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Camp helps youth improve athletic movement

Young athletes between the ages of 6 and 10 will have the opportunity to improve their athletic movement through an expansion to the Speed and Athletic Enhancement camps offered by the Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program (SNAPP).

SNAPP supports young athletes in the Lansing area by providing training, testing, sports nutrition expertise and a research library at Michigan State University.

“Physical education has been cut out of the public school curriculum in the last decade,” stated Joe Eisenmann, director of SNAPP and professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. “This program is in response to a call out from the community and parents of younger athletes who want to help their children develop fundamental motor skills.”

The FUNdamentals of Athletic Movement is scheduled for every Sunday from 6p.m. to 7p.m. starting April 27, 2014 and ending on May 25, 2014. The camp will be held at Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. For more information or to register, visit SNAPP.msu.edu or call 517-884-6133.

Source: Joe Eisenmann, Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

4-H Renewable Energy Camp introduces local students to innovative technologies

Local youth between the ages of 13 and 19 are invited to apply to attend the 4-H Renewable Energy Camp.

Starting June 23rd, students will reside in dorms to experience college life and participate in off campus tours around the state to learn about the unique role the state of Michigan plays in renewable energy.

Topics of study will include solar, wind and cellulose power sources. Instructors will show students the process of growing crops like soy beans, corn and sugar cane specifically for the purpose of converting them into energy that can be utilized by the community they live in.

“It will be a dynamic experience that exposes children to renewable energy and how they might be a part of it,” said Jacob Dedecker, Stem Program Leader for MSU Extension. “We provide youth with examples of what careers look like now and what they may be like in the future.”

There will also be a Teen Challenge component of the camp announced in the future.  Participants will work with leading researchers and industry leaders to find solutions to renewable energy problems and make their own experiments.

While creating awareness for the work that Michigan State University and local industries do within the different facets of renewable energy technology, the camp organizers seek to highlight successes and initial endeavors in the field for students interested in pursuing a career in the field.

The application for the camp is available online here. The cost of the camp is $190 for 4-H members and $200 for non-members. The fee includes meals, lodging and camp materials. 

Source: Jacob Dedecker, MSU Extension
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Eli Broad Museum, MSUFCU partner to display preschool artwork

Art created by young artists from the MSU Child Development Lab is on public display in the lobby of MSUFCU thanks to a partnership with the Eli Broad Art Museum.
 
“Introducing young children to art gives them the opportunity to practice critical thinking in a creative way that is not offered in public schools today,” said Aimee Shapiro, Director of Education for the Broad. “You create lifelong learners when you support a child’s ability to make choices and the confidence that what they choose is important.”
 
Staff members of the Broad shared the artwork of Beverly Fishman with each preschool class before asking them to create their own masterpieces. Children were able to choose from an abundance of materials supplied by the museum. Students from both the Haslett and East Lansing campuses participated in the project.
 
“This was an effort to broaden our relationship with different communities and institutions outside of the University”, said Shapiro. “It is really important to us that the people in our area not only view the Broad as a free resource but as a part of their community.”
 
Members of the community can view the display which includes two pieces of Fishman's own art for the next three months at MSUFCU's headquarters at 3777 West Road, East Lansing.

Source: Aimee Shapiro, Eli Broad Museum
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

CAWLM donates $15,000 to Lansing Promise with partner AT&T

The Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine (CAWLM) and AT&T donated $15,000  to Lansing Promise.

This is the second year that the CAWLM has chosen Lansing Promise as the beneficiary of their annual 80s Flashback Fundraiser. Dedicated to helping students continue their education after high school, Lansing Promise awards college scholarships to Lansing students.

“Anytime we give back to a local cause there is a larger goal of positively impacting the community as a whole, not just the specific organization we give to," said Emily Caswell, Managing Editor of the CAWLM. ”From the start, the event has been, not only totally rad, but a fundraising event for a community cause.”

During the fundraiser, the University Club’s Henry Center is transformed to give guests the feeling that they’ve been transported back in time. Popular 80s cover band Starfarm provides the entertainment while costumed attendees dance, perform in an 80s Idol Contest, enjoy a candy table and a cash bar with a signature 80s drink. AT&T works as a partner to secure funding for the event.
 
“I believe that students who receive this funding for college or post-high school job training will not forget how their community supported them and in turn, when they are ready and able, will do great things for their community.” asserted Caswell.

The CAWLM 80s Flashback Fundraiser will be held on March 22, 2014 and tickets are on sale now at www.cawlm.com

Source: Emily Caswell, Capital Area Women's Lifestyle Magazine
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Study Finds 'Hip-Hop' Students Face Disciplinary Discrimination

A new study finding that Black and Latino students who identify with ‘hip-hop’ culture face unfair disciplinary practices in urban schools may help shape more equitable school districts in the Greater Lansing area.
 
