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Three-county campaign to Take the Stairs kicks off September 3

Three-county campaign to Take the Stairs kicks off September 3

Organizations in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties are teaming up this week to encourage people to take the stairs.

Take the Stairs Week runs September 3 through September 6.  The three-day campaign is meant to encourage people to become more physically active while saving energy.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, graphic designs promoting healthy behavior have been shown to motivate stair users; that’s why Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University created images for this campaign.  Free color signs are available at the Heart of West Michigan United Way for businesses and organizations with escalators or elevators.

Participating agencies include:

The American Institute of Architects, Grand Rapids Chapte

New MSU medical students learn college’s mission at “Afternoon of Community Service”

New MSU medical students learn college’s mission at “Afternoon of Community Service”

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan State University College of Human Medicine)-- Pulling weeds, painting bathrooms and stuffing envelopes might not seem like a part of a medical student’s education. At the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine it is.

Some 200 first-year medical students – 100 in Grand Rapids and 100 in the East Lansing area – fanned out to about 10 nonprofit organizations in each community Wednesday to volunteer their time. The Afternoon of Service is included in the students’ orientation week to remind them of the college’s mission.

“We think it makes a lot of sense in the first week that they be reminded that the College of Human Medicine has a strong commitment to community service,” Pat Brewer, Ph.D., assistant dean for student development, said. “Our students need to understand that sometimes that means pulling weeds and licking envelopes.”

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announces $385,000 in grants

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announces $385,000 in grants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Four non-profit organizations are getting $385,000 in funding to improve the neighborhoods, health, engagement and environment of Kent County.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announced the grants Tuesday.   The foundation awarded Habitat for Kent County $150,000 for its Building Blocks program, which is expected to restore or rehabilitate 36-40 properties in two years for low income families.  The funding also includes $150,000 to West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition to expand and improve trails, and a $60,000 grant to Health Intervention Services (HIS) for dental rooms, a nursing station and an improved volunteer area, which should allow HIS to double the number of patients it serves.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation also awarded $25,000 in grants to John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to create three Grand Rapids area programs to support local arts.

Grand Rapids among top cities for 'youngest smiles'

Grand Rapids among top cities for 'youngest smiles'

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is among the top cities in the nation for people with the youngest smiles.

Grand Rapids comes in at number three in the rankings released by Sharecare, an online health and wellness community.  The rankings are based on a RealAge Test survey of 250,000 people.  According to Sharecare, Grand Rapids ranked high for diet diversity and happy marriages, which benefit health.

Here are Sharecare’s rankings for Top 10 Cities with the Youngest Smiles:

  • 1: Austin, Texas
  • 2: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 3: Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 4: Sacramento, California
  • 5: San Francisco, California
  • 6: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 7: San Diego, California
  • 8: Denver, Colorado
  • 9: Washington, D.C.
  • 10: Seattle, Washington

'Meals at Home' awarded Group Volunteer of the Year Award

'Meals at Home' awarded Group Volunteer of the Year Award

A West Michigan group providing food for the elderly and people with disabilities is being honored.

LeadingAge Michigan recently awarded its Group Volunteer of the Year Award to “Meals at Home.”  Sunset Retirement Communities & Services started Meals at Home in 1997.  Each year, a team of 150 volunteers use their own vehicles and gas to deliver more than 23,000 meals throughout Grand Rapids.  Because of volunteers, Meals at Home has kept costs down to just $5 per meal.

During its 2013 gala, LeadingAge Michigan also honored Porter Hills Retirement Communities from My Town Ada/Cascade with its Care & Services Award.  The non-profit organization serves more than 800 adults from all income levels.

Double Up Food Bucks program begins again July 1

Double Up Food Bucks program begins again July 1

A program aimed at helping low income families eat healthier is back for another season.

Double Up Food Bucks runs July 1 through October 31, 2013.  Participating markets will match the amount spent by shoppers using a SNAP Bridge Card.  The maximum match is $20 per day, and shoppers do not need to use their Double Up Food Bucks the same day they get them.

In West Michigan, participating farm markets include:

  • Ada Farmers’ Market (7239 Thornapple Dr.)
  • Byron Farmers’ Market* (84th & Byron Center, Byron Center)
  • Downtown Market Grand Rapids (435 Ionia St. SW)
  • Fulton Street Farmers’ Market* (1147 East Fulton St.)
  • Greenville Farmer’s Market (1325 W. Washington, Veteran’s Park)
  • Healthy Street Farmers’ Market (431 Cass Ave. SE, Grand Rapids)
  • Holland Farmers’ Market (150 W.