Grand Valley Legacy Helen DeVos Dies

Helen Devos
Helen DeVos, 1927-2017. Photo: MLive

On October 18 Helen DeVos, 90, wife of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos, passed away at her Ada home after complications from a stroke. Her legacy, though, will continue to live on through her family and the contributions she’s given to not only the Grand Rapids Community, but also to Grand Valley State University.

She is survived by her husband, 4 children, 16 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren, who attended her funeral at the family’s Memorial Gardens on Saturday, 21 October.

The Life of Helen Devos

Helen was born in Grand Rapids, 24 February, 1927, and spent her life growing up within Michigan.

In 1953, she wed Rich DeVos and they moved to their current Ada home, just outside Grand Rapids.

Helen began as a teacher but when her husband’s company, Amway, began to expand, she left it to help him.

Together, the DeVos’ have given away millions of dollars to Grand Rapids foundations, particularly for the arts, music, education, health care, churches and service clubs. The Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital was named after Helen, their benefactor, as was the foundation connected to it.

Helen believed in her Christian faith and giving to others.

“It comes back to their belief that what they are given is not theirs, but they should be good stewards,” Cheri DeVos, daughter of Helen and Rich DeVos, said in an interview with MLive.

devos-family-at GVSU - GVSU
DeVos Family at Grand Valley State University. Photo: GVSU

Contribution to Music and Arts at GVSU

Helen had a love for music from a young age and for many decades she was a major benefactor of the Grand Rapids Symphony and St Cecilia.

Due to her background as a teacher, Helen also believed in the power of education, which is why the DeVos family have donated $36 million to Grand Valley State University in the past 30 years. The DeVos family have also assisted in the building of the Richard M. DeVos Center, the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, the L. William Seidman Center, and many other campaigns and projects.

“As a lifelong learner, she was a tremendous role model for our students and everyone she knew,” said Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas, in a statement. “We will miss her kind and generous support and guidance over the years, as well as her friendship.”

Helen is honored by the university through the Helen DeVos Presidential Scholarship, granted to students who show passion for music and the arts.

This scholarship has given many students the opportunity to follow their dreams and continue on to a career they love.

Helen DeVos believed in Grand Valley State University and its students. She was a compassionate lady who will be sorely missed not just by the University, but by the whole of the Grand Rapids community.


Celebrities band together for victims of Manchester attack

When news spread of the bombing at Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert it shook the world.

The concert on Monday May 22 started with excited fans singing and dancing to their idol but ended in tragedy when a suicide bomber chose the venue as his target.

Sadly the blast claimed the lives of 22 people and hospitalised over 50 others.

All that attended the concert, however, will be forever scarred by that day as they are all a victims of a malicious terror attack .

police after attack.jpg
Police in the wake of the Manchester bombing. Source: Express News

Help Is On Its Way

On the night the city of Manchester banded together, with people and taxi services offering to do free lifts so that the victims of the bombing could get home.

The Manchester Evening News began a crowd funding campaign for the victims of the bombing and raised almost $1 million.

People also went to blood banks and donated much needed supplies for the bombing victims.


Celebrities Giving Back

Ariana Grande posted hours after the explosion that her thoughts were with the families and victims of the blast, and that she would be trying to help in any way.

Her mother, Joan Grande, who was also at the Manchester concert and reportedly helped fans to safety, also took to Twitter to share her condolences and promise aid for victims.

Both mother and daughter have been in contact with families and victims of the bombing.

And so to help raise money for victims, Ariana is currently using her celebrity status to contact other artists and create a tribute concert.

Ari G post 2 saying sorry and will help
Ariana Grande’s message after the Manchester attack. Source: @Ariana Grande

The Tribute Concert

It has been confirmed that the tribute concert will be held at the Emirates Of Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester.

Performers so far include the likes of:

  • Coldplay
  • Justin Bieber
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Niall Horan
  • Katy Perry
  • The Black Eyed Peas
  • Pharrell Willams
  • Take That
  • Usher
  • With more to be announced…

ALL of the proceeds for this concert will be given to the victims of the Manchester bombing.

Any one who attended Ariana’s Manchester show will also receive free tickets to the tribute show should they wish to go.

Manchester AriG post
The Manchester Tribute Concert confirmed by Ariana Grande, Source: @Ariana Grande

I believe Ariana Grande is using for celebrity status in a positive way from the wake of such a terrible disaster.

The fact that many other celebrities are also willing to forgo being paid and doing a concert instead as a tribute is also a good reflection on them.

It shows the generosity of celebrities and the lengths they will go to help others.

The increasing amount of obese children

One of the biggest health issues our society faces is obesity.

It may seem like such a small thing, and you may think that it just means someone is a little bit overweight, but the consequences of being obese can be disastrous.

