Griffins and Farm Bureau Insurance Unveil New Branches Charter Academy's New Media Room

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins and Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan on Wednesday unveiled their $15,000 media room makeover for New Branches Charter Academy, which was chosen in May from elementary and middle schools throughout Kent County as the winner of their third annual Media Room Makeover Contest. 

New Branches Charter Academy, a charter school managed by Choice Schools Associates, is a tuition-free public school, providing quality education for students in grades preschool-8 in the Grand Rapids area. They believe in caring for our Earth, promoting positive life choices, and working with our community to build a positive environment for their students. New Branches believes it takes a village to raise a child and works closely with parents to ensure each child receives what he/she needs to be successful. Students are able to grow and foster into students who love and understand learning.

Through this makeover, New Branches’ media room received new desktop computers, desks, carpet, paint, electrical wiring, LED lighting and air conditioning, along with window and wall decorations. New furniture, carpet, paint and wall graphics were also installed in New Branches’ special needs room. (Click here for before and after photos of the media room.)

Several dignitaries spoke at the outset of today’s event, including Griffins corporate partnerships account manager Steve Ritsema, Farm Bureau Insurance vice president of marketing Vic Verchereau and New Branches principal Terry Larkin. Following the remarks, a dozen New Branches students and their parents received their first look at the school’s new media room. 

Work on New Branches’ media room began in late July, when a host of volunteers – including field agents and employees from Farm Bureau Insurance and others with connections to the school – put in a full day of demolition, painting and landscaping. Over the last five weeks, the makeover has been led by the efforts of Mike Case of Case Construction and Restoration, Inc., painter Tyler Sprague, Leland Winter of C&S Electric Service and Steve Ritsema of the Griffins. Project support was provided by Rockford Flooring, Precision Heating and Cooling, Fast Signs, DP Fox, which donated the computers, and Seven’s Paint, which donated paint. 

“This experience has been very humbling for me, personally,” Larkin said. “I want to thank Steve from the Griffins, Vic and the agents from Farm Bureau Insurance and Mike from Case Construction. We feel really blessed as a school to have this honor to work with you in our community. One of our mottos is it takes a village to raise a child and you have shown us this is truly a village in our own community.

“Our campus looks so much better. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done and how you’ve reached out because it’s not about me, it’s about our kids. We all as a staff here want the best for our kids and you helped us make that come true,” she continued. 

Each of the other two finalists of the Media Room Makeover Contest – All Saints Academy in Grand Rapids and Sparta Middle School – has received $250 toward upgrading the amenities of its current media room. 

The previous winners of the Media Room Makeover contest were Ken-O-Sha Park Elementary School (2016) and the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center (2015).

Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan, beginning its fourth year as a Griffins corporate partner, was founded in 1949 by Michigan farmers who wanted an insurance company that worked as hard as they did. Those values still guide the company today and are a big reason why they are known as Michigan’s Insurance Company, dedicated to protecting the farms, families, and businesses of this great state. Farm Bureau Insurance agents across Michigan provide a full range of insurance services—life, home, auto, farm, business, retirement, Lake Estate®, and more—protecting nearly 500,000 Michigan policyholders.