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History Blog

Guest Blogger Emilio

We are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with a new organization this summer, to help us cultivate a sense of responsibility in our young people in making our communities a better place. And that place is Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids. After hearing about Steepletown status as a grantee of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Dwelling Place reached out to us, expressing serious interest to create a partnership and become a work site for our summer employment program. Knowing the type of impact Dwelling Place has in the community, we were so grateful for such a request.

The selection process of our summer program is heavily dependent on the interest of the youth. We allow them to review what opportunities are available, and select their preferred sector specific track they would like to participate in. For our first year partnering with Dwelling Place, we couldn’t have selected a better candidate.

Andrew Q, 16 years old, attended the summer program orientation with a low hanging head, nervous tone, and overall shy demeanor. Andrew expressed interest in working outdoors, and a desire test his creativity. Andrew has “shocked” the staff of Dwelling Place. Andrews work site supervisor, Ken, says Andrew has the two qualities that are becoming so rare in today’s employer driven market: responsibility and initiative. Ken Ford, the Community Landscape & Gardening Coordinator has been in his role for less than a year. Since his work experience began, Ken reports Andrew’s confidence has risen tremendously, which we believe has to do with Ken’s constant support and encouragement. When asked what he enjoys most about the work experience, Andrew reports it is working with Ken. Andrew stated, “Ken is really easy to talk to. He listens to my opinion.” Ken says he is “thankful for a worker like Andrew, and honored to be mentoring him throughout this experience.”

Posted by & filed under HOY News, News.

History Blog

Guest Blogger Melanie

This week, was the Open House of the Steepletown Preschool. In order to spread the word, the staff went out of the building Monday evening to increase community awareness by passing out flyers and personally inviting families of preschool aged children. Dick Bulkowski found the activity very rewarding, not only to spread our word, but to reconnect with long time members of the neighborhood. Rekindling old connections was an unexpected and very welcome outcome. We also discovered that many of our families benefited from speaking with Mr. Bulkowski, as he used his bilingual skills to connect with families whose primary language was Spanish. We edited our flyers to also include Spanish information and away we went to Richmond Park on Tuesday afternoon. We weren’t allowed to “solicit” but slyly found a way to connect with families who would benefit from learning more about our preschool!

Tuesday was also the day that our culinary interns with Chef Tommy of Kitchen Sage offered popcorn, smoothie snow cones, and custom caramel apples to guests of the Ability in Action event hosted by Disability Advocates of Kent County at Rosa Park Circle in honor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turning 24 this year! Our interns did a phenomenal job battling the heat and offering their goods with generosity and genuine enjoyment. Check out our Facebook page to see pictures and videos.

Wednesday we had a great turn out for the Preschool Open House and again, our culinary interns offered exceptional service as they helped guests prepare a pizza and fruit cup. We had a great turn out with time to spend with each family to share information about our program and the benefits they would have in choosing our preschool for their child. During the event, we were able to get some time with a few of the interns to find out more about their experience working with Chef Tommy. Jeremiah, Dick’s son, manned the video camera while I chatted with the intern. I can’t wait to see the final product. I’ll be sure to share it once it’s ready.

Our GED lab also had some exciting events this week. 3 students are closer to their goal by completing official GED tests! One student successfully passed all 4 tests and is now preparing for fall courses at GRCC! Participants also experienced the benefits of using multiple sources to learn concepts and skills reminding us that we should never accept information that isn’t clear. Inquiry, questioning and research, are essential to master something that is new. For example, dependent probability was giving us some troubles. While helping a student, we re-watched the lesson on GED Academy, and looked up a video on Khan Academy. Since we took great notes during each video, we were able to make sense of the strategy and apply it correctly! So, if you need to learn how to calculate dependent probability, visit the lab soon!

I’m excited to see what next week will bring for Steepletown!

Posted by & filed under HOY News, News, Programs / Services.

History Blog

Guest Bloggers – Past Participants

Jonathan W. – “The reason I want to accomplish getting my GED is because, for one, you need it to survive long term. And the second reason is to hope on bettering my future.”

Amber W. – “GED helped me with jobs, I am getting more opportunities just because of my GED. I am taking classes for CNA license and plan on getting my RN.”

Chase R. – “GED helped me get a better paying job. I am enrolled in GRCC studying degrees in Law enforcement (Criminal Justice). Would not have been possible if I would not have attended Steepletown.”

Jeff B – “It meant finally being able to go to college to get a Bachelor degree from Kendall for design.”

Evangelina G. – “Right now, I am enrolled in cosmetology school. I have plans on opening my own cosmetology shop.”

Uniqua S. – “It meant a lot, and got me over a lot of barriers. I started from jail, but I made it. Now, I want to accomplish more. Now, I want to work with my Youth Advocate to get help to figure out what classes to take at GRCC.”

Jaslynn F. – “Education is a big priority in my life so I felt I needed to complete my GED. I will be attending school for physical therapy in May in Charlotte, NC.”

Isaac B. – “I wanted to get my GED so I could get into college. I am currently in school studying computer programming.”

Eddie, 2009 GED graduate – “When I was a little kid I would always go to the Peace Club in the summer, and then I went on different trips with the Sierra Club. We went to Isle Royale, South Manitou Island, white-water rafting in Virginia, and other great trips. Then life happened, but at 19 I came back and finished my GED with Steepletown. This gave me what I needed for a better job- I am now the Shipping Supervisor at a local company.”

Jacob V. – “I’ve always wanted to serve my country, but needed some credentials before I was able to enlist. Steepletown helped me get me GED to I could make that possible.”

Jonathan M. – “It took me a while to get my GED, and Steepletown helped me stay focused and keep trying even when I wanted to give up. I’m working part time, and getting ready to start school at CC.”

Chewy – “I had a really hard time getting my GED. But I did it with Steepletown’s help. They pushed me and never gave up on me.”

Cody K. – “I was so focused on going to college to play rugby that I didn’t make a lot of effort to pass high school first. So Steepletown helped me finish my GED, and then really helped me look into Davenport. I’m happy to be coaching a rugby team now, and look forward to playing on a team again.”