Food Drive for Homeless Students in Livingston County Needs Help


When school closes for the holidays more than 220 students who are in temporary living situations or homeless in Livingston County will miss out on the free breakfasts and lunches they qualify for as students, to help bridge this gap in meals, the Livingston Educational Service Agency is holding a food drive for the students.

 The LESA’s McKinney-Vento Grant Coordinator Candice Uyttendaele said that some food donations have been coming in, but they need more food or cash donations to help the students.  In all there are likely more than 220 students who qualify for the meals because many of the school-age students have younger siblings, she said.

 “On average we have around 500 children a year,” Uyttendaele said. “This year will surpass that quite a bit because our numbers are higher than that this year. It’s quite eye-opening.”

This number includes 22 preschool students, 108 elementary students, 34 middle school students, over 70 high school students, and 45 unaccompanied youth.  Children who are counted include those who are in temporary living situations or homeless.

“Any time a student is placed out of the care of their parent or guardian or any time the family has to leave their home due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or any similar situation, they are considered homeless,” Uyttendaele said. “It is based completely on their residency; examples include, if they are living with family or friends, or if they are in a motel. If they are not in their own home and it is due to economic hardship they are counted.”

The LESA will collect nutritious food items for distribution to these students and families through Monday, December 16.  Please drop off your donations in the front lobby of the LESA Education Center (located at 1425 W. Grand River Ave., Howell, MI 48843).  

Suggested items include:

Granola Bars
Fruit Snacks
Whole Grain Crackers (with or without peanut butter or cheese)
Snack Packs of Fruits, Jell-O & Pudding
Unsweetened Applesauce
100% Fruit Juice
Individual serving cereal boxes
Monetary Donations

Today is Makers Monday, are you buying American-made today?


First Impression Print & Marketing has joined Shinola of Detroit’s Makers Monday campaign to encourage shoppers to buy American-made products with a goal of raising $2.4 billion for American businesses today.

Today Shinola is encouraging every person in America 18 and older to spend at least $10 on an American-made product.  The goal is to make it easy to support people producing quality American-made goods and to celebrate their passion and dedication to the craft of making.

 Trends show that Americans will be spending more money this holiday season, but the majority of them will be shopping online only.

 “We are asking people to think twice and support their local, small businesses,” said Sandie Cortez, co-owner of First Impression Group. “We are the people that support your community, local schools, kids’ sports teams, arts programs and many local charities. We also employ local families that also support our community. We love doing all of these things, but we can’t make it without the support of our customers.”

 American-made holiday products made by First Impression include greeting cards, calendars, books, posters, signs, personalized note cards and wall vinyl.

 “We all have choices,” co-owner Don Cortez said. ‘We have the opportunity to buy products made overseas every day. Our first choice is to buy local, buy region, buy Michigan-made, buy American-made. If we each implement that in our own businesses, the better off we all will be.”

 Shinola said Makers Monday will be an annual campaign, celebrated the Monday after Thanksgiving., the web portal for the event, has launched and First Impression Print & Marketing is listed on the site. The site will encourage consumers to pledge to buy American on December 2, then share that pledge through their social networks, and additionally to share their American-made purchase following the event.  The site will also host a database of American makers and producers as well as provide an opportunity for additional businesses to register on the site at

 First Impression Print & Marketing, in business for more than two decades, is a locally owned, independently-operated company. First Impression is committed to creating a quality community that displays high integrity, and accountability. For further information, contact First Impression Print & Marketing at 517-546-9798 or email them at



Seven Things That Give Us Halloween Spirit.

Even though it is rainy outside we are feeling the Halloween spirit after browsing our Facebook news feed this morning and seeing all of the good cheer from our Facebook friends.  Here are a few of our favorites:   Are there others you would add?


1. Here’s Kim at The Roost, looking very festive.



2. They are feeling the spirit at Superior Play, LLC  We love the color combo here.




3. Pretty scary, Oxford Public Library!



4. Totally adorable, Livingston County Animal Shelter!  We especially like Piper and Gulliver.



5. Wonderful advice from Great Start Livingston.



6. One of our favorites, from Mary Beth Smith’s “Girls Who Print.”


7. Don’t have an idea for a costume?  Here are some great D.I.Y. ideas from Mashable.

We hope you have a very Happy Halloween!

How’s Your Elevator Speech?

We’re thinking about our elevator speech today knowing that we are going to the Networking Up to Speed event at the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce this afternoon.

We’re using this event as a chance to brush up on our elevator speech. Everyone knows that it’s good to have one, but it can be difficult to boil things down. You want to keep it quick, but you need to have some depth to it. Don’t shrug it off, but don’t be long-winded.

So how do you come up with one? We found a great resource in an article by Greg Peters, the Reluctant Networker, who led a workshop we attended a few weeks back. Be sure to take a look at Greg’s blog, we found all kinds of advice about networking and succeeding in business there.

Greg says when crafting an elevator speech you should keep it brief, straightforward and make sure to include who you help and how you do it.  These are great things to think of when you are heading out to make new friends.  It is important, he said, to make sure you are connecting with others as a human and not a company. If you want to read more, visit

Ours goes like this, “We offer printing, marketing, social media management, website design and more than a dozen other services from our locally-owned shop. Those we help include businesses, schools, non-profit organizations and individuals throughout southeast Michigan.”

What does your elevator speech include?

Julie’s Firefighter in training

Highlander ff logo Julie and DeanIt was a banner day for the Howell High School Firefighters 1 & 2 program. Many parents and other community members came out to show their Highlander pride during the program’s open house today.

The Howell Public School District has partnered with local fire agencies to provide students who are interested in a career in firefighting with training required to take the state firefighters exam. Students must be at least 16 years old to enroll in the program. When they turn 18, they are eligible to take the exam to earn their certification. Students in the program will earn school credit for their participation. The new program is believed to be the first of its kind in the state.

We are proud of the innovative programs the Howell Public School District is offering to its students. Dean Honkala, the son of Julie Honkala, who works in production here at First Impression, is enrolled in the program.

Way to go on those vehicle graphics Lindsey Slavik and Cheryl Bettis!