit www.24petwatch.com or call 1-866-597-2424. This pet is also provided with 30 days of FREE ShelterCare Pet Health Insurance with a valid email address. For more information visit www.sheltercare.com or call 1-866-375-7387 (PETS).


Humane Society of West Michigan is open Tues-Fri 12-7, Sat & Sun 11-4.

’80s show to benefit local Metro Health-University of Michigan Health Foundation

 

By Alison Goodyke

 

Grab your dark sunglasses, tease your hair, put on your spandex and headbands and join the wave headed back to the ’80s.

 

105.3 HotFM presents Retro Futura: HOT ’80s Rewind on Tuesday, August 1st at the Van Andel Area. Headlined by synth pioneer Howard Jones, the jam-packed show will also feature sets from the English Beat, Men Without Hats, Modern English, Paul Young and Katrina (ex-Katrina and The Waves) in support of Metro Health–University of Michigan Health Foundation.

 

The arena will host a pre-party prior to the show complete with a local ’80s band, ’80s costume contest, ’80s karaoke contest, games, prizes, food and drink specials and more! The show starts at 7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. and the pre-show activities will begin at 5:30 p.m. For more details visit vanandelarena.com.

 

The Metro Health Hospital Foundation helps Metro Health meet the health care needs of more than 250,000 people annually. This includes providing assistance for people with limited or no health insurance, programs to detect cardiovascular disease in teens, summer camp for cancer patients and their families, Child Life Services for children experiencing hospitalization and funding to promote innovative treatment and compassionate care.

 

Tickets for Retro Futura: HOT ’80s Rewind can be purchased at the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place box offices, charge by phone at 1.800.745.3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com. Ticket prices are $45, $57.50 and $75. Ticket prices are subject to change.