Previous Grant Challenge Winners
Detroit Edison Public School Academy
Fifth grade students at Detroit Edison Public School Academy have been chosen as this week’s Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their healthy eating service learning project. Mrs. Opfermann’s students coordinated a school wide Martin Luther King Jr. Day service learning project involving a canned food drive for Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Food Bank, as well as a lunch bag decorating project for the NOAH Project. The NOAH project is an organization that provides meals and other services to homeless individuals in need. The students collected a total of 400 pounds of food which provided approximately 300 meals to individuals. After the canned food drive the 5th grade students participated in a classroom field trip to Whole Foods to learn about healthy eating options. Then the students traveled to Cass Community Social Services where they volunteered in a soup kitchen where they organized a food pantry and helped recycle items. All of these projects will lead to the creation of a healthy eating cookbook that will be given to community and school members. Through these service learning projects, students have become healthy advocates in their community.
Pathfinder Middle School
Seventh and eighth-grade students in Choose to Lead, a leadership and philanthropy class at Pathfinder School in Pinckney, have been chosen as this week's Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipients for their Senior Citizen Food Drive and Blankets for the Brave service projects. In the fall, Choose to Lead students led a school-wide food drive to benefit 108 local seniors who rely on local charities for food donations. First, students learned about poverty and hunger in their community before organizing the food collection, which yielded almost 2,000 food items. Recently, the students studied the problem of homelessness, especially as it relates to local veterans, and made 25 double-sided fleece-tie blankets which were distributed to homeless veterans through the VA Healthcare Systems in Ann Arbor. Through these service learning projects, students gained greater awareness of social issues and how their efforts to help others can make a difference in their community.
Sault Area High School
Students from Sault Area High School have been chosen as this week’s Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Operation House Warming service learning project. Mrs. Menard’s service-learning class at Sault High held an MLK Day project on January 20th that benefited the Supportive Housing for Youth Program (SHYP). The class collected and purchased items for eight house-warming kits to donate to the SHYP, which supports homeless youth in the area by providing them with various resources and services.
Grand River Preparatory High School
The students at Grand River Preparatory High School in Kentwood have been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their School wide Day of Service event. Each advisory class participated in a service project of their own creation regarding an unmet need in Grand Rapids area. Students participated in simulations, reflection activities, conducted research, and worked with representatives of local non-profits organizations in the local area. This project promoted the involvement of all types of youth in the service learning process, created life-long volunteers and responsible citizens, and addressed a variety of local needs in the community.
Navigator Upper Elementary
The 4th through 6th grade students at Navigator Upper Elementary School in Pinckney have been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Healthy Kids Snack Bag Project. The students collected a variety of non-perishable nutritious snacks to fill snack bags for children in need. They decorated white paper lunch bags with cheerful messages and artwork, which they filled with an assortment of granola bars, raisins, apple sauce, and juices. They made over 200 healthy snack bags for children served through the Pinckney Food Pantry. This project was an opportunity for students to learn about hunger and how it can affect student learning.
Loyola High School
The students at Loyola High School were chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their MLK Day of Service project. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., students completed direct service at 6 different community partner agencies in the Detroit area. The community partners that the men served at are some of the strongest organizations in the community that reach thousands of people in the Detroit area. Students engaged in a variety of different service events including, packaging, preparing, and serving meals to those in need, and organizing and cleaning up senior living facilities. This project was an opportunity for students to make a direct impact on the community and engage in volunteerism.
Les Cheneaux Community Schools
The middle school enrichment class and high school sociology class at Les Cheneuax Community Schools were chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Acres of Hope Project that supplied books to an orphanage in Uganda. The students connected with former student, Jessica Duncan, who was interning at the Acres of Hope Orphanage, and through her were able to hold Skype sessions with the kids in Uganda. The two classes collected old books and textbooks from around their school, and with $200 raised from a bracelet sale fundraiser and a $400 grant received a grant from the Les Cheneaux Community Foundation the students were able to send 6 boxes of books to the orphanage. Upon receiving the boxes of books, the orphanage decided to donate some of the textbooks to the local school and start a library with the rest. When Duncan returned to Michigan, she visited the two classrooms and spoke with the students about her experience. This project was an opportunity for students to learn in class skills in a hands-on real life experience. Aside from the classroom learning students also experienced creating the foundation for an important tool, the library, in building the orphans literacy skills and success later in life.