Professor Muhammad Khalifa performed an ethno-graphic study to understand the full cultural context of schools in Southeastern Michigan over the course of two years. The study gathered individual responses, field notes, school data and involved shadowing subjects to create a more in depth picture than what could have been represented with interviews and surveys.
 
Khalifa, a Michigan State University assistant professor of education completed his investigations during his Doctoral work.
 
“Traditional schools have casted aside ‘hip-hop’ culture as a deviance,” said Khalifa. “There are achievement, suspension and disciplinary gaps that can be resolved if educators begin to view these students as assets instead of burdens.”
 
The findings of this study follow a recent charge from the Obama administration to discontinue zero tolerance policies that critics believe marginalize students that do not conform to their school district's cultural norms. Based on Khalifa’s study, schools can perform an equity audit to determine which students, parents, teachers and non-instructional staff are feeling excluded by the school system.
 
“We are very clear on which teachers are struggling and how to map a plan for improvement,” asserted Khalifa, “Until we have a handle on our equity data and a plan to create a district that is inclusionary instead of exclusionary, than we are not serious about reforming education.”

Professor Khalifa is currently working with a team to provide area schools with access to an online equity audit that can be performed and returned electronically. This inexpensive resource would generate a report giving school leaders and communities an equity benchmark for their school, as well as a way to move forward in an inclusive and culturally responsible way.
 
Source: Muhammad Khalifa, Michigan State University
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor
 

Grant Award to Fund STEM Education for At Risk Girls

Young girls in the Greater Lansing area will have the opportunity to participate in ‘girls only’ STEM clubs through a new program called 2020 Girls.
 
A partnership between the Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC) and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT) was recently awarded a $26,000 Women’s Initiative Grant by the Women’s Leadership Council of the Capital Area United Way to support this new program for at risk girls.
 
“15% of Computer Science students at Michigan State University are women and 85% are male,” says Kirk Riley, Execituve Director of ITEC. “That’s an incredible disparity.”
 
Since its formation in 2008, the ITEC has worked to provide resources to help students improve their grades in science and math. Their IT based programs are implemented at community locations like the Capital Area District Library, the YMCA and Lansing Community College. Students are given the opportunity to learn robotics, basic programming, digital media and game design.
 
“We try to play to a child’s inner geek and help them learn through play,” Riley said.
 
2020 Girls will have an innovative laser focus on improving the way that at risk girls experience science and math.  The ITEC is proposing that STEM clubs be set up at schools within the Lansing School District were young girls will experiment with building robots, developing apps and designing their own video games. 

The hope is that 2020 Girls will teach young girls 21st Century skills like problem solving, analytical thinking, collaboration and creativity while encouraging them to keep their sights on STEM careers past middle school when they typically lose interest.

Source: Kirk Rily, Information Technology Empowerment Center
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Video teaches social skills to teens with autism

Group video teaching could provide area schools with an effective and practical way to teach adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) important social skills, a Michigan State University researcher says.
 
“The group-based instructional method is more likely to be adopted by schools, where these individuals are primarily served, then is an approach that requires one-to-one teacher to student ratios,” said Joshua Plavnick, assistant professor of special education at MSU.
 
Allowing educators to teach students with ASD in larger groups will help public schools stretch their budgets for special education while preserving a high educational standard. Prior to Plavnick’s study, there was no study indicating that social skills could be taught to more than one student with ASD at a time.
 
A public school in Livonia is participating in a test of the procedures and eventually schools in the Greater Lansing area will be recruited providing a direct benefit to students with ASD in our area. In the future, Plavnick hopes to be able to provide educators with an implementation manual and a website that will provide support in the form of a video library.
 
Although the results of this study are preliminary, they indicate that students may be able to learn to follow video models on broader topics than just learning explicit skills. Plavnick’s team will continue to define flexible procedures to better accommodate the differences in each group, resolve issues with feasibility and sustained implementation by teachers.
 
Plavnick’s co-authors are Ann Sam of 3-C Research Institute and Samuel Odom and Kara Hume of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.


Source: Joshoua Plavnick, Michigan State University
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor

Ele's Place recognizes Jackson National Life for over $700,000 in contributions

Michigan’s First Lady Sue Snyder, who serves as the statewide spokesperson for Ele’s Place, presented a special award to Michael A. Wells, Jackson National Life Insurance Company President and CEO, for the profound impact their Lansing associates have made on the lives of grieving children at Ele’s Place. The award was presented on June 6 at an Ele’s Place donor appreciation event at the Michigan Governor’s Residence.
 
