Meet the Great American Heroes from Grand Rapids, MI

  • Lori Slager

    Lori Slager

    Creative Youth Center of Grand Rapids

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    Teacher Lori Slager noticed the kids she taught didn't like to think creatively. She had the dream of opening a writing center for kids in a part of town where they needed these skills the most. With the help of Cecile Fehsenfeld, she founded Creative Youth Center. Cecile is the owner of a local bookstore and has a machine on site for book printing. This allowed Lori to print a book that was a collection of the kid's stories. Creative Youth Center's focus is on writing skills but their approach is very fun and unique. It's about finding, developing and sharing the kids' voices. Their work is published in local newspapers or released in books. If they write a play, they perform it and if they write a screenplay, they film it. The Center creates an empowered sense of self and an enthusiasm for developing their voices and communication skills.

  • Andrew Stachowiak

    Andrew Stachowiak

    Project Evergreen: GreenCare For Troops

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    GreenCare for Troops is a nationwide outreach program initiated by Project EverGreen that connects participating landscape maintenance professionals and volunteers with families of the men and women currently serving our country in the Armed Forces. Lawn maintenance becomes a definite hardship when a military family's primary breadwinner is on active duty away from home. GreenCare for Troops seeks to ease this burden by helping families with caring for their yard and landscape. Our Hero Andrew is a veteran and a volunteer firefighter. He served 8 years in the marines. Andrew owns a landscape business and wanted to help his fellow soldiers and their families. He takes care of these yards at no cost to the families. This is Andrew's second year working with the GreenCare program and he also helps in the winter with SnowCare For Troops.

  • Mike Sapp

    Mike Sapp

    PAWS With A Cause

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    PAWS With A Cause trains Assistance Dogs nationally for people with disabilities and provides lifetime team support, which encourages independence. Our hero, Mike, used to train and show dogs as a hobby. A couple of hearing-impaired friends asked Mike if he would help them train their dog in their home (at the time there was only one facility in the country that trained service dogs). One day he arrived for a training session and was met by four other deaf people who wanted a service dog – and PAWS With A Cause was started. Since then PAWS has expanded considerably and trains dogs for many different needs for people across the country. Mike started as a guy who had a knack for training dogs and became someone who helped shape the service dog industry.