Middle School at Parkside
The students in Connie Tisch’s class at the Middle School at Parkside have been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their service work in the Jackson Community. The students decorated goodie bags for teachers at Parkside that contained thank you notes, snacks, and other useful items. The students also made learning games for local elementary students, Thanksgiving placemats for local hospitals and assisted living centers, and Christmas candy canes decorated with small thank you notes for area bus drivers. Mrs. Tisch’s students all have some form of Autism and they take on a higher level of planning with each service project in order to learn how to connect with the world outside of their classroom. The students are not done with service and the award from the Pistons will be used for projects in the second half of the school year.
North Penn Elementary
The First grade classes at North Penn Elementary have been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Northpointe Woods Senior Hospitality Project. Through this project the first grade students learned about aging and the elderly in their classroom and used this knowledge during monthly visits with the seniors at Northpointe Woods Senior Living Community. During these regular visits the students entertained the seniors with songs they had learned in class and presented them with art projects they had made. This project provided the first graders with an opportunity to bond with the seniors and talk to them about their life experiences.
Harrison Park School
On Global Youth Service Day 2013, students at Harrison Park School in Grand Rapids worked with six poverty-fighting organizations to complete the Harrison Park Day of Service, and are recipients of the Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge. Of the six organizations, students could choose with which organization they would like to work; choices included working at The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, working with Habitat for Humanity, and decorating lunch bags for Kids Food Basket. Following the project, the students hosted a community night at the school, and created tri-fold presentations that highlighted their experiences.
Pickford Elementary School
The kindergarten students in Susan Maloney’s class at Pickford Elementary School have been chosen as Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipients for their Veteran’s Day Project. The kindergarten students honored veterans and soldiers at their annual Veteran’s Day assembly by displaying photos and profiles of veterans, along with a thank you banner, at the assembly’s entrance. During the assembly, the students dispersed thank you gifts to veterans in attendance. Additionally, the students conducted a fundraiser in order to raise money to purchase items to create care-kits that will be sent to soldiers serving overseas.
Northwest High School
11th grade economics students at Northwest High School have been chosen as recipients of the Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge for their Big Brothers Big Sisters project. Students adopted the Big Brothers Big Sisters Club of Jackson, MI and hosted a Halloween party for the bigs and littles of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Jackson club. Students accomplished several tasks that led to a successful party filled with exciting events for both mentors and mentees. Additionally, the students participated in a walk-a-thon and raised over $250.00 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Club of Jackson. Several students from the class were so inspired that they have decided to become Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Carson City-Crystal High School
Carson City-Crystal High School students were named recipients of the Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge. Six years ago, students with disabilities at Carson City High School started a small store called The Blue Nugget, and sold school supplies to students and staff. Over the years, the range of products offered has been expanded, and now includes the student-developed product Dutch Oven Fire Starters. The product is made by stuffing recycled toilet paper tubes with shredded recycled paper, and then dipping it in wax. This holiday season, the proceeds from the sale of the Dutch Oven Fire Starters will be used to sponsor a local family in need.
Navigator Upper Elementary School
The fourth and fifth grade students at Navigator Upper Elementary have been chosen as one of the Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipients for their Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Out Project. Initiated by a fourth grade student who recently lost his mother to breast cancer, teachers and administrators at the school worked with the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center to host a Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Out, where students were invited to dress in pink and make Valentine’s Day cards for cancer patients being treated at the center. The project helped students understand how small acts of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life, but also showcased how young students who are passionate about a cause can inspire others.
Pathfinder Middle School
The 7th grade English and Language Arts and Social Studies students at Pathfinder Middle School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Super Snacks for Super Soldiers project. Local Veterans came in to speak to the students about their service experience and then assisted the students with creating over 150 snack bags that were donated to local homeless Veterans through the Ann Arbor, Michigan’s VA Medical Center. This project was an opportunity for students to learn about hunger in the community and how it affects so many of our Veterans.