“Jackson’s continued financial support is especially important to Ele’s Place as we support more grieving children than ever before,” says Laurie Strauss Baumer, Ele’s Place President and CEO. 
 
Having contributed over $700,000 to programs over the past 10 years, Jackson’s support includes the title sponsorship and host of Ele’s Race 5K and the presenting sponsorship of the Ultimate Spartan Challenge.
 
"Our employees give time and money to countless charitable causes, but Ele’s Place has a special place in the hearts of many Jackson employees," says Danielle Robinson, Jackson Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist.
 
Since 1991, Ele’s Place has provided grief support services at no cost to families whose children are grieving the death of a parent, sibling or other loved one. Ele’s Place supports an average of 350 children plus their family members each week through its Lansing and Ann Arbor branches. 
 
Source: Molly Day, Ele's Place
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

MSU kicks off a first-of-a-kind science celebration

The MSU Science Festival is hosting more than 150 diverse scientific offerings in a ten-day festival on campus. With something for everyone, the festival celebrates the science that touches every day lives. Subjects span the science spectrum, from astronomy to human behavior to robotics to zoology.
 
"We see science as opening doors to the future," says Festival Coordinator, Renee Leone. Organizers hope that by making the festival free, that those doors are made accessible to everyone.
 
Events, held April 12 through 21, are presented by members of the MSU scientific community, as well as a number of science and technology community participants. Community participants include organizations like Fenner Nature Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing, Lansing Makers Network, and Impression 5.
 
"Research shows that attendees haven't had a substantive exchange with a science professional," explains Leone. "We'd love to help encourage an interest in science and provide a new experience for young people and lifelong learners alike."
 
A detailed schedule can be found at: http://sciencefestival.msu.edu/schedule
 
Source: Renee Leone, MSU Science Festival
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

PNC Bank and Learn Live Lead Entrepreneurial Academy partner to open an in-school bank

Students at Learn Live Lead Entrepreneurial Academy (L3) can now add money management skills to their young resumes. In an exciting partnership between the Lansing Academy and the PNC School Bank Program, L3 students are getting hands-on banking experience with the grand opening of an in-school bank.
 
"L3's cutting edge approach to education offers a perfect fit for the PNC School Bank Program, which has several features aimed at developing good savings habits and money management skills," explains PNC Retail Market Executive, Jim Paul. The program is part of PNC's Grow Up Great initiative, which has served more than 1.5 million at-risk children nationally.
 
The bank will open twice a month during the school year. Five L3 students will staff the branch during lunch periods, opening bank accounts and taking deposits. The program provides an opportunity for students to establish their first bank accounts, as well as improve their math skills as they track their savings and calculate interest earned.  
 
"PNC offers leadership, advocacy, funding, volunteers and educational resources because we believe that an investment in our children now makes good economic sense and plants the seeds for the dynamic workforce of tomorrow," says Paul.
 
Source: Jim Paul, PNC  
Writer: Veronica Gracia-Wing, Innovation News.
 
Have an innovation news story? Send Veronica an email here.

Hunter Park GardenHouse recipient of $60,900 grant for youth programming

Lansing’s Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC) will receive a $60,900 service-learning grant for a Health & Wellness service-learning community project from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. An innovative, youth-driven, community-oriented program housed within the ANC is the lucky recipient.
 
The Hunter Park GardenHouse Youth Program promotes food awareness, park stewardship, job and life skills development, and civic engagement. Program manager, Rita O’Brien says, “This grant will fund so many projects within the GardenHouse Program; our Youth Service Corps is busy with projects such as Garden-In-A-Box, Edible Park, and the Youth Food Cart.”
 
The Youth Food Cart was developed by the Service Corps group, made up of children ages 11-17, and comes complete with a business and marketing plan. The Garden-In-A-Box project gets the Corps building mobile gardening kits as well as relationships with their neighbors. The Edible Park provides harvesting opportunities to the neighborhood, and is managed by the Corps.
 
“The kids love it,” O’Brien says. “They love getting in the dirt, working with their hands and being active. There aren’t very many outlets for the youth in Lansing that want to do something for their community, and these kids are so excited to be able to serve their community.“
 

St. Vincent Catholic Charities plans for sustainable future, continued hiring

A beacon in the community since 1948, St. Vincent Catholic Charities (STVCC) has provided countless Lansing residents with services to help transform their lives for the better. “The combined expertise of our staff and the investment of our community is an essential part of empowering children and families, fostering housing stability, enhancing quality of life and advancing community health for the Greater Lansing Area,” says Community Relations and Marketing Director, Tamra Johnson. 
 
