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3Rs Program

Program Summary 


The 3Rs: Rights, Responsibilities, Realities 

The 3Rs Program is a partnership between the Grand Rapids Bar Association and the Grand Rapids Public Schools. It calls upon team of volunteers to go to social studies classrooms for eight separate sessions between October and May of each school year to work with small groups of students to accomplish the following goals:

  • Improve understanding of and respect for the rule of law and our Constitution
  • Increase interest in civic and governmental issues
  • Provide practical career counseling to focus students on their potential beyond high school
  • Improve the "pipeline" of minorities flowing into legal careers in the region

3Rs program volunteers from the Grand Rapids legal community visit 9th grade social studies classes throughout the school year. The program, funded by the Grand Rapids Managing Partners’ Diversity Collaborative, is based upon the award-winning model put forward by the Cleveland Bar Association.

What We Do

The 2015-2016 academic year will be the third program for The 3Rs in Grand Rapids, and will focus on Ottawa Hills High School. Roughly once a month, from October to May, in coordination with school programming, a team of five lawyers will enter each 9th Grade social studies class for one 55-minute class period. Each class will be divided into subgroups of 4-5 students, each led by a lawyer/law student team member who will apply a curriculum based upon the one developed by the Cleveland Bar Association. Students’ work in the 3Rs program will count to their final grade, and the participating attorneys/law students will have a voice in that grade. Our goal is to expand the program into every 9th Grade Social Studies class in the Grand Rapids Public School System in the academic year future.

Your Commitment

 We estimate that the commitment of an average team member would be approximately two to three hours per month for a period of nine months. That commitment will begin at the September orientation. In October, you will enter the school for a 55-minute class roughly once a month and your commitment will consist of preparation, travel to Ottawa Hills High School, and the class period. Also, you will shoulder an ongoing commitment to mentor any students with whom you form a connection, which will continue through their high school education and beyond.


Apply now to volunteer for the 2015-2016 Year!

Attorney Faculty Application

Student Faculty Application

Deadline: August 28, 2015


Volunteer Resources

Korematsu Links

Korematsu v. United States

From TeacherVision


Justice Douglas Response
From "The Court Years" 

Brown v. Board
From Teaching Tolerance

Ferguson Links

"Students are Watching Ferguson" From Teaching Tolerance

"Michael Brown" 
From Facing History and Ourselves

"How to Teach Kids about What’s Happening in Ferguson" 
From The Atlantic

"Teaching About Ferguson" 
From Teaching for a Change

“Preparing to Discuss Michael Brown in the Classroom” 
From District of Columbia Public Schools


The program comes at a critical time in our society, a time where civics education is becoming an afterthought in the face of the need for proficiency in math and science in order for the schools to meet the requirements of “No Child Left Behind” and other educational mandates. While these mandates may assist in accomplishing their stated goals, we simply cannot risk an education system that could leave our young ones without the education and tools necessary to be fully functioning citizens in our democratic society. They need to know how our system of government works and what role they can play in our legislative process.


In addition to the benefits that flow from the educational component of the program, the program will assist in the Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative’s pipeline development activities by placing every freshman student in frequent contact with a member of the legal profession. Two of the sessions are entirely devoted to practical career counseling. The students will learn much more about the opportunities available in the legal profession than they may know from television or from encounters with the law enforcement or domestic relations sides of the system most typically encountered in their day to day life. Furthermore, they will learn that one does not have to come from a family of lawyers or professionals to become a lawyer and that regardless of their roots there can be a place in the law for them.   


More than ever, Grand Rapids Public School students need the personal involvement of the community to help them maximize their potential. The success of these students and the success of our region are mutually dependent. The Grand Rapids legal community is well-positioned to make a positive impact through volunteer commitment to the 3Rs Program. 

Grand Rapids Bar Association
161 Ottawa Ave. NW Ste. 203-B
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Tel: (616) 454-5550
Fax: (616) 454-7707 

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