Here is our weekly salute to the people, places and organizations that make Northern Michigan a special place to live.
Help and hope
The event brings together in one place, on one day, more than 50 nonprofit agencies offering health and human services to anyone in need from Charlevoix and Emmet counties. The concept of Project Connect is to put numerous free services in the same room so that people can make one stop and fulfill all their needs. By doing so an immediate difference is made in the lives of many local families.
So many times getting help requires hours of running around town, making appointments, standing in line, filling out forms, making phone calls and waiting, waiting, waiting. Project Connect cuts this red tape by providing the necessary services on the spot.
Services offered included vouchers for clothing, food and gas, personal care and household products, assistance with utilities, housing, finances and taxes, health screenings, parenting services, nutrition information, haircuts, massages, family photos, and even a hot lunch. All of this and more was possible because of local donations and volunteer helpers.
The success of Project Connect is in the hands of community members who care.
Aspiring young writers have the opportunity to have their work published in the Petoskey News-Review.
The Crooked Tree Arts Center, in conjunction with the newspaper, is once again this year hosting the Young Writers Juried Exposition. Elementary, middle and high school writers in the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, including home school students in Charlevoix and Emmet counties, are invited to submit the best work of poetry, prose, or one of both, into the spring contest.
The winners will be determined by a panel of local community members, and the winning poetry and prose pieces for each level -- elementary, middle and high school -- will be published in the Petoskey News-Review on Friday, May 3. The winners will also be invited to read their work aloud at the awards presentation on Saturday, May 4, at Crooked Tree Arts Center.
"One of the best ways to develop literary skills is for a young author to share his or her work publicly," said Megan DeWindt, Crooked Tree's coordinator for the program. "From putting their ideas on paper to seeing their work published in the Petoskey News-Review, the Young Writers Expo gives children and teenagers in the community an opportunity to experience the writing process from beginning to end."
The level of talent among our young people is a delight to read, and a privilege for the News-Review to publish.
Ninety-one-year-old Gordon Wheeler gives back to his community every day.
Wheeler's desire to help where needed benefits the Little Traverse Bay Headstart in Pellston, Bay Bluffs care facility in Harbor Springs, Northern Michigan Christian Academy, Northridge Church in Alanson6 and Littlefield Public Schools.
Wheeler's love of children and music both serve him well in his career as a full-time volunteer. He sings songs, plays the guitar and creates drawings with the kids at head start. He plays music and gives art lessons to students at the Christian academy, and for many years shared his passion for art with elementary students in Alanson and his love of music with the school's kindergartners.
This 91-year-old man's energy and community spirit is an example those of us decades younger can only hope we can achieve at his age.