One student's journey from court ward to business owner

Jul 31, 2015
Jada Davis

After writing about the latest KidsCount report last week, I was feeling pretty discouraged. It’s hard to get excited about the future of kids in Michigan when one in four is living in poverty.

This week I wanted to write about something a little bit lighter. This is a state of opportunity, after all. Michigan’s statistics don’t always reflect that, but Jada Davis’ story does. 

Chris Potter / Flickr

Michigan spends about $5.6 billion on social welfare programs a year, and that doesn't include health care. 

Even though that's only about 10% of the state's total budget, our passions and our politics are very much at work when we talk about these programs.  

In this hour-long special, we uncover why we get so emotional about social welfare spending. Do these emotions keep us from having policies and programs that would actually help families in Michigan get ahead? 

In light of yesterday's State of Opportunity story, I thought it might be fun to share this New York Times article where former college freshmen give advice to incoming freshmen. The tips range from academic (where to find the best YouTube math and chemistry tutors), to personal hygiene (when you're stuck, take a shower), to study tips (always make an outline for a paper). What advice would you give to someone about to start college?

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

If you graduated high school in June and college doesn’t start until fall, probably homework is the last thing on your mind during summer. But for some recent high school graduates, the summer before college is filled with homework, study groups and workshops.

That's how Chelsie Thompson's summer is shaping up. Thompson is 18 years old and she insists everyone (including reporters) call her "Phancie." She’s from Melvindale, a small, working-class city just outside Detroit, and she's spending seven weeks of her summer on the campus of the University of Michigan, taking three college courses for credit and learning her way around the university. 

Today is my last day at State of Opportunity. I'm moving to California where I'll be taking part in the John S.Knight Journalism Fellowship

It's a great opportunity, and over the next year I'll be working to develop new ideas and approaches to serving undervalued news consumers.

user miss_millions / flickr

If you're 17 and you commit a crime in Michigan, you are automatically sentenced as an adult. You can't even vote yet, and you're sentenced as an adult. There are only nine states that try 17-year olds as adults, and Michigan is one of them. According to The Marshall Project, there seems to be some momentum to "raise the age" of an adult from 17 to 18 in North Carolina, New York and Wisconsin.

 Infowire fills the information gap and meets the news needs of families struggling to make ends meet. Get all Infowire alerts by texting INFOWIRE to 734-954-4539 or email infowire@michiganradio.org

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

We use the "gap" metaphor a lot. The opportunity gap. The discipline gap. The achievement gap. Well, now we've got another one to add to the list: the adventure gap, where minorities, especially those in inner cities, are much less likely than their white peers to experience the outdoors – especially state and national parks. 

Nate Grigg / Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to opportunity, growing up in poverty stacks the deck against kids almost more than anything else. 

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s nationwide survey of child well-being, KidsCount's, is out today. Michigan ranks 33rd overall in the measures of economic stability, family and community, health, and education for kids. This is the second year in a row that Michigan has fallen behind, and when you dig into the numbers, it gets worse.

Katie Tegtmeyer / Flickr

There are currently about 3,000 kids in Michigan available for adoption. 

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