Get to know these Grand Rapidians


With social distancing guidelines extended until at least April 30, it appears this pandemic is not going away anytime soon.

While you stay at home and do your part to flatten the curve, read some of the great stories Grand Rapids Magazine has shared about what West Michiganders are doing to better our community.

A promising future

Jermale Eddie Photo by Teri Genovese

Grand Rapids has a number of small businesses that cover almost any industry you can think of.

In addition, there are a number of Black-owned businesses that, if they aren’t already, should be on your radar as must-visit places, once you’re allowed to leave your house again.

You can buy gift cards at some of the businesses featured and redeem them once the stay home order is lifted.

Striving for inclusion

Daniel Drent, left, and Alysha Lach-White Photo by Kelly Sweet

Heartside used to be the center of activity in Grand Rapids, but now, it’s lagging behind.

Daniel Drent and Alysha Lach-White, both part of the Heartside Downtown Neighborhood Association, are doing everything they can to improve the neighborhood that officially is designated as one block east and west of Division Avenue, between W. Fulton Street and Wealthy Street SW.

Both agree the key is to embrace Heartside for what it is — a place that’s home to people of diverse income brackets, including the homeless.

Church to art hub

Carol Moore Photo by David Sparks

Carole Moore’s love of historic buildings grew during her early life in Savannah, Georgia, and is now the impetus behind her hands-on, all-in approach to restoring historic buildings in Grand Rapids.

The historic Third Reformed Church, 1001 Hermitage St. SE, is her ninth historic renovation.

Keeping her focus on invigorating the neighborhood community, Moore rolls up her sleeves and gets into the process herself, engaging in projects like removing oak trim from the interior that she stripped and refinished at home.

The Puberty Lady

Wendy Sellers
Wendy Sellers Photo by Teri Genovese

What started as a mom volunteering to help in her kids’ classes, using her nursing experience to help them understand puberty, has turned into an over 30-year career for Wendy Sellers that brings her expertise around the world as the co-author for the state of Michigan’s sex-ed curriculum.

Kids know her as “The Puberty Lady,” and the main focus these days for Sellers is addressing what she calls “the wonder years” of fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Her curriculum for these grades is now used in 32 states and six countries, all with an approach of “less shame, more wonder.”

Bonus: New year, new you

city urban park illustration
Photo by iStock/Ardeaa

Hopefully, the four previous stories have motivated you to open that business you’ve always dreamed of opening or improve your community.

Whatever it is you’ve always put on the back burner, now is a good time to get back on track. Create a new New Year’s resolution and take the necessary steps you can to achieve that goal.

According to U.S. News & World Report, 80% of those who make New Year’s resolutions fail to keep up the momentum. Set your goal and be part of the 20% who succeed.

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