Fire Department now accepting applications for Fire Youth Academy

youthfire_webThe Grand Rapids Fire Department is now accepting applications for this summer’s Fire Youth Academy for high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The academy runs 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 18-22 at the Grand Rapids Fire Training Center, 1101 Monroe Ave. NW.

The one-week course includes classroom and hands-on activities that cover:

  • Search and rescue
  • Fire engine and aerial truck operations
  • Special rescue operations
  • Protective equipment
  • Fire prevention
  • Fire investigation
  • Emergency medical services


To participate, students must:

  • Be a high school sophomore, junior or senior
  • Be younger than 18
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Be in good standing at school
  • Understands and/or exhibits the GRFD core values of honesty, integrity, loyalty, teamwork and excellence
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Be in good physical condition and pass a physical


To apply online or for more information, visit


Please support the Walk for Good Food! 

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As food pantries across the nation begin to look at root causes of hunger and under-nutrition, they are beginning to address the injustices in the food system that make food charity a necessity. Access of West Michigan has been on the leading edge of this movement, as is reflected in the new name they’ve given their annual fund-raising walk, The Walk for Good Food.

Please support the Walk for Good Food! The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market is one of the recipients of Walk funds — and OKT manages the market! Open from the first Saturday in July to the second Saturday in November at Grand Rapids’ Martin Luther King Jr. Park, our market ‘s vendors are primarily women of color from Grand Rapids’ Southeast neighborhoods. Most of our sales are completed with food assistance dollars. Because the market takes part in the Double Up Food Bucks program,  our patrons using SNAP benefits can purchase twice as much fresh, local produce. This means that our neighbors with income challenges can feed their households even more nutritious food –even though they live in neighborhoods that otherwise have very limited access to healthy foods.

When you support the walk you support the market. Sign up today to join the OKT walk team or pledge your support through an online donation. OKT also seeks corporate donors to be our sponsors for the event. Download the corporate sponsor packet here.

Partners for a Racism-Free Community announces 2018 conference

unnamed (3).pngPartners for a Racism-Free Community hosts its 2018 conference, Standing at the Intersection, noon to 6 p.m. March 5 at DeVos Place. The conference will focus on intersectionality and how racial bias often intersects with other aspects of an individual’s identity that can be marginalized- such as gender, sexuality, ability, religion and so forth- even within spaces they identify with.

Intersectionality is a term coined by scholar Kimberle Crenshaw as a way to help explain the oppression of African-American women. FORUM 2018 will aim to center the voices of intersectionality and will feature organizers, educators, and leaders from within the Grand Rapids community.

unnamed (4)Keynote speaker, Charlene Carruthers, is a young social justice activist from Chicago who focuses on Intersectionality. Ms. Carruthers’ career in justice advocacy spans over ten years, working with some high-profile activist organizations including Color of Change and Women’s Media Center. She was an integral member in the creation of the Black Youth Project 100, and has served as National Director or National Coordinator since the organization’s founding in 2013.

Tickets available now! Take advantage of the Early Bird Special by purchasing your tickets before February 15th. Group Pricing is available for groups of 5 and 10. Student Pricing is available at a discounted rate.

Purchase Early Bird tickets      Visit Facebook Event page

Visit the OKT table at Entrepreneurial Gold

PromoCard_FebFinalFb (2)Start your Black History Month of right by attending Entrepreneurial Gold this Thursday, Feb. 8 from 6 – 8:30. Th event features two powerful speakers, both of whom are the first African American presidents of their organizations.

  • Mr. Bill Manns is the President of Mercy Health Saint Marys.
  • Dr. Bill Pink is the President of Grand Rapids Community College.

The evening includes a drawing for two tickets to the premier of Black Panther, music by Nu Soul and DJ Monk Mattheaus. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with the GR Urban League, NAACP, Our Kitchen Table, Grand Rapids Hip Hop Coalition, and more! Join us at Brush Studio, 50 Louis NW for a power discussion and community collaboration.

“Hunger Walk” now the “Walk for Good Food”

#Walk4GoodFoodokt web logo

Save the date!
Access Walk for Good Food
Sunday May 6, 2018
Join the OKT Walk Team today!

Access of West Michigan has again designated Our Kitchen Table to receive funds from its annual Access Walk for Good Food! OKT is thrilled that these funds will again be available to help fund our management of the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market. The Walk prioritizes organizations seeking to transition from typical charitable models into models upholding community organized and equity-focused efforts, health and nutrition standards and overall movement toward food sovereignty.

Formerly the Access Hunger Walk, the Walk for Good Food changed its name because “hunger” can be hard to define and even harder to solve. While feeding people to address hunger is important, the goal of the Walk has been to fund organizations that are addressing root causes of food insecurity and poverty. The name change more accurately reflects the mission of the organizations that receive funding from the Walk as we together seek to cultivate a Good Food System, namely, a system in which food that is healthy (provides nourishment and enables people to thrive), fair (no one along the production line was exploited during its creation), affordable (all people have access to it), and green (produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable) is available to all.

OKT is more than a recipient of funds from the Walk. Our staff and supporters play a number of vital roles in making the Walk a success. We attend monthly planning meetings, help recruit walkers and donors from Grand Rapids area congregations and businesses, publicize the event via our website, social media and e-newsletters, and recruit walkers and volunteers for the event.


Free Neighborhood Organizing Seminar


  • GR Neighborhood Seminars FlyerWEBWhen: 10 am and 7 pm Thursday, December 28
  • Where: LINC UP – The Gallery (341 Hall SE)
  • The event promotes a kid friendly environment. Hosts will serve light snacks and refreshments.

The “Starting a Neighborhood Association 101” 90-minute seminar (held at 10 a.m. and again at 7 p.m.) will define a neighborhood association and its core functions. It will help residents determine if a neighborhood association already exists in their area. It will also provide an outline of recommended steps to forming an association or group, as well as estimated cost if the association seeks formal non-profit IRS designation.

The City of Grand Rapids is taking steps to drive greater interest in neighborhood engagement. It is now inviting residents to attend a series of Grand Rapids Neighborhood Seminars on Thursday, Dec. 28 to learn about the benefits and ways to organize at the block and neighborhood level. Residents can now register for the free sessions by clicking here. LINC UP – The Gallery (341 Hall Street SE, Grand Rapids) will host the morning and afternoon sessions.

According to Jordoun Eatman, lead neighborhood connector, the Neighborhood Seminars are a result of a collaborative partnership among the City, Seeds of Promise and LINC UP. The groups’ goal is to increase voice and opportunities within Grand Rapids neighborhoods.

“Participants will learn about the importance of having neighborhood associations in their community. We will also teach strategies to form, lead and sustain block clubs,” he said.

The “Block Clubs 101” hour-long seminar (held at 9 a.m. and again at 6 p.m.) will focus on the benefits of having an active block club. It will detail recommended steps to start and maintain one. It will also identify optional tools, templates and forms necessary to begin the process.