Bella Johnson is a sophomore majoring in journalism with a concentration in international reporting at Michigan State University. Johnson grew up in Shelby Township, Michigan. She loves telling stories no matter the medium. Johnson is working toward a bachelor's degree, and she hopes to further her education by pursuing a master's degree. Johnson hopes she is able to share the stories of those who desire a platform.
Williamston Community Schools recently became the 10th school district in the Ingham County area to partner with the Capital Area District Libraries to implement the Student Success Initiative, a program that automatically enrolls students within a school district with a Capital Area District Library card regardless of where the student lives.
In Williamston Community schools, 16.2% of students receive free or reduced lunch while at school, but the program does not support students during the weekends or time away from school. Jeff Gorsline and his wife Heather noticed this gap and founded Weekend Survival Kits 12 years ago. The organization and its volunteers get together semimonthly to package and send out nutritious foods to schools for their students facing food insecurity to have during non-school hours. Credit: Isabella Johnson
Gorsline, who also serves as Executive Director, said the foundation of the organization is packaging food and sending it to the schools for distribution, but the true objective goes deeper than just keeping kids fed. “We do send people food on the weekends, but it’s just a means to our real mission,” Gorsline said.
The southern Williamston City limit sits just north of I-96. The small city is home to about 4,000 people. Credit: Isabella Johnson
Friends of Williamston Parks needs to raise $29,000 by October 22, 2021 to receive a matching grant form the Public Spaces Community Places program for their project to build a picnic pavilion at Volunteers Community Park. Credit: Isabella Johnson
When Williamston locals noticed their parks weren’t getting the attention they needed, the Friends of Williamston Parks organization stepped up to the plate. “There were some budget cuts at the local government level here in Williamston,” said Heather Galecka, the organization’s president. “There really wasn’t a lot of funds for park upkeep and improvement, so the organization was started to fill that gap.”
Friends of Williamston Parks is a non-profit community group made up of volunteers that work to plan, fundraise and implement improvements to parks in the area.
The past year and a half has been abnormal for small business owners. From financial setbacks, supply and labor shortages, businesses in the City of Williamston are trying to adjust to their new normal, but according to two business owners, sales are picking up. Book Farm LLC owner Liz Goble is no different. Book Farm LLC is a children’s book store and book supplier for schools and libraries located right on Grand River Avenue. “We’ve had a hard time even getting people interested in working here, and we have had several positions open,” Goble said.