Obese children eating McDonalds, Image: Ironman

Obese is classified as when someone has 20% extra body fat on them whish is putting them in danger of health problems.

It isn’t just adults that can be classified as obese, but children as well.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese.

Earlier this month the Courier Mail found that there are an alarming number of children and teenagers so overweight they have a high chance of getting heart disease.

Scarily, though, this article also mentions that around 30% of parents who have obese children believe their child to be of a healthy size.

The Consequences of obesity:

  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Prevalence of getting Type 2 diabetes
  • Some cancers
  • Muscular- skeletal problems
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Increased breathlessness
  • Tiredness
  • High blood pressure
  • Heat intolerance
  • Particularly for children, if they remain obese through childhood then they have trouble maintaining a healthy body weight when older
  • And many others.


Assorted fruit for healthy eating


How to combat obesity:

Eating healthy

This may seem like a no brainer, but it can be harder than you think.

If someone is used to constantly pulling into a McDonald’s drive thru then it can be hard to break the habit they have created.

However planning meals and dietary plans can help this problem.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is particularly useful as it helps to show which products belong to which food groups and what groups you should have more or less of.

Regular exercise

It is recommended that people get between 30-60 minutes of exercise a day.

These could be either:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Going to the gym
  • Cycling
  • Joining a sport (netball, football, tennis etc.)

There are many programs for children out there as well to help them with regularly exercising, such as Energy Krazed.

Although you will need to push yourself at times, this will be worth it in the end when you notice a dramatic improvement to your health.

Changing your mindset

Things won’t change all at once, it will take time.

Like the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” goes, progress may take a while but if you persist with it then you will reach your goal in the end.

March Madness comes to a close
Children playing sport, Image: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Antwaun L. Jefferson





Spreading the Feminism

It has only been rather recently, but feminism has become a prevalent issue around the world thanks to the support and sharing via social media.

Before people start jumping down my throat, let me explain what feminism actually means.

Emma Watson and feminism. Illustration by Courtney (therealrapunzel) on Tumblr.


Feminism = Equality

Like everything, the meaning of feminism has evolved. Once it was a movement focused on getting more rights for women.

Now, though, it is about fighting for equality for women and men.

The definition of feminism, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”

Feminism is NOT man hating.

Feminism is NOT solely focussed on women.

And feminism is NOT just a movement of women.


A few male feminists…

Feminism is a movement that involves anyone who believes in the equality of the sexes, female or male. These a just a few male celebrities that identify as feminist…


Ian Somerhalder speaking about the importance of fearless women. Image: WENN on SheKnows


Why is feminism important?

Because in Australia, on average women earn 83 cents for every $1 a man earns.

Currently 1 in every 2 mothers reported discrimination from their workplace when pregnant, on parental leave or coming back to work.

Stay-at-home dads still lack the same support stay-at-home mums have.

Domestic violence continues with women and men victimised.

These are only a few of the issues society currently faces, Australian and worldwide.

Screenshot of Facebook post from Vogue Australia.


How is feminism becoming such a big movement via social media?

Because people with power are recognising this problem and getting involved. They talk about and their fans will hear; it gets aired on TV, put on YouTube, and shared on media sites.

When someone with power in society has something to say, people listen.

When it’s about something that effects everyone, people act.

They like it or comment or share to their own social media pages… and so it continues as others see it in their newsfeed.


Powerful women who inspire feminism…

Of course there is also many women who are feminists, however these two are the most influential for me.


Beyoncé on her 2014 Mrs. Carter Tour. Image: BlogSpot

Queen B; she’s iconic, inspirational, knows who she is and what she wants, and has a fan base of over 64 million just on Facebook.

She writes songs about the pressures people feel to conform to stereotypes and the double standards in society.

“Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worse; Perfection is a disease of a nation…” from Beyoncé’s 2013 song Pretty Hurts, which on YouTube alone received over 154 million views and over 1 million likes.

She also speaks for people to embrace themselves for who they are, to be strong, and to be empowered.

“Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling them who you are.”Beyoncé.


Emma Watson

Or otherwise known as Hermione from the Harry Potter movies, Emma Watson is an avid feminist.

In 2014 she became the United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador for the HeForShe campaign. The mission of HeForShe is to create gender equality and encourages people world wide to be apart of it.

Emma is continuously going to events that encourage equality and posting about them on her social media networks.

With 15 million followers on her Instagram and over 33 million on her Facebook, Emma reaches worldwide.

Screenshot of Emma Watson’s post on her Facebook page, originally posted on her Instagram.


Feminism is about men and women having equal rights among all playing fields, and right now we don’t have that.

Do you think we ever will?

Are we getting closer to achieving gender equality or going no where?

Feel free to let me know below.

