The Rapidian

The power of neighborhood engagement in driving a movement

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Parents, neighbors, schools and a host of community organizations are becoming a force for change in the lives of children.

/Matt Fowler

Underwriting support from:

Believe 2 Become

LINC is leading the neighborhood enagement work of Believe 2 Become, a collaborative partnership of hundreds of organizations and individuals who believe in the unlimited potential of Grand Rapids children, and expect them to succeed. Believe 2 Become is creating real opportunities for children and youth to become the people they aspire to be.

If you or someone you know would like to participate in Baby Scholars, Summer Learning opportunities or the community planning work in the Central and West zones contact LINC at 616.451.9140 and ask to speak to a Natural Helper.

Over 100 parents attended conference at Ford Middle in February, a huge jump from their usually lower attendance.

Over 100 parents attended conference at Ford Middle in February, a huge jump from their usually lower attendance. /LINC community revitalization inc

Our team is on the ground rain, snow or shine connecting the community to opportunities.

Our team is on the ground rain, snow or shine connecting the community to opportunities. /LINC community revitalization inc

LINC's Neighborhood Engagement team has been an agent for change in our communities. The Believe 2 Become movement is inspiring parents and neighbors to look at the value of education in a new light. This movement is broad in scope and rich in opportunities for families in Grand Rapids.  

Baby Scholars offers hands-on learning for parents and children to ensure kids 0-5 are prepared for kindergarten. Schools of Hope offers after school literacy opportunities for children in grades 1-3, and GRPS Pre-K through 11th grade students are making summers matter with Summer Learning Experiences. Our neighborhood engagement staff have recruited over 400 families from the B2B zones to participate in Baby Scholars, making it a very successful program. 

LINC is proud to see that neighborhood engagement is the engine driving this movement and the relationships we are building with families in the Believe 2 Become neighborhoods are connecting to the many opportunities available. The eagerness of these community members to see their children succeed was recently demonstrated by their overwhelming participation in Baby Scholars and continued effort to lead the community planning work in the Central and West neighborhoods.

The Believe 2 Become Central Zone began their journey on August 26, 2010. Over the last year and a half goals have been set and plans have formed to ensure that all the community’s children are supported to succeed in school, work and life. As the work moves forward and takes shape parents and neighbors will start meeting within each of the three Central Zone schools to implement the action plans in a way that best fits the student populations.

The launch of the School Based Strategy provides a great platform for parents to become more involved and work more closely with Believe 2 Become and the school which is the heartbeat of the Central Zone’s community goal: “Parents and guardians are actively involved in their child’s education from birth to high school graduation and beyond.”

While the school based strategy is rolling out, the Central community will host the following events and opportunities for parents, neighbors and children to participate in: B2B Family Fun Nights, Courageous Movie Screening, Dad’s Legal Clinic, Men in the Circle, Safe Routes to School, & Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students). Information on all of these events can be found on the LINC Events Calendar and

The West Zone recently celebrated the end of the action planning process. On March 22 César Chávez elementary filled with the excitement and pride of families as they announced the formulation of the strategies and next steps set in motion that will work towards achieving the community goal: “Children are healthy, well rounded and prepared for success by what they learn at home, at school and in the community!”

Resident Team leaders each presented their short and long term goals. One group focusing on “discipline and values at home,” is planning to host parent courses on discipline and a book club for parents, “en español!”  The second group is promoting, “the prevention of drugs and violence,” with a neighborhood teen club with activities for kids, while parents learn how to recognize red flags for drug use our teens.  Group three has set their sights on increasing ”parent volunteers at school,” and plan to help each other (parent to parent) to better their English language as well as reading skills.  They will also host Reading tutoring for kids! The fourth group is working to ensure “children hear positive messages that help them succeed,” and have planned a College Fair and Official Encouragement Day for all children! The Action Teams will work over the next few months to reach their goals.

We believe in the inherent human potential of every person and it is imperative to connect community members to opportunities which restore hope and provide the space for them to become all they were intended for. The work of Believe 2 Become is doing just that. It is offering a voice to parents and neighbors and a platform to work together to create change and impact in the lives of their children.

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