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Tag Archive | "volunteers"

Community pulls together for brothers battling cancer


Carts full of cans were lined up inside and outside the Cedar Springs Meijer store Monday and Tuesday, as volunteers worked to feed over 86,000 of them into the machines. Photo courtesy of Team Rickerstrong.

Carts full of cans were lined up inside and outside the Cedar Springs Meijer store Monday and Tuesday, as volunteers worked to feed over 86,000 of them into the machines. Photo courtesy of Team Rickerstrong.

Teen Brison Ricker, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, is getting better with the alternative treatments he is getting from the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. Photo from the Ricker’s gofundme page.

Teen Brison Ricker, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, is getting better with the alternative treatments he is getting from the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. Photo from the Ricker’s gofundme page.

By Judy Reed

The greater Cedar Springs community has shown their support over the last nine months for the family of Brison and Preston Ricker, two teen brothers fighting cancer, but the massive number of cans donated at their annual can drive at Meijer this week took everyone by surprise.

This month’s drive started at 5 p.m. Monday, and by 11 p.m. Monday evening, they had to stop counting. Volunteers returned on Tuesday evening, hoping to finish it off. But the cans kept coming, and at last count, over 86,000 cans were donated, and they still have a trailer that is 2/3 full of cans that they are holding until next month.

“We knew that this month’s can drive would be a larger turnout but honestly we were pleasantly shocked at the amount of cans that kept coming throughout the first night and continued again the second night,” said Melissa Egan, of Team Rickerstrong. “It was such a great thing to witness. So many people continue to support Brison in his fight by faithfully donating each month, but when Preston also was diagnosed…the support doubled and that is why we believe it was so much more successful.”

Egan said that they cannot express appreciation enough for the continued support from not only our community, but surrounding communities. “The love, prayers and support for this family is truly amazing. And who would have thought that a can drive that originally started as a way to possibly raise a quick $500 here or there would turn into a monthly fundraiser that has now brought over $30,000! Each month we have loyal volunteers that help feed machines or empty returnables into carts…ranging from adults to kids, all wanting to support the Ricker family.”

Team Rickerstrong started the once a month can drives in July, when the family took Brison to Texas to be seen and treated at the Burzynski Clinic. Dr. Burzynski offered an alternative treatment for Brison’s inoperable brain tumor (DIPG), which conventional treatment could not eradicate. He had been given only months to live. But this alternative costs $17,000 a month, paid up front. And it is not covered under insurance. The good news is that it is working, and Brison is feeling better than he has in months, according to his mom, Kim Ricker. He is eating again, and getting stronger, but not yet walking on his own. He even went to Swirl last weekend, which she said made him really happy.

Preston, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December, and had it surgically removed in January, is recovering, and will soon start radioactive iodine therapy.

Kim was also thankful for the success of this week’s can drive. “It was incredible to see the out pouring of love and support with all the cans that were donated! Although a majority of them came from this amazing community, we had people from surrounding communities and even as far as Caledonia donating their cans. We feel so blessed and are truly grateful to everyone who donated, and all the people who worked so hard getting over 86,000 cans put in the machines. Of course a huge thanks to Meijer, we could do not do this without their support,” she added.

The Rickers are faced with needing a minimum of $17,000 every month for Brison’s treatment. “This has to be paid up front; it is not like normal hospital bills that can accumulate and be paid back over years,” explained Kim. “If we don’t pay, Brison doesn’t get his treatment. Although the can drive was a huge success and raised more than we could have imagined, that amount covers two weeks of treatment, so the need to keep raising funds is great.”

If you would like to donate, you can visit their gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong, or participate in a fundraiser with Team Rickerstrong at https://www.facebook.com/teambrison/. You can also or send a check to them at 5370 Dio Dr., Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Where are the volunteers?


The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


 

What has happened to good old volunteerism? It is an opportunity to help and improve our community. Volunteering allows you to explore career choices, learn new skills, or get that positive boost that you might not be getting elsewhere. Some schools and employers urge their students and employees to volunteer in their community. Rewards for volunteering differ for each organization but it always involves a sense of pride in a job well done. And volunteerism looks great on your resume.

Volunteering can breathe new life into an organization. It is working as a team to pull off an event or complete a project. You meet interesting people and you never know which person might be the one who inspires you and gives you a new sense of your skills, talents, and self. You may discover skills or talents you never knew you had. You can practice time management, priority setting, increased creativity, improved interpersonal and leadership skills, and customer service. You have the opportunity for intergenerational interaction and fun!

Here is a short list of organizations and/or service groups in need of volunteers: The Kent Theatre; C.S. Library; Howard Christensen Nature Center; Red Flannel Committee; Lions Club; Rotary; Women’s Club; and the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. Please contact these groups to find out how you can help. I would like to thank all of you who have been volunteering in so many ways. You have made a difference and I appreciate all the hours you have donated to make our community a better place.

