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Kent ISD Program Trains High School Students to Become Teachers

Charles Phillip

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kent ISD program is working to help address the teacher shortage by providing students with training and classroom experience while in high school.

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist visited the district on Monday to learn about the program and discuss education funding.

The Teacher Academy has graduated 22 students, with 20 of the graduates planning to pursue becoming a teacher.

Laura Castle, the instructor who oversees the program, said they have already seen the impact the program can have.

“This is only our second year, so we started last year with a group of 11th and 12th graders. We had 36 students and this year we’re serving 75,” Castle said. 

Selena Pablo-Ramirez is a student in the program. Her mother was a teacher but she credits the academy for helping her decide to major in education when she goes to college.

“I really wanted to try it out because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a teacher or not,” Pablo-Ramirez said. “I didn’t know that we were going to be able to work with students one-on-one at first. I just thought like they’re going to teach us the basics and we go on. They put us in the classroom and you learn so much working with little kids and then they teach you so much.”

The program brought the lieutenant governor to speak with students, administrators and graduates.

“What we’re going to see from this program specifically and programs like this is a whole new swath of young people understanding that being an education professional is a choice they can make and it’s something that’s attractive to them,” Gilchrist said.

Superintendent Ron Koehler said all districts in Kent County are facing challenges in hiring teachers and is proud of the success the program has made so far.

“Kent ISD is here to help all of the school districts in the region solve the problems that they face,” Koehler said. “We have our own challenges but we’re here to help create more opportunity for students and to create a better working environment.”

For more information on the program, visit the Kent ISD Tech Center website.

Source: woodtv.com

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Grand Rapids Couple Recounts ‘air Raid Every Day’ in Ukraine

Charles Phillip

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids couple working to help children in Ukraine has returned home after providing training to mental health professionals and educators in the country that continues to fight a Russian invasion.

Tim Friesen and his wife Tammy Friesen is back from Lviv in western Ukraine, which saw missile attacks when they arrived earlier this month.

Tim Friesen is a psychologist and founder of the nonprofit Twelve12:Hope. He went to Ukraine to help set up programs to counsel children going to trauma. He was able to see the progress that could be made in a short amount of time.

“Many of the children in the orphanage that came to the training, some of them had been in the east part of Ukraine in an orphanage,” Tim Friesen said.

Tim and Tammy Friesen work to help orphans in Ukraine. (Tim Frisen/Twelve12:Hope)


Helping Ukrainians, Grand Rapids couple waits out bombing

The Friesens arrived when the country was going through a new wave of missile attacks.

“We had an air raid every day except the last day. The air raid didn’t come to our closing time of coffee and cake, so we went. The last day was the only day that we had the regular program out of the bomb shelter,” Tim Friesen said.

Tim and Tammy Friesen work to help children in Ukraine. (Tim Frisen/Twelve12:Hope)

Tim and Tammy Friesen work to help children in Ukraine. (Tim Frisen/Twelve12:Hope)

He noticed the affects the missile attacks had on him.

“In the middle of the night I would wake up to a certain sound and it sounded like the first sound that would indicate an air raid and it puzzled me for a long time and finally I figured out it was actually a church bell ringing,” Tim Friesen said.

The war has disrupted the education system in the country, with many children unable to go to school.

“Millions of people, I think, are displaced now so they’re living in another city without their friends and they’re learning virtually and I think it’s pretty isolating,” Tammy Friesen said.

The Friesens were amazed by the determination of the Ukrainians, who are also thankful for the support.

“They’re so grateful for it and just continue to hope that the West will keep up the support and not get weary of it,” Tammy Friesen said.

Article: woodtv.com

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Detroit-area Police Cruiser Strikes, Kills Pedestrian

Charles Phillip

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TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit police cruiser struck and killed a pedestrian in the roadway early Monday while the officer driving the car looked for an address, Michigan State Police said.

The collision occurred around 1 a.m. in the city of Taylor, state police said.

A preliminary investigation indicates a Taylor Police Department officer was responding to a call for service and driving at posted speeds with no emergency equipment activated, state police said. While the officer looked for the address on his left, he struck a pedestrian.

The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

No charges have been filed.

A review of the in-car camera is pending along with further investigation, medical examiner reports and a prosecutor’s review.

The officer and the victim have not been identified.

Article: woodtv.com

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‘Gamechanger’: Free Mobile App Helps Visually Impaired Shop at Meijer

Charles Phillip

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s a mobile app that helps blind and visually impaired people shop. In honor of Blindness Awareness Month, one user explained how it has impacted him.

Casey Dutmer receiving shopping assistance on his phone from a representative on the Aira app.

Casey Dutmer has been totally blind since birth. Navigating grocery stores used to be much easier growing up.

“When I was young, everything was a lot different. You had your big stores but you also had a lot of smaller stores and you could go in a store and ask the clerk for help and most of the time
you could get it because it was a locally-owned store,” he said. “It was more personal and service oriented.”

As the stores grew larger with more products, the experience became more difficult for shoppers like Dutmer.

Recently, he’s been depending on another source for direction.

“I’m ready when you are,” the representative on the phone said.

“I’m ready,” Dutmer responded.

The service is through Aira (Artificial Intelligent Remote Assistant). It’s a mobile app designed to help the blind and visually impaired access their daily needs.

Through the app, users are connected with a remote agent. Meijer partnered with the developer in the summer of 2020 to make the app accessible to blind and visually impaired shoppers for free. It can be used at all of its stores.

The representative on the app guides the users through their cell phone cameras to help them shop for items around the store.

Dumter begins shopping while being assisted on where to go in the store.

“We are thrilled to connect and partner and expand our reach and make sure everyone else what they need within their reach,” Katherine Lee Baker, the manager for diversity and inclusion at Meijer, said.

As Dutmer began to shop, the representative gave him various commands to direct him where to go, like, “continue forward, your path is clear.”

“It’s a real gamechanger,” Brad Kaufman said.

Kaufman works with the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Grand Rapids. He’s enjoying witnessing his clients become more independent.

“We want people to understand that blindness is not a life-ending issue. Independence and gainful employment and other things that are taken for granted in the sighted world is very possible for those who are blind and low vision,” he said.

Though Dutmer is unable to see, he says the agents show him a different perspective and provides assurance for he and his family.

“I didn’t know there were so many different products. I knew there were a lot of products but there were a lot of things I had never heard of that the agent would read off to me,” he said. “It’s a comforting app for my wife, who is excited and who really believes if I go somewhere
and get tangled up she doesn’t have to worry.”

Beauty brand Cleanlogic is partnering with the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired this month.

A portion of proceeds from the purchase of Cleanlogic products at Meijer stores will be given to ABVI to support a new employment initiative program, which will launch in 2023.

“ABVI’s employment initiative is designed to help reduce the drastically high unemployment rate among blind and low-vision individuals in Michigan and beyond,” Cassaundra Wolf, the ABVI board chair, said. “We are truly grateful to partners like Cleanlogic for their support in our efforts to help individuals living with low vision or blindness thrive in a sighted world.”

Cleanlogic Co-Founder Isaac Shapiro added, “We look forward to elevating our common purposes to help drive the unemployment rate amongst the blind and visually impaired communities.”

To download the Aira app, visit aira.io.

Original Post: woodtv.com

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