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What's behind the Believe 2 Become initiative?



Get involved with Believe 2 Become

Believe 2 Become is a collaborative partnership of hundreds of organizations and individuals who believe in the unlimited potential of Grand Rapids children, and expect them to succeed. Believe 2 Become is creating real opportunities for children and youth to become the people they aspire to be.

There are many ways to join this movement. If you live in one of the four B2B Zones you are invited to participate in the following opportunities: Baby Scholars is a three part program working with parents to prepare their infants, toddlers and preschoolers for kindergarten. 

After School many local community organizations offer after-school experiences designed to help elementary and middle school students achieve key academic milestones in reading and math.

Summer Learning provides college campus visits, adventurous outings and fun field trips for nearly 1,000 Grand Rapids Public Schools students.

Community Meetings provide a place for parents and neighbors to gather together and develop a plan to help their children succeed in school, work and life.

To learn more or get involved in any of these activities, contact Staci Nichols, B2B Community Liaison, at 616.451.9140 or [email protected]

You can also visit the website:


Community members gather to discuss the effects of Believe 2 Become in their neighborhood.
First Community Meeting in the B2B Central Zone - over 800 community members gathered.

/April Galbreath

First Community Meeting in the B2B Central Zone - over 800 community members gathered.

It's all about the kids!

It's all about the kids! /Matt Fowler

Parents and neighbors in the B2B West Zone discuss ways to support their kids for success.

Parents and neighbors in the B2B West Zone discuss ways to support their kids for success. /Matt Fowler

Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported

Wednesday night, members of the community gathered as a part of the LINC News Bureau and discussed the work of Believe 2 Become (B2B) within the neighborhood. Believe 2 Become is a collaborative partnership of hundreds of organizations and individuals who believe in the unlimited potential of Grand Rapids children. LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. is leading the neighborhood engagement work for the initiative.

Rashid Robinson, a local business owner and community leader, stated that Believe 2 Become "has had a great impact, there has been 100% social turn-around, in regards that people are having a new social leadership perspective." He added, "People are coming together and starting to discuss social needs while hearing other viewpoints on social needs in the community."

Anna Ruffin, a resident and Believe 2 Become volunteer, had similar thoughts on the initiative, stating, "B2B has impacted organizations to make motions, make movement to impact discussion and create awareness in the community since the program has begun. Businesses are starting to upgrade and open their dimension of thinking."

Believe 2 Become is offering real opportunities to children and their families in four Grand Rapids neighborhoods. Through kindergarten readiness programs, after school and summer learning opportunities and community gatherings where parents and neighbors can come together in support of their children's success, B2B is aiming to eliminate the educational achievement gap by 2020. 

Jerry King works for Wellhouse, an organization that helps transition people from emergency to permanent housing within the community. King was not very familar with the B2B initiative but learned that his work at Wellhouse could easily tie in to Believe 2 Become. "As you stabilize adults, you are stabilizing children." With regards to both Wellhouse and B2B, he added, "It's like being a chameleon. You have to put on a different jacket for every person that comes in the door. There is no cut and dry manual for people. You have to take time and build a rapport one on one with that person."

Gwen Nathan, age 67, has lived in the community since she was in the third grade. Nathan works with Hope Network and is a committed resident of the B2B Central Zone. Nathan said, "I have seen an increase in parental involvement, genuine care for people in the community and more residents out interacting together. It as been awesome to see B2B serving all ages from [infants] to adults."

Sarah DeYoung, of Tall Turf Ministries, shared a partnership with B2B for Camp Tall Turf over the summer. "The youth got to do a lot of things they normally don't do, [like] experience nature, learn camping skills. The camp was an incentive at the the end of the summer for those who participated in the summer learning program," said DeYoung.

Diondra Henderson, a parent and part of the LINC family, shared, "there's definitely a buzz around the water coolers within the local communities. It is the talk around town."

Staci Nichols, a Community Liason for LINC, added that B2B has a known focus of including the parents of youth. "Engaging parents in youth education has a more lasting impact."

Erin Sweeney, a Grand Rapids native, works with youth through Bethany Christian Services. Sweeney has witnessed B2B impacting the people she works with, especially the focus on the parents. "Some of our students have participated in B2B, and I've noticied the emphasis on parental involvement."

Syreeta Nelson, who works in the training sector of Goodwill Industries, closed out the discussion.

"I train some of the ladies who have young children. I have seen the passion of empowering people. Outcomes and impact in the community. We have seen the wealth of this initiative because it is evident in the parents who I work with. The parents believe enough to seek better for themselves."

LINC News Bureau

The LINC News Bureau is a project of The Rapidian and LINC designed to bring news to the people of Grand Rapids through the eyes and ears of their fellow citizens. The bureau provides a platform for the community to tell its own story. News is what we make out of our daily lives and how it impacts others. With training, equipment and assistance residents become citizen journalists, capturing the life of the community in words, recordings, videos and photographs. Disclosure: Opinions expressed by bureau reporters do not necessarily reflect the opinions or viewpoints of LINC community revitalization inc.

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