4 remarkable women celebrated for contributions to Grand Rapids Community College



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The 2013 Salute to Women awards luncheon honoring four outstanding women for their personal and professional contributions to Grand Rapids Community College took place on Tuesday, March 26, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center Banquet Rooms.

The 15th annual event celebrates the accomplishments of: Dr. Joan C. Berends, retired director of nursing programs; Myrna P. Granderson, a nurse, author and educator; Misty McClure-Anderson, a valued member of the interdisciplinary studies and instructional support staff; and nursing major Carly Misech.








The banquet was sponsored by the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center.

“It’s something we look forward to every year,” Diversity Learning Center Director Christina Arnold said. “It’s a great way to recognize these four women who are connected to GRCC and a great way to conclude Women’s History Month. We’re extremely proud of all of them. Their stories are great stories.”

Berends, who helped start the college’s nursing program, was class valedictorian during graduation ceremonies at Lee High School at age 16. Although unable to enroll in nursing school because of her age, she boarded a bus and enrolled herself in 19 credit hours at Calvin College in the pre-med program. As a child, she was inspired by missionaries to pursue a career in the health field, and then proceeded to complete a combined pre-med program between Calvin and Blodgett Hospital in only three years. She later taught at both Calvin and GRCC and became instrumental in both programs achieving national accreditation.

Granderson, a passionate and eloquent advocate for the less privileged, authored her own success story in life by overcoming social and economic challenges to earn her nursing degree from the college. After graduation from South High School, she was inspired to enter the GRJC nursing program and eventually became a nursing assistant instructor within the Grand Rapids Job Corp and an award-winning writer.

McClure-Anderson has made a lasting impact at GRCC through leadership, compassion and commitment to the school. She is a highly respected member of the staff who began as a student worker and ascended to a full-time position as Educational Support Professional (ESP). She has held several positions at the college for the past 20 years and currently serves as President of the ESP Union.

Misech, born in Palau, a small island nation in the western Pacific Ocean, has returned to GRCC to complete her associate nursing degree. She graduated from Grand Rapids Central High School in 2008 and works in Student Employee Services while pursuing her degree and always looking out for others. Her family is tending to her son back home in Palau while she finishes up her education here.





To learn more about the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at Grand Rapids Community College, call 616-234-3390; email: carnold@grcc.edu or visit their website: http://cms.grcc.edu/dlc

Follow Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diversitylearningcenter

Parents Rising to the Challenge!



Parents at Harrison Park School (K-8) are fully embracing the college-going culture developing at that school. In fact, many have opted to become college students themselves.

In January, Ferris State University began a pilot career exploration course, CARE 102, especially for parents of Harrison Park students. When they complete class in May, participants will have earned three transferrable college credits.

The course guides participants through the career exploration and decision making process, while also enhancing computer skills. “In class I’ve learned how to use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. It’s exciting,” said Harrison Park mom Petronila Solares.




“My kids are in kindergarten, second and fourth grade here and they see that dad is going to school. I’m hoping this sticks with them and that it will help later when we talk with them about furthering their education,” said Harrison Park dad Jody Morris.

“I want to be able to help my son with his homework and before [this class] I couldn’t. I volunteer at the school and I know that this is important,” Petronila added.

5Harrison Park School is a Grand Rapids Community Foundation Challenge Scholars School. Challenge Scholars bridges the education gap by equipping students and families with the tools they need to be academically, socially and financially ready to pursue a college degree or vocational certificate. From a “last dollar” scholarship after high school to support services in school, this powerful program paves the way to making today’s learners tomorrow’s leaders.





The Cook Auditorium at the Grand Rapids Art Museum was filled with a little over a hundred guests on Friday night who were interested in hearing what some of the city’s most innovative and entrepreneurial creative had to say about design. This was the third annual interview/lecture event hosted by Design/Educate/Connect (DEC), a nonprofit started in 2010 by Benjamin Edgar, Josh Beebe, and Evan Daniels.