The Kindergarten through eighth grade classes at Gompers Elementary-Middle School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Veteran’s Day Diddy Bag Project. The students put together hygiene kits for the newly admitted Veteran’s at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in recognition of Veteran’s Day. Through this service project students had the opportunity to visit with the Veteran’s and attend a Veteran’s Day Ceremony. This project was a great service learning experience for students to advocate for issues present today with Veterans.
St. Joseph Elementary
The first through fifth grade classes at St. Joseph Elementary has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Thank-You for Heroes project. Students commemorated September 11th, 2001 by creating thank you banners for local organizations, such as Battle Creek Police Department, Humane Society of South Central Michigan and the Battle Creek Fire Department. Students wanted to recognize their dedication and positive impact on the community. This project was an opportunity for students to learn about local organizations and understand the value of giving to others.
Jackson High School
The students in the Vikings for Change Club at Jackson High School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Vikings for Change Homeless Shelter Simulation. The students planned a Homeless Shelter Simulation where students walked from the high school to the Jackson Interfaith Shelter with all of their belongings for the night. The students served dinner and interacted with the people at the shelter, then returned to the school where they set up card board boxes to sleep in for the night and created tie fleece blankets and hygiene kits to be donated to the shelter. This project was an opportunity for students to learn about poverty and raise awareness about homelessness in the Jackson community.
Tahquamenon Elementary School
The Kindergarten class at Tahquamenon Elementary School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their 9/11 Care Kits for Troops project. On 9/11 National Day of Service students honored troops overseas by creating 20 care kits for them that included entertainment items, personal hygiene items and snacks. This project was an opportunity for students to learn what happened on 9/11 and why it is now a National Day of Service.
The 3rd grade class at Appleview Elementary has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Native Wildflower Butterfly Garden project. Through this project, students with cognitive disabilities from Sparta High School served as mentors to the third grade students assisting them with this service project. The students worked together and planted a native plant butterfly garden directly in front of Sparta High School and then created a public service announcement about the importance of native plants. This project was an opportunity for the students to learn about the ecosystem to become better advocates for the environment.
Pinckney Community High School
The ninth through twelfth grade Center for Independent Adults (CIA) classes at Pinckney Community High School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Adopt a Family Garage Sale project. The students collected donations for the garage sale from the community and school to make this service event successful. This event raised $1800.00 that went towards LACASA Center, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and a Pinckney Community High School family whose house burned down. The students used this money to purchase needed items for each cause. This project was an opportunity for students with disabilities to work together as a team to bring an entire school community together to help those in need.
The students at Northwest Elementary have been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their “Our Wishes and Hopes for You” project. Through this project, the students created a book with positive quotes, pictures and stories for the students and families of Sandy Hook Elementary. This project was an opportunity for the students to understand how easy it is to serve the needs of others.
Athens Youth Advisory Committee
The Athens Youth Advisory Committee has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their recycling program. Through this program students purchased recycling bins that they will monitor the use of and determine if a location change is necessary if more public information is needed. The main objective of this program is to encourage and promote recycling in the community, starting at the school level. The community will benefit as everyone begins to think about where waste goes and how it affects their lives and environment.
The kindergarten through eighth grade class at Timbuktu Academy has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Day of Service initiative. Each respective grade participated in their own designated service project all while including random acts of kindness. These services projects were a way to connect students with their school, neighborhood and to foster a sense of responsibility for doing what you can to support where you live, especially through small actions.
Gompers Elementary-Middle School
The Kindergarten through eighth grade class at Gompers Elementary-Middle School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Day of Service initiative. The students used Dr. Kings “I Have a Dream” speech for inspiration when creating a poem, essay or illustration of their own dream world. Through this service project students throughout the entire school focused on issues present in Detroit, issues that many of the students witness and are affected by everyday.
JKL Bahweting Elementary
The second grade class at JKL Bahweting Elementary has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Family Movie Night initiative. Each year the second grade class hosts this fundraiser to benefit Chippewa County Animal Control Shelter. Through this initative student were able to learn advocacy, money counting, and customer service.
