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Our place, your voices: Rediscovering Grand Rapids

Moving to a new state makes me think a little bit harder about the things I'll miss in this current one.
The Fishladder: A Grand Rapids landmark that carries significance for me and my time at the Rapidian.

The Fishladder: A Grand Rapids landmark that carries significance for me and my time at the Rapidian. /Kendra Vanderlip

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The Rapidian is your hyperlocal news source powered by citizen journalism. Everything on The Rapidian is about our place- Grand Rapids, Michigan- and written by your voices. Neighbors keeping neighbors informed about local businesses, events, and issues. 


As an open and welcoming platform for all voices, the Rapidian is truly powered by the people. Please keep the power going with a donation today. This is our place, and these are your voices.


During our Spring Fund Drive, we also have special ways to thank our donors! Along with new ways to show your Rapidian love with pencils, Issue Press notebooks and Citizenshirt bags, we also have great gift certificates donated to the cause from these fine establishments:

/Kendra Vanderlip

My husband and I by our new river, the Mississippi.

My husband and I by our new river, the Mississippi. /Kendra Vanderlip

I am at a crossroads in my life.

For the first time in my 30 plus years of being a Grand Rapids resident, I am looking at moving out of state to complete the next step of my education- 543 miles away in Memphis, Tennessee. As I pack up the home my husband and I have made, I am overwhelmed with all these things that I should be doing this summer, my last summer in Grand Rapids. For example, I’m excited for Festival of the Arts, which has been a family tradition since I was old enough to walk, and I’m thinking about all the restaurants I want to visit one last time. And I am also thinking back on how much I am going to miss certain things about this city. I wonder if my new home will have landmarks like the Fishladder, or will they shoot fireworks over the Mississippi like we shoot fireworks over the Grand? One thing that I am hopeful they have is a citizen guided news source like The Rapidian.

I didn’t know what The Rapidian was until last summer, when I was frantically searching for an internship that worked into my full summer schedule. When I showed up for my interview, I was surprised at how close The Rapidian offices were to the center of the city. The staff were engaging and supportive, and with a summer staff of five interns, we were given the basic tools to write about our city. The next step was to explore it and ask questions we had never considered asking before.

I learned so much more about this city that I had grown up in my entire life in a span of three months that I had in the previous 30 years. I discovered new organizations, new venues and created new friendships. I tried food I would never have tried before, and found a voice on issues I wouldn’t have broached before.

What I discovered at The Rapidian was a passion and pride for the city I am in. It provided a platform for likeminded people who wanted to join. But most importantly, it gave me a platform for the issues that I was most passionate about, and my internship at The Rapidian prepared me to thoughtfully research and present these ideas in a current news setting. My time at The Rapidian has been a valuable part of my education, and I still vigorously recommend it to any of my classmates when they voice the need for an internship. I tell them about the skills I learned and how I’ve been able to apply them to my schoolwork. I tell them that working for The Rapidian is a great way to get to know the city.

I’m going away. That part isn’t changing. This is the next step of my journey, and while it is scary and sad to leave a city I have come to know so intimately, I am also proud that I have been able to accomplish such a huge goal.

It is because of organizations like The Rapidian that I am able to do so. I may be leaving, but The Rapidian is still here.

Please consider donating to this hyper-local citizen-driven news source so that new people can discover and fall in love with Grand Rapids, just like I did.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.