Services at STVCC include family preservation, adoption, foster care, children’s home, housing services for the homeless, refugee resettlement, immigration law clinic, counseling center, pregnancy counseling, volunteer opportunities and more. With nearly 200 staff members, 50 of whom were hired in 2012, and an eye on growth, STVCC plans to add at least 50 new employees in 2013.
 
Additionally, STVCC is working to create a system of sustainable funding that will allow them to forecast financial resources 5 years in advance.  Johnson explains: “Our hope is that instead of looking for ways to reduce cost, we can instead focus our efforts on improving services.  We want every child and family who comes to us in crisis to receive the necessary care and support they need.  We also do not want to see one child reach the age of 18 without an established family and a place to call home.  When our children and families are healthy, our community is healthy.”

Lansing College Access Network recipient of grant to help Lansing students find cash for college

The term FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a familiar acronym for many college students, but sadly for the more than 850,000 low-income students who didn’t complete the FAFSA, discovering that they were eligible for a federal Pell Grant never occurred. 9-in-10 students who do file are motivated enough by the aid to go on to college. Lansing College Access Network (LansingCAN) is leading the effort locally to help Lansing students utilize resources and break down barriers in the college application process.
 
“We organize community leaders around a singular vision and goal:” says LansingCAN program director, Marcia Spivey, “increase the postsecondary educational attainment level in the Capital area to 60% by 2025 in order to lay the foundation for a vibrant economy, healthy community, and strong workforce equipped to compete in a 21st century global economy.”
 
It was for that vision and goal that recently won LansingCAN an in-kind grant award. EduGuide, a national award-winning nonprofit specializing in research and tools for thousands of programs, guides more than one million people to take measurable steps to success. The EduCash grant, as organized by EduGuide, will help LansingCAN in getting more Eastern, Everett, and Sexton High School students on the path to success. 
 
Spivey explains, “This award will provide us with resources and best practices to create a customizable financial aid plan to increase our student federal application completion rates for Lansing high schools. We are committed to removing barriers that prevent first-generation and low-income students from pursuing a post-secondary education.”

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan aims to hire 3 throughout upcoming year

Being a Girl Scout is a fond memory for many area women and a valuable life experience for the nearly 22,000 girls represented by the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan (GSHOM) Council.  
 
“Our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who will make the world a better place,” offers Jane Parikh, GSHOM communications specialist. GSHOM supports this mission through numerous programs and services they offer on a daily basis to area girls.
 
“The programming we offer is always developed to meet the current and future needs of the girls we serve,” Parikh explains. “Our ability to be nimble enables us to provide the most up-to-date and cutting edge programs and services to girls and the adult volunteers who lead them. Maintaining relevancy while remaining true to our core mission and principles is critical to our ability to offer programs and services which will help girls become leaders in whatever they choose to do.”
 
There are total of 18 staff members between the Lansing and Jackson regional centers, and a total of 100 employees throughout the entire Council, which includes additional regional centers in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Saginaw, and Turkeyville.
 
To remain the premier leadership organization for girls, GSHOM will continue to build their membership base at both the girl and adult volunteer level. They’ll continue to innovate and seek opportunities to partner or collaborate with local businesses and organizations, on top of hiring 3 additional staff members in the upcoming year to help in achieving their mission. 

Boys & Girls Club of Lansing GET City Program Wins $10,000 National Award

Offering 200 hours of programming for Lansing area youth from low-income and under-represented backgrounds, GET City students experience year-round science and engineering of energy sustainability at a hands-on level, using advanced information technology to make an impact in their community.
 
The result of collaboration between Michigan State University’s colleges of education and engineering and the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing, Green Energy Technology (GET) in the City began in 2007, with the help of a National Science Foundation grant. Since, GET City youth have been challenged with various energy projects, understanding how they can change their carbon footprint in their communities, and how they can get others to help create change.
 
“Some of our past participants provided our Boys & Girls Club facility with an energy audit, and staff has actually implemented their plan,” offers Boys & Girls Club President, Carmen Turner. “These children walk with their heads held high; they feel they have a voice, that they’re actually listened to.”
 
The Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation honored GET City in mid-October with a 2012 Afterschool Innovator Award for youth development in science, technology, engineering, math, and information technologies. One of only five afterschool programs in the country to receive the recognition, a check for $10,000 was awarded to help expand GET City’s work.
 
“I love being able to open children’s eyes to all the different aspects of engineering, to open up a whole new world of possibilities and to watch as kids investigate their interests; this award helps to ensure we can continue to provide that experience,” says Turner. 
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