Lifting Parent Voices, The COFI Way

Every second Monday of the month at 5pm, the conference room at the Healthy Homes Coalition fills up with parents. They file in, greet each other warmly and find their usual seats.

Over a quick dinner, weekly stories are swapped and pictures are shared as parents catch up. Parents for Healthy Homes meetings are part support group, part advocacy work, part leadership training class, and all parent connection.

The leadership training component is a result of our relationship with Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), a nonprofit organization based out of Chicago which connects parents to one another, helping turn their voices in actionable change.  COFI was created in 1995, with former community organizer Barack Obama as a founding member.


Why Parent Voices Matter More

Two stories featuring parents who are fighting to end childhood lead poisoned were told in local news this past week.

These two stories represent the voices of parents whose children are directly affected by the threat of lead poisoning in the community. They are just two of thousands more in the city.

Asthma: The Overlooked Housing Hazard

While efforts to fix lead paint hazards in Grand Rapids are currently in process and in the news, it’s important to remember that asthma is another major health concern for children in the city.

(Photo Credit:

Keyon Lovett: Fighting Lead with Paint

Keyon Lovett didn’t mean to become a social activist. He just wanted to be an artist. Lovett’s work, currently displayed in our offices, connects the issues of the ongoing Flint water crisis, and the struggles lead affected families are dealing with in Grand Rapids.

Mayor Bliss Commits to Tackling Lead Aggressively

In her State of the City address on Thursday night, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss made it clear that fixing lead poisoning is a major priority for Grand Rapids.

"The recent increase in lead poisoning is a call to action," said Mayor Bliss. 

"Children should not only feel safe in our city. They must be safe. Especially in their own homes."

Persistence Pays Off for Healthy Homes, Kids

Momentum continues to build fast to solve the problem of children being exposed to lead in Grand Rapids – and to keep kids from hurting in our community. The culmination of two years of work is lining up across the city, county, and state – a change which will help families provide safe housing for their children.

Healthy Homes is leading the charge.

So the Big Question is...

Nyi’Cear is a local seven year old girl. She loves to play and she smiles easily, like most seven year olds do. But, her journey is far from typical. She is a victim of lead poisoning. The following video depicts her long-term struggles following that initial diagnosis.

"So the big question is: what are we doing about this? What, as a community, are we doing about lead poisoning?"

Rylee's Ace Hardware Raises Awareness, Money to Fight Lead Poisoning

As the lead poisoning of children in Grand Rapids’ neighborhoods continues increase, and gain attention, one local business took the message to their customers - and raised $6,000 in doing so.

Lead Poisoning on the Rise in Kent County

The 49507 zip code experienced a 40 percent increase in number of lead-poisoned children from 2014 through 2016. The zip code has most lead-poisoned kids in the state of Michigan.

Parents, representatives met on Oct. 30 in Grand Rapids to tackle the lead-paint problem that’s poisoned more children than Flint’s water crisis.

The Face Behind the Phone

Healthy Homes is excited to welcome our new Administrative Assistant MJ Truini.