Captured images…

Baristas of My Place.jpg

Coffee from the baristas of My Place

Barista’s Kesia Wade and Adriana Vella happily take orders and make coffees at Mooloolaba’s Your Place restaurant. When asked about the tourism in the area they both agreed that good weather and the hotter months bring in the people. Christmas time and school holidays are usually the busiest, however big events on the Coast, such as the Ironman, bring tourists to the cozy industrial abode as well.

Both subjects are positioned in the middle of the shot, looking up with smiles, and this is done to convey the friendly atmosphere within the restaurant. Adriana is holding a coffee which was done to show a bit of background about the two subjects and give some hint as to what type of shop it is. The photo was taken in the early part of the day when the light coming through the window was softer. By taking the photo from eye level this is how a customer would see them when they go up to the coffee counter to order. In the background coffee syrups, cups and glasses can be seen, and on the left side of the photo is part of a coffee machine which helps to frame the two girls in the centre of the photo. Being not far from the Mooloolaba Esplanade My Place would experience many tourist seasons which makes them a prime subject for the brief.


Kath at the farm.jpg

A 50-acre farm is a lot for anyone to look after but Kath Hanna loves doing it.

Cows, horses and sheep are only some of the animals Kath Hanna has on her 50 acre farm on the outskirts of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Although it can be a long trudge through paddocks to feed her animals, Kath says that even with the increased hours of sun that daylight savings brings, there is still always stuff to be done.

Although the technique of using light was intended for this photo, on the days where Kath was available it was overcast and slightly rainy. Consequently, animals and farm objects became important to be included in the photo to show that this piece involves an issue relevant to a farmer. Within the shot is Kath, the farmer, and one of her dogs. They both are positioned in the photo to be on the vertical lines in the Rule of Thirds. By not cropping further and keeping in the background it gives depth to the photo by showing more land behind. The shot is taken looking down at the subjects who are walking up a hill. Living on such a big area with many animals to look after, Kath Hanna is a good subject for asking about daylight saving.



An aviation veteran still adding history to the Sunshine Coast.

With nearly 40 years of experience in aviation, Cliff Robinson is the former Vice President of the Sunshine Coast section of the Australian Air Museum. Cliff has always been involved with airplanes, once being a pilot himself, and spent 35 years organising the Mission Aviation Fellowship which provides transport services for remote places such as outback Australia, New Guinea and Timor. Now, however, Cliff spends one of his days per week at the Sunshine Coast Air Museum rebuilding and maintaining the historical airplanes showcased.

This image was captured as Cliff was explaining about the plane. In this shot you can see most of Cliff’s face, as well as the huge airplane behind which frames the picture. From this angle the word “Airlines” can be seen painted on the side of the airplane body. Below the airplane is a type of propeller and a board with pictures which shows that this is a Museum or a historical place. Although they it is not labelled as a club, the men and women, including Cliff, who work at the Air Museum are mostly retirees who do this not only to put more historical knowledge into the Sunshine Coast, but also as a hobby one day every week. Cliff travelled to the Coast once a week to help rebuild old airplanes for display, and is a very knowledgeable man as he knew all about each airplane and the background information on each one.



Miss Noosa Showgirl representing her town proudly at the Noosa Show.

Part-time Criminology student and part-time showgirl, Chloe Baré, showcased the reason why she won the Miss Noosa crown at the Noosa Country Show on September 9 and 10. Chloe spent the day selling raffle, meeting many people, being a part of the parade and drawing the raffle. She said that it was “all a part of being a showgirl, I guess,” but that she also loved dressing up and seeing the community come together for the show.

The photo sees the subject being positioned higher than those in the arena behind her, done by getting her to stand on the raised half of the showgrounds. She is also positioned on the Rule of Thirds to the left side more, with Mt Cooroora behind her. The photo was taken at exactly that moment to capture the horse in the background going by that was close to the rails. The Noosa Country Show fits the brief due to it being a newsworthy event for the Sunshine Coast people, partially those in Noosa and Pomona.


The Fog Looming Over the World

There’s a fog covering the planet, something that threatens everything: global warming, also known as climate change.


Fog covering the Dayboro Valley. Photographer: Cassidy Macmillan


What is Global Warming and Climate Change?

Essentially, climate change is the heating up or cooling down of the Earth. An example of this is the Ice Age, or on the opposite scale, the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).

However, the Earth is heating up faster in a shorter period of time then ever before and this is due to human-induced global warming.

Why is this Happening?

Because of the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas), deforestation, pollution and industrialisation by humans.

Greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide and methane, cause a thicker o-zone layer around the Earth. The thick layer traps the sun’s rays in the atmosphere which heats the Earth.

