One thumbprint by one woman — Esperance, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) — helped start a movement that has reached from the top of Kilimanjaro to the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon, from dusty African villages to glamorous cocktail parties in the United States.
“My wife was driving to work and passed a homeless man who was sleeping with his head on the cement. She put a pillow under his head and she sees the man walking around with that pillow. Something so small can have such a big impact and it didn’t change her quality of life. It took her 60 seconds and it meant a lot to him.”
Evidence of homelessness is on view daily here in Grand Rapids—along Division Avenue in particular, where many shelters and services are located—but there is a group of homeless individuals who you aren’t likely to see on your commutes around town.
Selina Parks remembers her first steps into a Grand Rapids homeless shelter in vivid detail.
“Housing is a basic right that everyone deserves,” Andrea Martin, housing coordinator at Arbor Circle, said. Yet, according to Arbor Circle’s website, there are over 3,300 youths who experience homelessness every day in West Michigan. “We want to get the word out so people understand that youth homelessness does exist in their communities even if they don’t always see it,” Martin said.
It’s not hard to find Tami VandenBerg’s house. Set in a cozy part of Eastown, her front yard is the only one on her street littered with yard signs. “Black Lives Matter,” and “Science is Real,” reads one; another backs a Democrat for state attorney general.
Safety is a key concern for Grand Rapids residents who are interested in trading in their car – at least some of the time – for a bicycle.
Having your period sucks. Period. Running to Walgreens once a month to get tampons or pads for Aunt Flo is annoying enough, but for many, it’s also a financial burden. Local 501(c)(3) nonprofit Be a Rose aims to help women break barriers, not the bank, when it comes to accessing feminine hygiene products.
Women At Risk International, otherwise known as WAR International, is an organization that recovers victims of human trafficking and employs them.