The evening’s format was a 1-1 interview, with each interviewee given the opportunity to choose their interviewer for a 12-minute conversation. First up was Cliff Wegener of Mighty in the Midwest, a mobile and web design firm located above Hopcat, who was interviewed by his close friend and mentor, Tom Crimp. Wegener had three keys to long-term success for technology design firms such as his: realize that process and technology are constantly changing; trust what you know works; and experiment with new technology, using what works for you. He described Grand Rapids as inspiring and a hotbed for technology and design, and he loves that his peers are right in his neighborhood.






Jill DeVries was interviewed by her good friend Marissa Kulha. As she talked about her passion for capturing beauty through her camera lens, it was easy to see how much she truly loves what she does. Growing up she had thoughts of being an architect and had a great love of “beautiful spaces and good design.” DeVries told the audience that in her opinion, good design is “knowing what is necessary and what is not,” and she applies that philosophy to her portraits. To her, beauty is everywhere. It is “not about the camera, it’s about the vision.”

Shoe designer Tyler Way’s career began in his freshman dorm room with a Sharpie marker. Way was interviewed by Adrienne Rehm, his girlfriend of 4 ½ years. In their lighthearted and completely endearing interview, the audience learned that Tyler got his big break by “trespassing” his way into several Detroit Pistons games by using his ID badge from his internship the previous summer. He got the attention of Tayshaun Prince, who had Way design a pair of shoes for him, and his business skyrocketed from there. After years of creating custom footwear, Way is now designing shoes for Sebago, a brand under the Wolverine Worldwide umbrella, and volunteers his time as Creative Director for Fashion Has Heart, which pairs wounded veterans with artists to create custom t-shirts.

Derek Coppess, Founder and Managing Director of 616 Development, was interviewed by Monica Clark, Director of Community Development at 616 Development. Coppess’ father was a high school drafting teacher, and he learned a lot from his father about design. He is not an architect, not an interior designer, but his experience with design comes in the form of relationships with people. He is most inspired by the human emotions that go into their projects and designing their communities. He also designs the team—616 Development is always evaluating their “tribe” and when they determine there is a gap, they make sure to fill the gap with the right person.



Then came Laura Caprara, founder of Stellafly Social Media, interviewed by Eric Kuhn of Site:Lab. Caprara graduated from Calvin College and then drove to Oregon to begin a job as a Graphic Designer, which turned into a job teaching an “old school art director” how to integrate technology into his work. She returned to Grand Rapids and eventually launched the Grand Rapids Social Diary in 2009—she would send photographers to document events around town, post the photos on Facebook, and guests at the event would tag themselves. This idea took off, and in 2010 she saw an opportunity to monetize her business and began charging for event coverage. In 2011, the business was rebranded as Stellafly in an effort to expand the efforts outside of Grand Rapids and even outside the state. Today, Stellafly does the day-to-day online messaging for organizations such as Grand Rapids Public Schools and TEDx Grand Rapids. They are also covering events that range from art openings to concerts to black tie galas.

The evening ended with Christian Saylor, Creative Director and Joe Johnston, Director of User Experience and Director of R & D for Universal Mind, interviewing each other. When asked what inspires him, Johnston answered that he loves “watching people interact with things.” He grew up on a farm so when he could, he would go to the mall and watch people do just that—interact with things. Saylor is inspired by storytelling. He told of car rides with his father who would tell him and his siblings captivating stories, and talked about the walks he takes with his wife, where they discuss the books they are reading and his favorite question to ask her is, “What’s the story?” Saylor and Johnston like to look at their projects through the lens of a great story, looking at who they are designing for and what the end product will be, based on their story.





Grand Rapids is overflowing with creativity and design, and the interviewees at tonight’s Design/Educate/Connect event were an incredible representation of this city’s talent, and it truly showed the wide variety of ways that design can be viewed. What is your definition of “design?”

LIKE Design/Educate/Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedecproject



The Gazelle Girl Terryberry Media Open House



The April 13th Gazelle Girl Half Marathon is right around the corner and this week we  had the opportunity to visit the manufacturing floor of Terryberry to see the finishing charms being made. The Gazelle Girl race directors were also onsite to watch this one-of-a-kind production process.



