A Message from Mayor Rosalynn Bliss

The H.I.P.S. ambassadors participated in a 12 week Summer/ Fall Virtual Day Camp this year, from June 2020 to November 2020, including partnering with the city of Grand Rapids to share their views on the 2020 Master Plan.

Virtual Master Plan Graphic

A Letter of Thankfulness
Mary Harden Johnson

Dear Sponsors, Partners, and Friends of H.I.P.S.,

Thank you for financially supporting H.I.P.S. Virtual Summer/Fall Day Camp Program. Your generous monetary gifts and grants were used to purchase new Chrome Books for the H.I.P.S. Program, that will last for many years.

Due to your continued support your monetary gifts and grants supported H.I.P.S. kick-off luncheon that was held at Grand Rapids Garfield Park for the H.I.P.S. Ambassadors and their families. The celebration finale for H.I.P.S. Ambassadors was held at Life Quest Center Fellowship Hall, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Temperatures, taken, practicing social distancing, face masking, with scheduled times for each H.I.P.S. Ambassador and their family was adhered too for the safety of all in attendance.

H.I.P.S. families and Ambassadors were able to receive gift cards for food safety, woven goody gift bags, cosmetics bags, protective face masks, pocket calendars all entitled "Living A Blessed Life" and personal care items.

Your loyalty over the years to the Ambassadors in the HIPS Program has been an inspiration to us all.

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Social Distancing required H.I.P.S. to change how we engaged our students. Because of your endless support, H.I.P.S. Ambassadors had fun engaging in the Virtual Program using the new chrome books to meet online with H.I.P.S. Google Classroom designed by Mrs. Gloria Barnet, a H.I.P.S. Board Member, which focused on the City of Grand Rapids 2002 Master Plan.

The 2002 Master Plan was revised into a curriculum by H.I.P.S. Board Members to make it youth friendly. H.I.P.S. Virtual Program Goals for H.I.P.S. Ambassadors were to build their self-esteem, understanding that their voices within their communities are important, encourage excellent academic success, healthy habits, leadership, and citizenship skills.

The Chrome Books also allowed the Ambassadors and their parents to schedule individual appointments with H.I.P.S. Staff when needed.

Your generosity is what gives these young girls the resources and support they need that will open doors for their future.

On behalf of H.I.P.S. Board of Directors and myself we are truly thankful for you being an advocate for the H.I.P.S. Program, H.I.P.S. Ambassadors, and their Families. H.I.P.S. invite you to visit the H.I.P.S. Website at grhips.org to see the impact that you have made in the lives of our H.I.P.S. Ambassadors.

Mary Harden Johnson,
HIPS Founder and Executive Director

H.I.P.S. Family Pictures

Ambassadors' and Parents' Expressions of Thankfulness

Ambassador Selah E.

When I got the gift card, I bought some more goodies. When we learned about the Grand Rapids Master Plan, I was ready to do it and I was happy when we did our first meet-up. When we had to leave the meetings I was sad, however, I had fun when I was able to see you 'all in person and I liked how I was given popcorn when I didn't need and want it. I loved HIPS this time and year!

Ambassador Samaria E.

I felt happy when I was given a $100 gift card because it went to one of the common stores my family goes to. I felt that the Master Plan for Grand Rapids was important because it could make a big difference in Grand Rapids and would help a lot with community improvements.

I felt that HIPS this year was awesome because we got to use different things to help us do HIPS. Due to COVID, we would not be able to meet up the regular way, but we thought of a way to do HIPS and that was through Google Meets, Garfield Park, and Life Quest Center. That is why I loved HIPS this year.

Parent Ms. Terrica E.

HIPS, what can I say about this program.......I love the fact that this is a free program for my girls because there really are not any free programs. My Samaria and Selah learn from this program every year.

This year HIPS introduced the Grand Rapids Master Plan; this is the first time that I had seen or heard about it. I know that cities will have something like this to make the city and community better, but to see it and the plans were the best opportunity for my girls to give their input as well I as a parent.

I love what is planned for the city of Grand Rapids and being able to look through the Master Plan and explain some of the things that were in some areas of the city, and how the city has evolved to my girls, was awesome. I always look at the bigger picture but this year being involved with HIPS made me think outside the box even more.

I appreciate everyone involved in making this program possible for these young ladies. At the end of the program this year the girls were given gift cards, a large beautiful ethnic woven bag filled with edible goodies, a matching face mask, a full set of bath and body works, and more. They also gave the mothers gift cards which came in handy especially during this difficult time. I used this gift card to buy the remaining food for Thanksgiving.

I am so grateful because HIPS did not have to give any of us gift cards, but it was much needed, much appreciate, and we are so grateful. Thank-you to HIPS for everything that you do and continue to do. Many Blessings.

Ambassadors Londynn J. & Kayannie J.

Dear Ms. Mary Johnson and H.I.P.S. Board of Directors,

Thank you for inviting us to participate in the Citizens of Grand Rapids Master Plan Study Project. We learned so much about how businesses and community partnerships play an important role in improving the city. We also learned that funding and legislation are essential to safe and clean neighborhoods and transportation operations.

My sister and I both agree that this learning experience has introduced us to new information about our city, making it a "Cool City" for us to live in. After participating in this project study, we see what kinds of hard work and difficult decision go into making sure we as citizens have access to many opportunities such as clean parks and fun bike trails for us to enjoy with our friends, diverse job opportunities for our parents to work in, safe housing for our neighborhoods and public transportation resources to get to fun places, like the museums and nature centers.

To top everything off, you and your HIPS Staff were so kind and generous to collaborate with Kent County in awarding us each with $100 gift card to the store of our choice. Your generosity did not stop there, In addition, you gave us a high stylish wool tote bag filled with yummy treats that we can take as a snack in our school lunch or eat during our movie nights with our Grandma on Friday's. We are so thankful for all the kind gifts you gave us. We love you and we love the HIPS Program.

If this amazing opportunity comes around again, you can count on our participation! With gratitude.

Parent Mrs. Chakenya B.

Ambassador Charmaine B.

Dear Ms. Harden Johnson and Board of Directors,

I write you in awe of your marvelous work and input compassion to girls of the greater Grand Rapids area through H.I.P.S. (Helping Important People to Succeed). My daughter has been a participant in your organization for many years and it never ceases to amaze me the quality efforts you make for the girls. From Broadway shows, to fine dining and quality teaching and training, through H.I.P.S. our girls have been compelled to exceed and be the best version of themselves that they can be. Many of the girls that engage in the program lack self-esteem and resource and you provide them with character building efforts and materials that they leave the program confident that they were born to win. Thank You for your generosity and compassion to empower our girls with self-esteem and high expectations of a quality caliber of life.

Thank you immensely for your generous Meijer gift cards afforded us parents as well as our daughters post participation in the City of Grand Rapids Master Plan segment. My daughter (Ambassador Charmaine B.) was ecstatic about her participation and her stipend of a $100.00 Meijer Gift Card. H.I.P.S. makes girls feel valued and heard and gives them another outlet away from Mom and Dad to get structure and positivity. Even in these unprecedented times you found diligent and skillful ways to interact with the girls by virtual experience and even provided technological devices for those that did not have their own! WOW!!May God continue to open doors for H.I.P.S. and may the girls that encounter the program continually excel, make positive strides, and look for a greater tomorrow.

Thanks again Ms. Harden Johnson for even blessing us parents with a $100 dollar gift card! How humbling that you not only do sublime things for our daughters, but you go above and beyond and reward the parents of the girls! God bless you abundantly and may all that you can even ask, or thing be afforded you by our almighty and gracious God!

Gratefully Yours.