Pencils that give back are the latest accessory from Warby Parker
National brand Warby Parker’s new Ann Arbor retail space is offering more than fashionable eyewear. Alongside eyeglasses and sunglasses, the location has a room dedicated to pencils, which are organized by color in glass containers. Proceeds from the writing utensils, available at four for $2, benefit 826michigan, a nonprofit that pairs volunteers with school kids to teach them how to write with confidence. “We’re so glad to be expanding in Michigan,” says Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, “particularly to a town with as much spirit as Ann Arbor and with a store that’s this fun.” The collaboration even gives kids the chance to have their work published in a unique way. Each pencil features silly sayings — including “Chew in Case of Emergency” — some of which are written by 826michigan students.
— Emma Klug
Ele’s Place, a nonprofit with a mission to support grieving children, teens, and families, is expanding its headquarters to a new location in Ann Arbor. The center, which will complete construction by summer 2019, will serve thousands of people from eight southeast Michigan counties in their struggle to cope with the loss of a family member. Hailed as the “Home for Healing Hearts,” the organization offers peer support groups and grief counseling to help decrease rates of depression, addiction, and violence in communities.
— Mayssa Masri
Built for Beauty
Children in hospitals find strength through makeup
The concept for McKenna’s Squad Beauty Bar, a glam room that opened in June at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, was conceived by McKenna Schummer of Grand Blanc. Diagnosed with bone cancer in 2016 at the age of 9, she became passionate about beauty while at the Detroit hospital and wanted other kids to experience the joy of makeup.
Although she lost her battle this March prior to the unveiling of the space, her mother, Melissa Schummer, has witnessed her vision come to life. “The minute [the children] walk through that door, they’re smiling,” she says. “They feel beautiful.”
The bar features eye shadow palettes, mascara, and more, and has glitzy floors, a chandelier mural wall, and handicap-accessible vanities. The hospital is hosting events with makeup artists in the space, and McKenna’s Squad Beauty Bar hopes to expand to other hospitals and create makeup boxes with McKenna’s quote, “Find your courage, strength, and beauty.”
— Gina Navaroli
The national after-school arts residency program uses art to break social, racial, and economic barriers and turn libraries into incubators of inter-cultural dialogue. The program operates in seven public libraries and works with more than 300 students and 13 artists in residence. For more information, visit projectart.org.
An $8.3 million AmeriCorps grant has been issued to support over 1,000 of its members across 28 charitable organizations, nonprofits, and community empowerment programs in the state of Michigan. AmeriCorps is a federally funded civil service program. For more information, visit nationalservice.gov.
Grace French, one of the more than 330 women and girls abused by former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, is tying teal ribbons — the color of sexual assault awareness — to trees in East Lansing in honor of victims. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.