Four County Community Foundation
The Four County Community Foundation has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Text and Drive: You Won’t Survive initiative. Through this initiative YAC members educated other students the severe impact that texting and driving can have on people through online simulators. After participating in the online simulator, students then are able to stamp their finger print on banner pledging to never text and drive!
The 3rd grade class at Urbandale Elementary has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Teamwork and Community Building Across the Ages project. Through this project the students were able to participate in a monthly trip to Laurels of Bedford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. This project gave the students a better understanding of how they can benefit their community while better understanding their classroom curriculum and experiencing a new setting.
Thornapple Kellogg High School
The 9th-12th grade classes at Thornapple Kellogg High School have been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their day of serive. This day of service allowed the students to learn more about various social justice issues prevalent in their community and a variety of ways they can impact. They then had the opportunity to create their own “Dear World” campaign that expresses inspirational words to those that are affected to one thing in the world that they would like to change.
Mackinac Island Community Foundation
The Mackinac Island Community Foundation has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their advisor initiative. Through this initiative the students were able to impact the youth in another community by having a challenge grant. They raised money from their own community and then matched every dollar up to $2,000 to impact the youth in a chosen community that would otherwise be losing their school.
Detroit Edison Public School Academy Early College of Excellence
The 9th-11th grade class at Detroit Edison Public School Academy Early College of Excellence has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their silent protest initiative. Through this silent protest students were able to create a peaceful demonstration while raising awareness of the story of Trayvon Martin.
The Kindergarten class at Purdy Elementary has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their “Coin Drive” initiative. Through this project students were able to learn about the voting process, the importance of helping others and about the two organizations they were voting on, all while fulfilling their classroom learning goals. This project ended up raising a substantial amount of money for the Pediatric Unit at Bronson Hospital.
Homer Community Foundation
The Homer Community Foundation has been chosen as Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Adopt a Family initiative. Through this initiative students are able to work with counselors at local schools to determine a family to sponsor during the Christmas season. Students are able to learn the how rewarding the act of giving is, especially to a family in their own community.
North Park Montessori
The 1st-3rd grade class at North park Montessori has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their “Let it Grow” initiatives. Through this project students had the opportunity learn about the severity of childhood hunger. They were then able to interact with members of the community through the Kids Food Basket as well as gain an appreciation for the work farmers do in the community.
Sturgis Area Community Foundation
The Sturgis Area Community Foundation has been chosen as a Come Together Grant Challenge recipient for their iGoToCollege project. The focus of the app, which the students developed, is on the importance of all students working towards completion of some form of post-secondary education. Facts/questions related to the need for post-secondary education appear via the app on the iPad screen. Upon selecting T/F the correct answer will appear on screen with a brief explanation; a link to the SturgisSUCCESS website and a college positive slogan to be developed by YAC.
David Ellis Academy
The 4th grade class at David Ellis Academy has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their “A Call to Service” project. Through their initiatives students were able to volunteer for a cause they cared about outside of school for at least 5 hours. The students enjoyed volunteering so much that many of them have continued their initiative all on their own.
The 1st grade class at Romulus Elementary has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their “We Recycle” initiatives. Through their school wide recycling project students are able to learn the importance of recycling by tracking how much we recycle and how much oil, water, electricity and trees we are saving.
Capital Region Community Foundation
The Capital Region Community Foundation has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their Jeans for Teens: Youth Homelessness project. Through this initiative YAC members educated their classmates about the issues of youth homelessness and collected clothing for their recipient, Gateway Community Services. YAC members accomplishments were being able to uplift vulnerable peers in their own community.
Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center
The second grade class at Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their “Bare Necessities” project. The students were able to raise money to go towards helping those in need at Degage by providing them with a bus ticket or a meal voucher. Through their initiatives students were able to learn the difference between needs and wants by being shown that their proceeds fulfilled the need for another.
Fremont Area Community Foundation
The Fremont Area Community Foundation has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their “College Access Mini Grants” project. Their YAC has funded and accepted six mini-grants based on College Positive Communities that have given students opportunities that wouldn’t always be available to them, such as visiting a college campus at no cost.
Kent Intermediate School District - Kent Innovation High School
The 9th grade class of Kent Intermediate School District- Kent Innovation High School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their extensive project of collecting documentaries of WWII veterans from western Michigan. Through this project students were able to capture important WWII stories on film and present them back to the veterans families as a keep sake. They are also publishing all of the stories into a collective documentary that will be available at their local library.