Event organizers believe that each finisher of the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon (13.1 miles) deserves special recognition.  That’s why Gazelle Sports teamed up with a local business, to provide each half marathon (13.1 mile) finisher with an artisan-crafted, sterling silver Gazelle Girl charm from Terryberry’s new IMUA jewelry collection.

Beyond the race, IMUA jewelry is offered online and at Gazelle’s 28th St. store. much more than a race, it’s about celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the law that made discrimination between men’s and women’s educational programs illegal, and raising money for three non-profit organizations that support women and girls in Kent County.  The half marathon is sold out and 2,000 women will run the streets of downtown Grand Rapids to earn their finisher charm.








The half marathon is full but there are still ways to be a part of the celebration. Register for the 5k or be a volunteer at: gazellesports.com/gazellegirl


The Gazelle Girl Half Marathon will connect women together through movement. We are proud that 100% of the funds raised by this event will be donated to three non-profit organizations that support girls and women in Kent County:

Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women exists to provide education, connections and resources that create and strengthen women-owned businesses

Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Stellafly is a proud corporate sponsor and participant of this year’s inaugural race.

Sharing Good Times with Good Friends at Ramona’s Table — Brian Sterling and Pete Brand



EAST GRAND RAPIDS – In our second installment, Stellafly sits down with WOOD-TV 8 news anchor Brian Sterling and Internet marketer and entrepreneur Pete Brand of Mindscape/Hanon-McKendry as part of a monthly series featuring local foodies and prominent personalities..

Our meal has been prepared by chef Matthew Kemper and his expert staff at Ramona’s Table boutique deli.

It consists of mango salsa and tortilla chips, grilled fish tacos, hand-picked selections off the sandwich menu and, of course, co-owner Jackie Ziehm’s incredible carrot cake and other dessert items.

As always, let’s start the casual conversation with a look at some social-media issues.


Appetizer round

The fresh mango salsa and chips get things started for us.

It is one of the flavorful new items popping up on the Ramona’s Table menu. It reminds everyone that spring is approaching and warmer temperatures signal the start of increasing foot traffic in Gaslight Village.


Stellafly: Hey, guys, thanks for joining us. What’s the next big thing in social media?

Brand: Hopefully, they quit using the words “social media” and start realizing it’s just the way we communicate. It’s just another medium. I think the entire web is social now. Everything is becoming that way. It’s a lot more three-dimensional. In the future, I think everything is going to continue to be more and more social.




Special entree

A platter of grilled mahi mahi fish tacos and roasted tomato salsa is delivered to the table.

It is another of the fresh menu items that Ramona’s Table is planning to serve up to its patrons this spring.

Stellafly: Is there another new device that is going to revolutionize the industry?

Brand: Well, they have the heads-up glasses right now. You can actually see everything that’s right in the glasses. I think they’re about $1,500 a pair, so, as processors continue to get smaller and smaller, they could just get smaller and smaller so that you don’t even know that someone has them on. That’s cool stuff. You can see everything. And when they actually develop the Semantic Web a little bit more, they can really start profiling you.

That’s what they’re doing right now with Google+ where they ask you all the different questions. They’re tracking what you’re searching, what you’re liking, who you’re connected to, what circles, and all of the activity that’s happening online.

Then they can start to find out you’re individual tastes. When they have those glasses and they can mesh it, if I wanted to look for a restaurant that I like, I could look down the street and see the ones that would fit my preference. So, that’s how crazy it’s going to be. Even then, I could look at you and see what your interests are and, based on your avatar, I could see what your interests are. So that’s the future.

Sterling: I don’t know if that’s more exciting or more frightening.

Brand: We’ve talked about that. Privacy is dead and it’s not coming back. So, get over it and deal with it.

Sterling: I was just reading online today that Samsung has a new device that it’s testing that follows your eyeballs as you’re tracking across whatever monitor you happen to be looking at. That’s how you would point and click. It is getting to the point where it’s almost too easy. It is interwoven in everything you do.

Stellafly: So, this is James Bond meets Terminator stuff, right?

