The staff of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) are experts at working with partners to obtain results that benefit individual youth and ultimately the entire community. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched a five-year, $75 million initiative, “America Healing,” that aims to improve life outcomes for vulnerable children and their families by promoting racial healing and eliminating barriers to opportunities. Sherry Grice, MSUE Calhoun County 4-H educator, was approached by the Albion Community Foundation director to assist in pursuing the W.K. Kellogg initiative with a grant proposal. The foundation called on Sherry to provide the leadership with Substance Abuse Prevention Services within the Albion community for the next three years if they were successful in obtaining the grant. Albion Community Foundation in partnership with Calhoun County MSUE 4-H Youth Development and Substance Abuse Prevention Services received a $120,000 grant for racial healing in the Albion community as part of W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s $75 million effort. The community partnership proposal was one of 119 chosen from among 925 grant proposals from across the nation
Albion’s “America Healing” initiative will focus on developing the leadership skills of local youth as they examine the root causes of racial issues that they face. The youth will use a racial healing approach to develop solutions for the problems they experience. Youth will participate in key programming such as Folkpatterns, a cultural-heritage project; 4-H Exploration Days, a pre-college program that exposes young people to diversity from across the state; and PeaceJam Programs. PeaceJam involves a two-day workshop at Western Michigan University in which the youth work with a Nobel Peace Laureate on social justice issues. The youth then take what they have learned and implement a community service-learning project in their community.
Hats off to Sherry for the terrific work that she and the youth are doing in Calhoun County.