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According to 2011 surveys, annually there are 1.6-2.8 million runaway children in the United States. In Michigan alone that year, there were more than seven thousand runaway children. Muskegon County runaways numbered 460. Julia Koch of The Hope Project says these numbers, "aren't small potatoes," especially considering the percentage of runaway children who become exposed to human trafficking. "According to the National Runaway Hotline, one in three runaway (children) will be approached by a trafficker within forty-eight hours of leaving home," Julia said. 

Veronica Ramirez Garcia is a full-time mom. And for the past nine months, she's also been the full-time executive director of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Her focus on minority business growth and developing core values for local entrepreneurs and employees is the driving force behind the chamber's impact in West Michigan. But the chamber doesn't just touch the Hispanic community. Veronica emphasizes integration between other local chambers, "and various other organizations that are focused on helping businesses and the growth of community." 

The digital age of photography makes just about anyone with a camera a photographer. But it takes someone special to create images, and Christine Gribble of Grand Rapids takes it one step further as a photographic artist for children and families with special needs. Christine's skill set, lifelong experiences, and her extra dose of compassion are prerequisites in her niche. 

Sometimes epiphanies come slowly. Jana Hall, the new chief operations officer at the Van Andel Institute of Science, experienced this first-hand as she came to her epiphany right after finishing graduate school. 

There's a little something about the Midwest that outfits those in the hospitality industry with innately accommodating personalities. But it takes someone with compassion to really excel in the profession, and Jenifer Cutter has that in spades. Jenifer was recently appointed the general manager at the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott, after spending twelve years at the Amway Grand Plaza. She graduated from Ferris State University and moved to Arizona for a time to build her career and gain hands-on experience. When she came back to her home in West Michigan, her life experiences fueled her professional drive, but her love for collaborating with co-workers and clients alike was something to which she's always been uniquely attuned. 

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