Sterling: Yeah, I grew up in the ’70s and, if you think about it, some of these things out there now, especially the devices, this is the stuff you dreamed about. Talking into your phone, giving it instructions, and it understands what you just said. Then it can perform the task for you? We should be rejoicing about this technology, but, at the same time, it’s so overwhelming for so many people. The youngsters seem to have a grasp on it

I don’t think anybody is utilizing it to its full potential, which, by the way, is what they used to say about television. We used to think, ‘This is what we’re getting with all of this technology from the idiot box.’ But are we maximizing everything we’re getting from it? Probably not. We’re just scratching the surface, but that’s what makes it exciting.



Brand: I was listening to this audiobook the other day called “Abundance” and it listed all the stuff you had in your household in 1990 and talked about telephones, encyclopedias, going through this big, huge list of multiple things. It said what would’ve cost you $10,000 for the entire list, you fast-forward to now and you can get that same power, that same knowledge and information for less than the price of a cup of coffee. Or, in most cases, it’s free. The exponential growth keeps happening with technology.

You remember when they used to say technology was going to double every five years, when we were kids, and now it’s like every six months – or even smaller than that.

Stellafly: Are you ready, Brian, for the TV viewers to be watching you on their heads-up glasses?

Sterling: Why not? You’ve got to embrace it. I think there was a point in time back in the early ’90s, no one really knew what this was. There was a saying in newsrooms at that time that this information superhighway is coming, but right now it’s a dirt road. But that’s not the case anymore. So, you better jump on that highway … or be left behind.

You’ve got to start to integrate on all formats. I know the TV station has worked very hard to do that. A lot of there online applications literally give you the tools that five or six years ago you wouldn’t have had, so you can forecast along with the meteorologists by using your smart phone. You’re getting targeted text alerts about your neighborhoods and schools if you’ve got a closing. That’s growing exponentially as well.

Sandwiches/Gourmet Sides

Next, everyone orders off the sandwich menu. The menu price ($8.95 for all sandwiches) includes a choice of homemade roasted redskin potatoes, kettle chips, homemade coleslaw or gourmet side salad.

Everything is made on-site using fresh ingredients.

Brand orders the “Merry Mary,” which features house-roasted turkey, swiss cheese, tomatoes, wild mixed greens and cranberry aioli on cranberry walnut bread. It’s the most popular sandwich on the board.

Sterling orders the farm-to-table special of the month – a braised short-rib sandwich.

It’s a pair of enthusiast thumbs-up from both of them.

Stellafly: What’s the future of media in the digital landscape?

Brand: It’s coming so fast, I think it’s going to continue to break up into smaller and smaller niches. People are more and more empowered. I know a guy who started a blog and he turned it into an online radio station and, as he continued to expand into more and more mediums, he picked up a larger and larger following base.

Going forward, it’s just going to be more and more niche oriented.

There was a professor we heard speak down in Akron, Ohio, about six or seven years ago, and we were joking around because he was talking about this concept of ‘Googlets.’ Eventually, he felt there was going to be this thing invented that we could call a ‘Googlet,’ because it would have very, very specific information based on any interests that somebody might have. You can see that happening now with blogs and all the different paths that information is going down, and how it caters to those niches.

It’s actually less effective to try to speak to a general audience anymore.

Stellafly: Where does that leave human interaction in this process?

Sterling: You would think with all these tools at our disposal, the conversation would be a little more enlightening. You can get online and there’s all sorts of things. You have to be focussed, though, on what information you’re specifically looking for, and if you let it come find you or bombard you, you will be overwhelmed.

I guess that’s what the essence of the Internet is – it’s supposed to be a two-way street, a little bit of back and forth. You’re providing something and you’re getting something in return. A lot of these big social media companies – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter – I don’t know where the ratio is there. It seems like it’s a little off-balance.

If you’re getting $5 billion for everyone’s personal information, what is the individual getting in return? I think it’s a question you need to ask yourself sometimes.

Brand: Hopefully, it leads to a more personalized experience.

Sterling: It’s leading to a lot of people making a lot of money off of it. The Internet is used as a tool for very specific marketing purposes. At the end of the day, you’re giving up a tremendous amount of personal information. There’s very little return.


Dessert round

And, finally, comes a basket filled with sweet offerings to finish off the meal.

The spectacular carrot cake is everyone’s top pick. There’s also cheesecake with blueberries and a peanut butter mousse between rich layers of chocolate.