Mary K. Balon

Kent Theatre Volunteer Coordinator

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Year’s second Adopt-A-Highway cleanup on the way


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Motorists should be on the lookout beginning Saturday as thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers head back to state roadways to pick up litter. Participants in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) program will clean highway roadsides from July 16 to 24 during the second of three scheduled pickups this year.

“We have tremendous appreciation for the Adopt-A-Highway volunteers and their dedication to keeping Michigan roadsides clean,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Please be alert during the litter pickup period and drive cautiously when you see these crews at work.”

N-Adopt-a-highway2Every year, dedicated Adopt-A-Highway volunteers collect about 70,000 bags of trash, generating about a $5 million value annually for state taxpayers. The popular program began in 1990 and has grown to involve nearly 3,000 groups cleaning 6,400 miles of highway.

Getting involved in the program is straightforward. Volunteers include members of civic groups, businesses and families. Crew members have to be at least 12 years old and each group must include at least three people. Groups are asked to adopt a section of highway for at least two years. There is no fee to participate. Adopt-A-Highway signs bearing group names are posted along the stretches of adopted highway.

When working in a highway right of way, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers wear high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests required by federal regulations. MDOT provides free vests and trash bags, and arranges to haul away the trash.

Sections of highway are still available for adoption. Interested groups can get more information at www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

The year’s final Adopt-A-Highway pickup is scheduled for the fall, from Sept. 24 to Oct. 2.

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Red Cross responds to deadly West Virginia floods 


 

Red Cross disaster teams are working around the country and the clock to help people affected by disasters big and small this summer. 

Red Cross disaster teams are working around the country and the clock to help people affected by disasters big and small this summer. 

Michigan sends volunteers, supplies to support relief efforts; help urgently needed 

The American Red Cross is responding to a massive flooding disaster in West Virginia. There have been at least 24 deaths reported, and thousands are still without power, gas service and even water. As many as 60 roads are closed to flooding and flood damage. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared state of emergencies in 44 counties, and President Obama declared a Disaster Declaration for the state. Dozens of people have had to be rescued and search and rescue missions are still ongoing. Officials continue to estimate that thousands of homes have experienced damage from these tragic floods.

Red Cross workers opened numerous shelters in Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Roane counties, and are providing meals, relief supplies and other assistance to those affected, as well as meals for first responders. On Saturday night, June 25, the Red Cross opened or supported 17 shelters where more than 400 people slept overnight.

This is a difficult time for many families unexpectedly forced from their homes. Red Cross workers are providing meals, relief supplies and other assistance to those affected as well as meals for first responders, while disaster mental health workers are helping people cope. Health workers are helping to replace needed items like prescription medications and eyeglasses.

“Our Michigan volunteers are already helping people affected by the terrible flooding in West Virginia,” said Kimberly Burton, Red Cross Regional Chief Executive Officer. “We have been mobilizing much-needed resources since these devastating storms hit and are monitoring the situation with local and state officials to make sure people get the help they need.”

HOW TO HELP: These are large relief responses and the Red Cross needs the public’s support now. Financial donations are the quickest way to get people the help they need. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding, wildfires and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-

RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org.

Or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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Post travels to Panamá


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Mikalah Gribbell, of Trufant, and currently a senior at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, is majoring in premedical preparation and biology with minors in Spanish and chemistry. For one week this May, she traveled with the Ball State chapter of Global Brigades on a medical/dental brigade, and took the Post with her.

“Global Brigades is an international organization that works to bring volunteers to underserved and undeveloped areas of the world such as Africa and central and South America,” she explained. “As an organization, they target communities that are willing to work to become more developed and self-sustaining. The organization sends medical, public health, water, environmental, business, micro finance, and human rights brigades to these communities and eventually the communities are brought up to a self-sustaining level where they have a true economy and individuals have hygienic facilities in their homes, access to healthcare and legal support, and the potential for future growth and development.”

Her brigade worked in the Coclé region of West Panamá. “In three days, (with the help of American and Panamanian doctors and dentists) we provided basic healthcare and dentistry services for 432 people. As needed, we filled prescriptions for blood pressure medicines, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, anti-parasitic medications, and allergy medicines. We also taught classes about proper hygiene, sexually transmitted diseases, and caring for aches and pains.” She said that as a group, they also spent one day helping families build hygienic latrines and showers. “The experience was incredible and highly rewarding,” she remarked. “The Panamanian people were beyond grateful for our help, and are looking forward to the other brigades that will visit their communities. I hope to expand on this experience as I approach a career in medicine and consider working in rural/underserved communities in America.”

