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Tag Archive | "Red Hawk Elementary"

Youth center growing


En-Gedi, meaning “a place to be refreshed,” seems to have brought a breath of fresh air to the Cedar Springs Community as area residents and business professionals strive to provide the much-needed support to keep this community youth center alive.

En-Gedi provides 6-12th graders with a place to hang out, provide special events, mentoring, tutoring, intramural sports, and community service opportunities. The center is growing by leaps and bounds, with 85-plus kids attending every day, Monday—Thursday, from 2:15-5 p.m. at Red Hawk Elementary. With that many kids, an additional classroom was greatly needed, according to En-Gedi Director and Solon Wesleyan Youth Pastor, Tom Holloway.

The Mabie Family (Don, June, Chris, and Tim Mabie) recently stepped up to make that  happen with a second significant cash contribution after learning a fifth room was needed.

“We have over 200 students registered with En-Gedi now,” said Holloway. “Recently we had 110 students at En-Gedi all on one day. We keep outgrowing our space. En-Gedi has the general gathering room with a ping-pong table, video games, couches, and a pool table; the media center for reading, art, and tutoring; the computer lab for students to use and the food room/oasis room provides an area for snacks, drinks, board games, and a television.” He said that with the Mabie donation, a fifth room was added so a “Ga-Ga Ball” court could be assembled. “This is a smaller-scaled circular version of indoor soccer,” he explained. “The kids like some physical activity and this new game is both fast-paced and exciting. Volunteers will be painting and decorating the recently added rooms over spring break,” he added.

Holloway continued, “This youth center has been on the hearts and minds of many people within this community for several years. I believe God is leading this project which is why En-Gedi’s needs continue to be met one-by-one just when we need them the most.”

En-Gedi board member Sue Wolfe feels the same way. “We are so grateful for our local business supporters that have donated either funds or equipment for En-Gedi,” said Wolfe.  “Many individuals, the ministerial association, and churches have donated money and volunteered hours to En-Gedi, which is a non-profit Christ-centered 501c3 organization. We are very grateful for the outpouring of support,” she added.

Most recently, CAN (Community Action Network) decided to assist En-Gedi by volunteering. “This exemplifies En-Gedi’s vision of working together with organizations already in place to help students make positive life choices and under the belief the community is Better Together,” explained Wolfe.

Read more in next week’s Post about a special event to be held on May 13 at Cedar Springs High School at 7 p.m. called “En-Gedi—Come be refreshed.” You won’t want to miss it!

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Survivor contestant visits En-Gedi youth center


Mike Skupin, a second-year contestant on the CBS television series Survivor, shared his inspirational story last Thursday with approximately 120 En-Gedi Youth Center students (6th grade through high school) and parents at Red Hawk Elementary.
Many remember him as the man who passed out and fell into the fire on live TV and was medivaced by helicopter to a hospital in Australia.
Those who watch Survivor know that Skupin didn’t win the show’s $1 million prize. Instead, he learned during his time on the show that God had other plans for his life.
Students were fascinated by Skupin’s stories of sleep deprivation, eating inspects, extreme temperatures, snakebites, and the emotional challenges of living away from family and friends.
Skupin told the students what it was like for him to walk five hours with only the clothes on his back to the little stretch of dirt in the Australian outback that he and the other contestants would call home for two months. The temperature was 120 degrees, so as soon as they arrived at their campsite, they jumped into the river—and watched in horror as dozens of fresh water crocodiles came thrashing out of the water. Other dangers they encountered were ten types of poisonous snakes, thousands of bats, Dingo dogs that lunged for an animal or human’s throat, and six- to seven-foot-long lizards that tried to use their razor-sharp claws to climb humans like trees.
Because Survivor is all about winning, Skupin said that he couldn’t become friends with or trust any of the contestants. He felt lonely and started talking to God. He said that in the beginning, he was mostly “whining and strategizing to God,” but it was the start of him forming a solid relationship and friendship with someone he could trust.
While trying to survive the weeks in the outback, Skupin learned that “you have to spend time together in order to form a friendship,” so he included God in his entire day. He also learned that “prayers are not wasted” and felt his relationship with God growing in his heart during the show.
On the 18th day of the show, Skupin passed out and fell hands and face first directly into the fire. According to Skupin’s bio, “Five different burn surgeons told Mike he’d have to have skin graft surgery to repair his hands. After 10 days in the intensive care unit, as Mike was being wheeled to surgery, the chief of surgery removed his bandages and said, ‘I’ve been the Chief of Surgery in the number one burn center in Australia for 35 years and what’s happened to your hands is medically inexplainable.’” Skupin’s hands had been miraculously healed.
“When a doctor with 35 years of experience tells me what has happened to my hands is medically inexplainable, I knew God had healed me for a purpose,” said Skupin.
His goal is to empower kids to make the best choices with whatever is thrown at them. Following his presentation in the cafeteria, Skupin graciously signed autographs, visited with the students, and posed for photographs. “En-Gedi is an amazing gift to this community and a wonderful opportunity to reach out to young people. I can see great potential with this organization,” said Skupin.
Skupin has spoken almost 2,000 times to over 8 million people at live events all over the world. He is co-authoring a book with Steven Covey, Ken Blanchard, and Brian Tracy called “Discovering Your Inner Strength” due to come out this summer.
Originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan, Skupin currently lives in White Lake, Michigan with his wife Karen and their seven children.

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Advisory group recommends school improvements


Group proposes sinking fund to finance repairs

By Judy Reed

They were once a source of pride in the community—and praised by other school districts. But the tennis courts at Red Hawk Elementary are now in grave disrepair and no longer needed now that there are much newer tennis courts at the high school and middle school. And the courts at Hilltop are in even worse shape.
Those are just two things that need to be addressed, according to a board advisory group that made recommendations for repair of the Cedar Springs School district’s infrastructure last November.
Board Advisory Group members Sue Wolfe, Barb Lehman, Heidi Reed, Shannon Vanderhyde, Scott Fuller, and Amy Galle identified a list of priorities that centered on maintaining the community’s investment, and discussed ways to fund the improvements.
Some of the things the group recommended were removal of the tennis courts at Red Hawk and Hilltop; repaving parking lots and roads, curb and gutter; increased parking at Cedar Trails, Beach, and high school; replace gym floors at Beach and Cedar View; replace synthetic turf; security modifications; energy efficient boilers; carpeting; several technology improvements, etc.
“The campus is the community showcase. Landscaping and building structures need to highlight and support our image as a great school,” the group noted in the report.
The advisory board said that the general fund revenue and expenses have stayed within a tight range over the last several years, and that the needed repairs could not be met within the current general fund. The group gave the board two ways to pay for the improvements, with one being a bond issue, and the other a sinking fund.
The school board opted to look at the sinking fund, which can be used for the construction and repair of school buildings, and the purchase of real estate, but not routine maintenance or the purchase or replacement of equipment.
On Monday night, the school board saw a rough draft of the language. According to the rough draft, they would be asking for one mill ($1.00 on every $1,000 of taxable evaluation) for a period of 10 years.
While the rough draft mentioned real estate, both the board and Superintendent Ron McDermed were adamant that was not part of what they were considering. “We are not planning to buy property,” remarked McDermed.
The board instructed him to check on whether the “real estate” language needed to be in the proposal. He agreed and will bring back the proposal to the board next month. If they approve the language, the sinking fund proposal will be on the ballot in May, at the same time as the next school board election.

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