Brand: Hopefully, it ends up being like anything else. There’s good in the world and then there’s evil. Fortunately, there seems to be far less evil. I would say the Internet is not used just for ill purposes.

Sterling: I do think there’s a tendency to try to demonize that stuff to make it seem like it’s dangerous and it’s the big, bad wolf out there in the wild, wild west. It’s probably an easy way out, but it does give you a moment of pause. Where is this all going? The fact that I can go on Amazon.com and they already kind of know what I’m going to be looking for … it’s a great feature, but it’s also somewhat unnerving.

Brand: I agree. I struggle with it. I still think the majority of people use it for good.


Future guests

Tell us which local foodies (chefs, sommeliers, bloggers) and prominent personalities you’d prefer to see share their thoughts on social media and topical issues when Stellafly sits down for a meal next month.

Please submit suggestions in the comments section that follows.


Owners: Charlie Palm and Jackie Ziehm

Location: 2232 Wealthy St. SE, Gaslight Village, East Grand Rapids

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Private parties available upon request.

Fare: Boutique deli focussed on farm-to-table, locally sourced ingredients in sandwiches, wraps and salads, plus homemade pastries. It offers RT2U carry-out and home-delivered meals every Tuesday and Thursday, and specializes in catering.

Ambience: Dark wood tables and a fireplace help create a modern and cozy setting for casual lunch and dinner conversation. Order off the menu, pay for it at the counter and food is delivered to the table.

Phone: 616-459-8500

Website: www.ramonastable.com

Facebook: RamonasTable

Twitter: @ramonastable

Email: info@ramonastable.com


Living a Sweet Life: Jason Kakabaker




Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake. –Dean Koontz, author

Weddings. New Babies. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Baptisms.

All of these things have something in common—besides being some of life’s most important moments, there is one key ingredient to making them even more special.


They all involve cake.

And when you celebrate these occasions, or any other special day, with a cake or cupcakes from Cakabakery, you are getting more than just a sweet treat. You are getting something truly delicious created with love and amazing creativity by the company’s founder, Jason Kakabaker.

“Yes, that is my real name,” said Kakabaker as we sat in the kitchen of his Heritage Hill home that he shares with his partner, Peter. Their home also serves as the base of operations for his business, which he started in July 2010. But his talent for cake design began in the freezer of a Baskin Robbins, where he worked in high school and learned to decorate ice cream cakes.



“We would go in and out of the freezer and do a little bit of the decorating at a time,” he said. “But that was when I really figured out what it was I wanted to do.”

Other than his time at Baskin Robbins, Jason is self-taught. He worked in product development for fifteen years and while he always designed cakes on the side, he did not make it his full-time career until July 2010.

Since Cakabakery opened, it has grown exponentially in number of clients as well as the variety of products offered. The number of bridal clients grew from 12 to 36 between years one and two, and is looking to be even higher in 2013. In fact, the Saturday after we met, he had ten tastings on the calendar. He makes sure that brides and grooms can have the cake of their dreams, and takes care to make sure they enjoy their cake-buying experience is a great one. They even go home with an adorable Cakabakery kitchen towel.



Living a Sweet Life: Jason Kakabaker

On top of the weddings—add in corporate events, birthdays, wedding and bridal showers, and any other day that includes cake, Kakabaker is very busy. To keep up with the increased demand, Kakabaker has added a baker two days a week and also has someone helping out with the social media side of the business.

And when you see his work, you realize that he has an extraordinary gift for out-of-the-box design. Cakabakery specializes in homemade treats. Their product is never out of a box. Each cake, cupcake, cookie, and cakepop is made from scratch in Kakabaker’s kitchen. With each event, he takes great care in getting to know the client so that he can make something special. His signature setup is a small, two-tiered cake as the centerpiece to a table of cupcakes.