Sault Area High School
The 11th and 12th grade class of Sault Area High School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their psychology through service efforts. Students were given an opportunity to serve each agency for a day, applying their knowledge, learning the ropes, engaging the clients, but most importantly engaging with the clients and staff to truly understand their role in the community and their needs as an organization and as individuals.
Future Youth Involvement/ Tuscola County Community Foundation
The FYI- Tuscola County YAC has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their project “Cardboard City.” They have worked at a local soup kitchen, granted funding to an organization that sends a backpack full of food home with students in need for the weekend and initiated the Homelessness Fund within the TCCF. To date, FYI has been the primary fundraiser for the Homelessness Fund, permanently endowing in excess of $30,000 in the fund.
Alpine Elementary School
The 5th grade class of Alpine Elementary in Comstock Park, Michigan has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their fight against childhood hunger. By having the students create and sell paintings they are able to help put food in the mouths of their fellow students and allow them to do advocacy for the issue of childhood hunger.
Cedar Springs High School
The 9th and 10th grade academy at Cedar Springs High School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their year-long water initiative project. Through the water initiative, the students were able to learn about the importance of water sustainability, while also participating in projects that included watershed cleanup and rain barrel building and selling.
Ionia County Youth Advisory Council
The Ionia County YAC has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their project “Drive to Survive.” Through the program, which has gained the council national attention, the students have raised awareness for teen driver safety through presentations in schools, public service announcements, billboards, and marketing materials.
YAC from the Huron County Community Foundation
The Huron County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their participation in a youth leadership summit, Under the Influence: The Impact of Youth on Community. During the two-day summit, the students collaborated with other community leaders to discuss issues facing today’s youth and brainstorm community engagement activities.
Northview High School
The 9th and 10th grade Biology classes of Northview High School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their service-learning project “Real-Life Aliens!” After studying about environmental issues and invasive plant species in school, the students applied their learning by volunteering time at the Blanford Nature Center to help rid the area of harmful plants.
Malcolm High School
Malcolm High School has been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Greenhouse project. With the grant, the students from Malcolm will learn about environmental issues in a hands-on setting, while also growing flowers and vegetables for local nursing and retirement home residents.
Sault Area High School
Students from Sault Area High School have been chosen as a Come Together Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their LINKS program. LINKS is a self-sustaining peer-to-peer program, through which students not only help to educate and socialize students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, but also help to educate and socialize general education students, school staff, and their community to the wonderful uniqueness that is autism.
Hillsdale County Community Foundation
Hillsdale County Community Foundation YOUTH has been selected as a Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their 5th annual Fill the Freezer Food Drive. Through the October drive, YOUTH (Youth Opportunities Unlimited Throughout Hillsdale) supported local food pantries with donations of frozen and non-perishable food items.
Harrison Park Middle School
Students from the 8th grade classes at Harrison Park Middle School have been selected as a Game Changers Grant Challenge recipient for their service-learning project through which they partnered with the Grand Rapids Veterans home. In addition to making blankets for veterans beforehand, the students spent time fishing with veterans. During their time visiting with the veterans, students learned valuable lessons about service and U.S. history.
Loyola High School
Students from Loyola High School have been selected as a Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their volunteer work with Veterans in Detroit. Loyola volunteered at Cass Community Social services to prepare, cook and serve meals to homeless veterans, planted flowers in honor of the veterans, and sent letters and stories to active duty members of The Navy.
Lenawee Youth Council
Lenawee Youth Council has been selected as a Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their Weekend Snack Sacks program. Each week, the council helps to provide over 250 students with sacks full of food items to take home for the weekend. The Weekend Snack Sacks program helps to fight child hunger in their area, and they continue to expand the program.
Purdy Elementary School
K -2 students at Purdy Elementary School have been selected as a Game Changer Grant Challenge recipient for their service learning project, "Pumpkin Project," through which they auction off decorated pumpkins to raise money for the South Central Michigan Food Bank. During the 5th annual event, students learn about issues of hunger and the importance of being involved in community service at any age!