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The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan raises awareness through random acts of kindness

The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan raises awareness through random acts of kindness

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day that is officially observed by the United Nations and will be celebrated on Saturday, March 21, 2015. WDSD was established to help raise awareness of exactly what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how those with Down syndrome are an important part of our communities.

To celebrate, the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan will be committing random acts of kindness on March 21 in three West Michigan communities:  Grand Rapids, Holland and Kalamazoo.  Random acts of kindness are selfless actions performed with the intention of assisting or lifting the spirits of a stranger.  Some examples include paying for someone’s fuel at a gas station, baking cookies for a local fire station, or handing out bubble gum in a public park. 

My Town Holland: Aquatic Center to offer free swim classes at Bouws Pool

My Town Holland: Aquatic Center to offer free swim classes at Bouws Pool

HOLLAND, Mich. — Some area children will get swim lessons for free this summer, thanks to a partnership between the city and Holland Community Aquatic Center. 

Under the partnership, the Aquatic Center will expand programming at Bouws Pool to include competitive swimming, competitive diving and free swim lessons.  The free lessons will be open to children ages four and older who qualify for a free/reduced lunch program.

To cover the cost, the Aquatic Center has applied for a grant from USA Swimming and is calling on the community for donations.  Each $50 donation would cover eight swimming lessons for a child.  Donations can be made through the Aquatic Center’s website or in person at the Aquatic Center's front desk. The Aquatic Center is located at 550 Maple Ave.

My Town: Greater Ottawa County United Way on the hunt for volunteers to honor

My Town: Greater Ottawa County United Way on the hunt for volunteers to honor

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich.—The Greater Ottawa County United Way is looking for volunteers to honor, as National Volunteer Week approaches.

All county residents are encouraged to nominate people or groups for the Volunteer Star award.  Volunteer Stars will be recognized during National Volunteer Week, which runs April 13-17.

Nominations are due by Friday, March 20.  Nomination forms are available on United Way’s website or at the organization’s office, located at 115 Clover Street, Suite 300 in Holland.  People may also request a form via mail or fax by calling (616) 396-7811.

For more information, including how to locate or post volunteer opportunities on United Way’s website, call Shannon Morton at (616) 396-7811 or visit www.ottawaunitedway.org.

My Town: Donations dire for Red Cross after storms shut down drives

My Town: Donations dire for Red Cross after storms shut down drives

LANSING, Mich.—Although signs of the harsh West Michigan winter are melting away, the American Red Cross is still hurting from the season’s icy impact.

The organization says March storms forced the cancellation of more than 200 American Red Cross blood drives, leading to a shortage of nearly 7,000 blood and platelet donations. The shortfall comes after severe weather in 27 states led to more than 26,400 uncollected donations.  Meanwhile, the demand for blood and platelets remains high.

“Blood products are being delivered to hospitals almost as quickly as they come in,” said Jim Flickema, CEO of the Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “Donors who give now aren’t just restocking our shelves, they are making sure hope continues to be available for patients in need.”

Dance Marathon Fundraiser at Hope College "For the Kids" Begins March 6

Dance Marathon Fundraiser at Hope College "For the Kids" Begins March 6

HOLLAND – For a 16th consecutive year, hundreds of Hope College students are putting their time and talents into the campus-wide Dance Marathon fundraiser, “giving hope to kids.”

Organized by Hope students, the 24-hour event is conducted on behalf of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids, both to raise funds and to build awareness of the hospital’s work. It will be held at the college’s Dow Center, with the main portion of the marathon beginning with a kickoff celebration on Friday, March 6, at 7 p.m.

A variety of events have been scheduled to punctuate the marathon, including testimonies by families served by the hospital, various performances by student and local groups, the “So You Hope You Can Dance” competition featuring faculty and staff, and the popular annual lip-sync.  The total raised will be announced during a celebration that will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, as the Dance Marathon’s 5 p.m. conclusion approaches.

My Town: DNR awards more than $4 million in grants for projects battling invasive species

My Town: DNR awards more than $4 million in grants for projects battling invasive species

---NEWS RELEASE—

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the award of 20 grant projects totaling more than $4 million, under the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. 

The grant program is central to Michigan’s new invasive species initiative, which brings a multi-department, comprehensive approach to the ongoing problem of harmful, non-native invaders such as the Asian carp. The initiative enlists the expertise of the state departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality and Agriculture and Rural Development.

Projects funded in this round of grants include plans to:

My Town: Become a hero by giving blood during Red Cross Month

My Town: Become a hero by giving blood during Red Cross Month

During Red Cross Month in March, the American Red Cross reminds eligible blood donors that it doesn’t take a cape or super powers to be a hero. By donating blood, donors can become a hero for patients in need.

Red Cross Month is dedicated to the everyday heroes who support the Red Cross mission by giving blood, volunteering their time, learning lifesaving skills or making a financial contribution.

The need for blood is constant. The Red Cross depends on blood donor heroes in communities across the nation to collect enough blood to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide. Donors with all blood types are needed, particularly those with types O negative, A negative and B negative.

To learn more about donating blood and to schedule an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

 

Upcoming blood donation opportunities: