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There’s still time to get in on free summer activities

Stocking and Sibley schools host fair to highlight offerings

Grand Rapids — Stocking and Sibley Elementaries’ summer resource and registration fairs invited families and students to explore summer resources and activities and connect with local organizations. 

The events came together thanks to the collaborative efforts of both schools’ KSSN community school coordinators, Cheyenne Buelterman-Fernandez (Stocking) and Sara Scott (Sibley).

“Sara and I work closely on many projects, and this is a great example of how we have combined our talents and efforts during the pandemic to better serve our families and the community,” Buelterman-Fernandez said. 

Added Scott: “Born from a pandemic Zoom call, we made a resource fair happen at both schools in-person for families and students to attend. We worked from a list of community partners we stayed connected with and invited them based on the school’s and parents’ needs.”

Below are some of the opportunities for Grand Rapids families to get outdoors and continue learning outside of school. 

Stocking Elementary’s KSSN Community School Coordinator Cheyenne Buelterman-Fernandez, right, talks about summer programing with ‘Miss T’ from the Boys and Girls Club

Explore Outdoors 

Free Fitness Series 

Outdoor fitness classes featuring yoga, Zumba and soulful fitness are open to families for free at various parks throughout Grand Rapids on Mondays from May 23 through Aug. 29. Kids yoga classes are also available. 

Visit the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation website for more information about class times and locations. 

George Miguel, Thrive Outside’s equity and outreach coordinator, explained to students how to rent free camping gear and outdoor games

Thrive Outside Gear Rentals

A nationwide initiative started by the Outdoor Foundation in 2019, Thrive Outside Grand Rapids opened its doors to rent camping and other summer activities gear for free, with focused efforts in neighborhoods where residents face disproportionate barriers to the outdoors.

“We believe all Grand Rapids youth and their families should have equitable access to the outdoors to encourage a healthy lifestyle,” said George Miguel, equity and outreach coordinator. “Those with less have the most to gain from outdoor access.” 

The gear library facility is located at the Roosevelt Park Gym, where staff members also give instructional and safety training. Visit Roosevelt Park Gym for more information about equipment inventory, 2022 camping workshops and becoming a member. 

Family Support Networks

Family Futures’ Connections 

Family Futures’ Connections program strives to provide West Michigan parents and caregivers with children up to age 5 with knowledge and support to empower their confidence and reduce stress. 

“It’s stressful being a parent, so we’re letting families know we’re here for them and their kids to help them find resources and support,” said Leticia Miranda, community outreach navigator. 

More information on monitoring your child’s development, parent newsletters and contacts are available on the Family Futures’ Connections website. 

The Literacy Center of West Michigan is offering in-person and online classes for English language learners this summer

Language Classes for Parents

The Literacy Center of West Michigan is offering “Improving Your English and Computer Skills” for adult English language learners this summer on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Southwest Community Campus School. 

The class runs from June 27 through Aug. 4 and provides onsite childcare.

Online courses will also be available for parents.   

“This is our first time offering online classes over the summer for parents who are learning English,” said Bree Straayer, program director. “We’re helping to combat learning loss over the summer months.” 

Call coordinator Laura Avalos at (616) 459-5151 to sign up. 

Combat Learning Loss

Ground Up Learning Lab

The Kids’ Food Basket Ground Up Learning Lab is a series of interactive lessons for students and families. Activities and videos focus on community engagement, learning how to grow fresh food at home and creating healthy habits. 

Kids’ Food Basket is also looking for volunteers for their summer events

Grand Rapids Public Library’s mobile branch made an appearance at both Stocking and Sibley Elementary’s resource fairs

Summer Reading Program

Students can spend their summer exploring the world through books at the Grand Rapids Public Library. This year’s Summer Reading Program tracks reading and activity on a map and upon completion, earns a prize. 

Just for signing up, students will be entered into a raffle for the chance to win a Golden Ticket to the John Ball Zoo, admittance for you plus two guests to a day of animal encounters, a scavenger hunt and storytime at the zoo. 
Sign up online or at any Grand Rapids Public Library branch location.

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter, covering Caledonia, Kenowa Hills, Godfrey-Lee, Grand Rapids and is a roving reporter for GRCC, Wyoming, Kentwood and Byron Center. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News - covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry.  Following a stint as a copywriter for a Grand Rapids area PR firm, she transitioned from communications to freelance writing and reporting for SNN.  Read Alexis' full bio

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