Thank you, Mikalah, for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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January News


Upcoming Events

1/11 – Board of Education Meeting

1/15 – Student Early Release

1/22 – End of Semester 1 (grades 6-12)

1/29 – Student Early Release

2016 High School Winter Musical “Wizard of Oz”

For more information visit: www.hprodcshs.com/wizard-2016.html

Mark your calendar for the show on Feb 4, 5, 6, & 7

High School Auditorium

School Breakfast

Does your child miss breakfast – no time or simply isn’t hungry first thing in the morning?

Here’s a solution: School Breakfast!

School breakfast provides 1/4 of your child’s daily nutrition needs and research shows breakfast provides fuel for school and boosts brain power. Breakfast at school is affordable, too. It’s available for all students and if you qualify for free or reduced price lunch, you also qualify for free or reduced price breakfast. Encourage your child to join us for school breakfast.

Time Served: 7:10 am & 8:30 am

Volunteers are welcome

In Cedar Springs there are several ways parents may volunteer to help the school maintain the quality of educational services. Volunteer to work in the classroom with your child’s teacher, work at book fairs, pop popcorn, help with picture day, etc. Please check with your child’s building office for volunteer opportunities.

To help insure the safety of our students, all volunteers willbe required to complete a consent form for a criminal history search. Results from these searches are kept completely confidential.

Please visit www.csredhawks.org/Parents/VolunteerInformation/index.html for the consent form and return to your child’s building office.

Posted in Cedar Springs Public SchoolsComments Off on January News

Community Playground Build completed


CSPS-Cedar-Trails-Kids-Playground-Build-webCommunity Playground Build completed on April 30 at Cedar Trails Elementary Kindergarten and 1st grade playgrounds.  Thank you to all the volunteers who came out to support this event!

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City looking for volunteers for spring clean up


 

By Judy Reed

The annual Cedar Creek cleanup is returning this year but in a different format.

The cleanup, which normally takes place on a Saturday near Earth Day, was put on the back burner earlier this year, due to the vacancy of the administrative assistant position, according to City Manager Thad Taylor. Rich Pajak, the former admin assistant, used to handle the clean up, but he is now retired.

The Post, not wanting to see the project fall by the wayside, contacted the Community Building Development Team, to see if it was something they would consider. Carolee Cole, of the CBDT, spoke with Julie Wheeler, of Independent Bank, and the two of them met with City Manager Thad Taylor on Monday to work out some details.

“We are going to do this and very willing to partner with these organizations,” said Taylor. “The City just couldn’t do it on its own.”

Taylor said that they are looking for community organizations or groups, and individuals that would be responsible for cleaning up certain areas of town. “We have identified approximately nine areas we can put people in,” explained Taylor. “And if we need to, we can find more.”

And since Saturdays didn’t seem to work out well, this year’s cleanup will cover a period of five days—May 11-15.  “This gives more flexibility to the group to get it done,” explained Taylor.

He said the city would have some equipment, including garbage bags, a limited number of brightly colored shoulder bags, grippers, and safety vests for volunteers.

Taylor is also checking to see if they can get an e-waste trailer, as they have done in the past.

Any groups or individuals who would like to volunteer should contact Taylor at 696-1330, extension 104.

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ICCF home in need of volunteers


Post photo by J. Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

By Judy Reed

The lot at 40 E. Maple is once again the site of a family home.

The previous home, which had been turned into apartments, was destroyed in a fire five years ago. The lot sat vacant until January, when Inner City Christian Federation began building a home on it. ICCF, which is similar to Habitat for Humanity, builds homes for those in need. Their mission is to “provide housing opportunities and services that encourage family responsibility and independence, thereby helping to build stable communities.”

The three-bedroom, two-story home is similar to others in the area. Don Fredricks, Construction Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator, said that roof inspections should be done this week, and that they would be drywalling and insulating the inside. After that, they will need volunteers to step forward to help finish the project. “We will need trim carpenters in two to three weeks, and painters,” said Fredricks.

Anyone who would like to volunteer their services should call Fredricks at (616) 262-8863.

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The Light of Christmas


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By Tom Noreen

 

Victoria Merlington, (owner of The Barn Vintage Décor and Consignment shop), and 35 volunteers brought “The Light of Christmas” to the residents of Cedar Springs Mobile Estates on December 14. Hundreds turned out as the group treated the community to a live nativity, a chili bar with macaroni and cheese, lasagna, and cookies galore. Teachers led the singing of Christmas Carols. Care packages of food were passed out to the elderly that couldn’t make the event and gifts were given to all of the kids.

N-Christmas-CS-Mobile-estates2-webBoth community members and businesses offered donations of money, food, gifts, and volunteers and time to make this 1st annual Light of Christmas possible. Over 450 gifts were collected.

With the success of this event, that of putting a smile on a child’s face and showing them the love of Christ, Victoria is planning an Easter event as well and some summer events as well. She said, “Our plan is to continue loving on this neighborhood.”

 

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