Kakabaker and his team can virtually do every flavor of cake. Classic flavors include Vanilla, Cinnamon Vanilla, Double Chocolate, German Chocolate, Chocolate Ginger, Lemon, Carrot, Banana Cream, and Spice Cake. They also have specialty flavors for a slightly higher charge—Tres Leches, Cappuccino, Maple Bacon (yes, I said Bacon), Dark Chocolate Merlot, Key Lime, Rum and Coke, Triple Salted Caramel, Coconut Cream, Vanilla Chardonnay, Strawberry Champagne, Cherry Wheat Lager, Sweet Potato, and Peanut Butter & Jelly. The menu at Cakabakery also includes Caramel Corn, Pies, Tarts, Sugar Cookies….the possibilities are endless.


One item on the menu that has become increasingly popular is the Gluten-Free Cupcake. Using potato flour and corn starch, Cakabakery offers both Chocolate and Vanilla Gluten-Free options. They also have developed an award-winning Vegan Cupcake recipe. Kakabaker was awarded the prize for Best Vegan Cupcake in Grand Rapids by The Tender Palate, an allergen-free blog. Cakabakery’s Vegan Raspberry Lemonade Cupcake scored a perfect 10 from judges ranging in age from 9 to 75. The lemon cupcake with raspberry icing had candied lemon zest in the cake and bits of real raspberries in the icing—and is completely dairy-free and egg-free. 

Another special creation is the Cake-a-Long…which is a “portable cake.” Kakabaker bakes cake in canning jars and attaches a vintage or wooden spoon. These are the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day…and more. One of the best part about the Cake-a-Long is that, unlike the bakery’s other products, they can be shipped.

Hungry yet?

Jason has some big goals for Cakabakery. He’s looking to open a storefront where he can bake and sell his product, and eventually have more than one location. He would also like to sell to coffee shops, and retail stores. The plan would also include the opportunity to hold classes, which would be a great opportunity for his customers or friends to bake and maybe even share a few bottles of wine.

If you have a special occasion coming up, give Kakabaker a call at (616) 813-4978, visit the website at www.thecakabakery.com, “Like” Cakabakery on Facebook, or email him at kakabakj@gmail.com. He will create something magnificent just for you!





14th Annual Latino Youth Conference – Culture, Education & Dreams


March 4, 3013, Grand Rapids MI — The 14th Annual Latino Youth Conference celebrating Latino culture, higher education, and the power of dreams was held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at the GRCC Bob & Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center. The conference hosted nearly 780 8th-grade students from a variety of middle schools throughout Kent County.







The event was organized by Grand Rapids Community College’s Bob & Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center with the assistance of a steering committee comprised of various businesses, non-profits and school districts. Over the past thirteen years, 13,000 students have attended this annual conference and $30,000 in scholarships has been awarded.

The event began with breakfast and a welcome from Master of Ceremonies, Quentin Florido. Welcome remarks were made by Dr. Steven Ender, President, Grand Rapids Community College; Dr. Mayda Bahamonde-Gunnell, Executive Director for Leadership Middle Schools/K-8/ELL, Grand Rapids Public Schools.






City High 11th grader, Daniel Lopez was recognized for taking 1st place in the Art Contest for this year’s conference Poster design. Two students received $1000 scholarships to the college of their choice: Allison Arnold, Academic Achievement Award, City High SchoolMonzzerat Ayala, Academic Progress, Ottawa Hills High SchoolThe Latino Youth Committee has awarded over 35 scholarships since 2000.

The keynote speaker this year was Gabe Salazar, recognized as Americas #1 Latino Youth Speaker by Popular Hispanics Magazine. Gabe’s motivational message challenges teens to make positive choices and to dream big. Salazar’s energy, tenacity, and positive spirit led him to become a successful motivational speaker after overcoming extreme poverty and gang influence to become the first in his family to attend college.




Following the keynote students participated in various workshops in education, youth leadership, career preparation and self-esteem.

“The true dedication of the committee, and the generous support and resources of KISD, GRCC and GRPS, along with so many community businesses have made this the premier conference for 8th grade students in the state of Michigan,” said Chris Arnold, director of the GRCC Bob & Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center. “The ability to make this a sustainable reality over the past thirteen years is an indication of the commitment to our youth by these institutions and the West Michigan community.”

The Latino Youth Conference is supported by Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kent Intermediate School District, Grand Valley State University, Spectrum Health, City of Grand Rapids/Our Community’s Children, and more. 

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.