Polar bear on ice
Polar bear on melting ice. Flickr: therapysessions

Evidence of this Reality

  • 2015 was the hottest year recorded.
  • The 2015 California drought (the state’s worst water shortage in 1, 200 years) was intensified by global warming.
  • Hurricanes in the North Atlantic have become more frequent and dangerous (Hurricane Katrina and Sandy).
  • The sea level is increasing 3.5 millimetres per year.
  • The 20 warmest years
  • ever have happened after 1981 – 10 of those have been in the last 12 years.
  • The ice sheets in the Antarctic and Arctic are melting, and glaciers are shrinking.

Who or What Does it Affect?

Everyone and everything everywhere. Global warming effects the world; the climate, the oceans, the land, the animals, and us.

Our cities will shrink, diseases will become common, people and animals will die, and there will be less fresh water.

NYC underwater
New York City in an underwater reality. Flickr: Andrea Della Adriano


Awareness via Social Media

Thanks to social media, the world can now see the effects of global warming.

It doesn’t take long for things to go global, and it doesn’t take long to build lobbyists and for them to act.

Celebrity Lobbyists

Many celebrities are involved in creating awareness and support to slow down climate change. Some of these names include:

  • Al Gore
  • Emma Watson
  • Brad Pitt
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Stella McCartney
  • Rachel McAdams
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Mark Ruffalo
  • And more
Screenshot of a post on Facebook by Leonardo DiCaprio. Source credit: Cassidy Macmillan

Highlight Celebrity: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leo is one of the major players in trying to change global warming.

He’s active on social media, incorporates climate change messages into his acceptance speeches, and founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.


Humour is a big part of why people share or tag their friends in on social media websites, which is why memes are so effective.

Many memes feature Leo DiCaprio because of the link between some of his films (namely the Titanic) and his dedication to slowing the melting of the icebergs.

2016 Rio Olympics

In the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics climate change was put literally on stage. The ceremony aired worldwide with millions tuning in.

All those people now know something about the mammoth issue the Earth faces thanks to the innovation and creativity from the choreographers’ of the Rio Opening Ceremony.


Part of the climate change choreography featured in the 2016 Rio Olympics Opening Ceremony. Flickr: U.S Army



The world’s reality is grim and there is no doubt some things need to change to help the environment.

But do you think that people are actually aware of global warming?

Are celebrities actually helping to raise awareness of this issue?

Feel free to let me know below.



It Was More Than Just A Bucket Of Ice

It was a craze that swept social media into a flurry of action, but in the best way.

David Cox Sr. accepting the ALS icebucket challenge. Source: AFGE, Flickr

The ALS Icebucket Challenge was the dare that went global. It didn’t matter who you were or where you’re from, everyone could be a part of it.


So first, what is ALS?

ALS means Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and is a degenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, then respitory failure. This disease attacks the brain cells that control our spines and keep our muscles moving.

Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed by ALS.

And most people only have a  2-5 year life expectancy.



The challenge was simple; get a bucket of ice water, nominate 3 people who either have to do the challenge or donate to the ALS, then dump the water over your head.

John Maino, Green Bay radio and TV personality, doing the ALS icebucket challenge. Photo: Chris Rand on Wikipedia


How did it become a viral phenomenon?

Well it was through social media. Particularly it was because of the likes and shares on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that really took the campaign global.

People film doing the challenge and then post it on a social media website with the hashtag #ALSicebucketchallenge or #icebucketchallenge.

  • Facebook: had over 2.4 videos posted, generating another 28 million likes, comments or responces.
  • Instagram: had over 3.7 million videos uploaded using #ALSicebucketchallenge or #icebucketchallenge.
Graph of #Icebucketchallenge on Twitter. BBC News: Lucy Townsend

Big names who got involved

Because of the international atttention this campaign received, there was bound to be celebrities, comedians and politicians nominated. Just some of those names included the likes of:


What was the whole point?

There’s actually two big outcomes from the the icebucket challenge.

  1. Awareness
    Did you know about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis before the challenge, or had you heard of Lou Gehrig’s Disease prior to this?

    I certainly hadn’t. And the statistics show that I wasn’t the only one.

    Search trends for ALS, the icebucket challenge and MND, after different celebrities did the icebucket challenge. BBC News: Lucy Townsend
  2. Funding

Just from July 29 to August 28 2014 there was US $98.2 million raised. There are still on-going donations to ALS, even today. Because of this, August is now the month ALS dedicates specifically to raising awareness and getting donations.

But thanks to the donations from the Icebucket Challenge, there has been a breakthrough!

Scientists have discovered an ALS gene, and this gene has now been identified as a main contributor gene to the ALS disease.


Okay, so this is what I’ve found about the Icebucket Challenge, but what do you think?

Was this campaign a good one? Or do you think they could have done it better?

Did you join in and do the challenge? Or did you donate?

Feel free to let me know below.