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My Town GR Central: Robin Williams film tribute Aug. 26 to benefit mental health programs

My Town GR Central: Robin Williams film tribute Aug. 26 to benefit mental health programs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Community members are encouraged to pay tribute to actor and comedian Robin Williams with a special film benefit Aug. 26.

At 8 p.m., the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts will hold a memorial screening of “What Dreams May Come,” which starred Williams as a man who dies in a car crash, then searches the afterlife for his wife.  Proceeds from the event will go to a local mental health agency, raising awareness and support for others struggling with mental health issues like Williams was.

Williams was found dead in his home Aug. 11 from apparent suicide.  His wife says the 63-year-old was battling depression, anxiety and the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

My Town: School agreement expected to grow West Michigan's health industry

My Town: School agreement expected to grow West Michigan's health industry

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Two West Michigan schools are teaming up to help grow West Michigan’s health industry.

Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport University have signed a deal to allow students who finish the medical assistant program at GRCC to transfer to Davenport for a health degree.  As part of the seamless transfer process, students must also pass a certification exam of American Medical Technologists or the American Association of Medical Assistants.

Davenport University President Dr. Richard Pappas says the transfer agreement will help grow the area’s skilled health workforce, in addition to benefiting students.

Davenport offers associates degrees in medical assisting and bachelor’s degrees in a variety of health areas, including medical case management, health services administration and nursing. 

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

My Town: GVSU and DHS awarded research grant for family support program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Human Services is teaming up with Grand Valley State University to measure the success of a family support program in more than 150 Michigan schools.

A three-year, $1.05 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will go toward measuring the impact of the Pathways to Potential program in Michigan.  The program places DHS case workers in schools to make it easier for children and their families to address barriers to their safety, health, education, attendance and self-sufficiency.

“We know that many children struggle in school because of outside of school challenges affecting both students and their families,” Gov. Snyder said. “The goal of Pathways to Potential is to reduce or eliminate those challenges by conveniently connecting families to the services they need to help everyone become more successful.”

My Town: Our Kitchen Table improves lives through the power of plants

My Town: Our Kitchen Table improves lives through the power of plants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— A leafy green initiative to improve the lives of Grand Rapids families is leading to a plant free-for-all this weekend.

On Saturday, July 26, Our Kitchen Table will be giving away a variety of vegetable plants to those who rely on the United Church Outreach Ministry and the Asian West Michigan Association for support.  Kale, collars, broccoli, cauliflower, Bok Choy, chard, lettuce, cabbage and Brussel sprouts will all be available on a first come, first serve basis. The plant pick-up will take place at Gerald R. Ford Academic Center, 851 Madison Ave. SE from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

GRAND RAPIDS – Starting this week, people in Kent County will be receiving letters and phone calls asking families to take part in the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

This health survey is the largest-conducted telephone survey in the world. The survey will help the KCHD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track critical health issues, as well as creating and evaluating public health programs in Kent County. Issues and Answers, a phone marketing research firm, will be conducting the survey on behalf of the Kent County Health Department (KCHD).

My Town: Meijer sponsors program for booming prescription drug industry

My Town: Meijer sponsors program for booming prescription drug industry

WALKER, Mich.— Meijer is sponsoring a program to help meet the need of the growing prescription drug industry.

The Walker-based retailer is teaming up with the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology to train the under and unemployed to become pharmacy technicians. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of pharmacy technicians needed is expected to increase 20 percent by 2022.  Meijer also anticipates higher demand because of national health care and an aging patient population that relies on more prescriptions.

Caught Being Safe program launches statewide

Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and Michigan’s Field Neurosciences Institute have teamed up with McDonald’s of Michigan to once again launch “Caught Being Safe,” a statewide bicycle/scooter helmet safety program. Kids wearing helmets and “caught being safe” by participating law enforcement officials will treated to a free ice cream cone or Apple Dippers at McDonald’s. 

According to the Field Neurosciences Institute (of Michigan): “Caught Being Safe! has shown a significant increase in both helmet utilization and public awareness regarding the critical importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. This program has impacted not only children but adults as well.”