Dream maker

From dashing people’s dreams to helping fulfill people’s dreams.

Notable reads

“All Manner of Things” was selected as a Michigan Notable Book.

A colorful trail

Why Alice Jasper is on a mission to lead people of color into the outdoors.

Celebrating Black literature

The Black Book Exchange Box project encourages reading.

Girl power

A local mom is creating safer beauty products for tweens and teens.

Angling on the Grand

Tom Werkman shares his love of fishing with other anglers.

Church to art hub

Carol Moore purchased the historic church and is leading it through a transformation.
Gilles Renusson

Cooking up awards

Gilles Renusson, French Agricultural Merit award winner, discovers profession in boarding school.
Philomena Mantella

Q&A: Philomena Mantella

Grand Valley State University is gaining a fresh perspective with new President Philomena V. Mantella.
Jeff Moore

‘Dream’ Store Opens Doors

Self-described “huge comic books fan and toy collector” Jeff Moore launched the venture of his dreams in Rockford.
Four Birds Airstream Gathering Spaces

Family Debuts Mobile Event Venue

A pair of Calvin College grads and their kids have moved back to West Michigan with an Airstream trailer and a vision in tow.
David Leslie

A Journey of Self-discovery

For David Leslie, leaving his hometown of Grand Rapids in the 1990s began a 25-year journey west and back. He’s a furniture craftsman, owner of The Maker’s Bench, but that wasn’t what he set out to do intentionally.
StickonStump merchandise

Simple Motivation

A doodle drawn out of frustration led local artist and writer Peter Welmerink to launch StickonStump, a simple cartoon figure who waxes motivational.
Janay Brower Public Thread

Upcycling for the Greater Good

Social justice and passion have always been a part of Janay Brower’s work. Before starting Public Thread, she worked for the city of Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness, doing systems change and public policy work. But despite the work she was doing, Brower wanted to find a way to foster deeper systemic change.
70x7 outreach luncheon

Building a New Life

Nakajabu Sims’ probation officer told him that he was the poster child to see if 70x7 Life Recovery really works. Turns out, the nonprofit does its job well.
Photo by Kevin Kamis

Make Room for the Mountain Minnies

Say hello to the winter adventure program designed to get little girls outside to brighten the colder months.
Photo by Johnny Quirin.

Finding Friends

“We’ve been here six and a half years. It’s time to put an expiration date on it and move on,” said Kim Carignan, 54, a resident of Grand Rapids’ northeast side. Carignan, who has lived in Detroit, Chicago, New York and Naples, Florida, said she and her husband haven’t been able to make the friendships they’d hoped for in West Michigan, something she said was easier in the other places she’s lived.
Gemini Handmade's new store provides greater retail space.

Gemini Handmade Expands to Collaborate with Community

This past June, Parliament the Boutique rebranded as Gemini Handmade after five years on the South Division Avenue for the Arts corridor. Now, the local artisan-based shop has made another big move—to 963 Cherry St. SE.
"Tyler was given those wool mittens while he was homeless; we washed them and he was able to provide them to someone else who volunteered at the event and also happens to be without a home."

Purple Backpack Project Delivers Lifesaving Items to Homeless

As temperatures drop and snowstorms await, local nonprofit Dirt City Sanctuary said even though items such as a proper pair of boots should be an essential necessity to surviving winter, many individuals in West Michigan walk the streets without such provisions.
Author Mary McKSchmidt walks along the beach near their home in Holland, Michigan.

Navigating Uncharted Waters

In Mary McKSchmidt’s latest book, “Uncharted Waters: Romance, Adventure, and Advocacy on the Great Lakes,” she’s sailing with her husband on Lake Michigan, taking a view of its eastern edge, when she’s overcome by a nearly spiritual wonder. She’s scanning the shoreline for the spot she stood as a girl — recalling a vibrant springtime that left her in love with the water she sailed.




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