Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio


Mark Jackson settles into his chair, and takes a sip of coffee. He’s been in interviews all morning, meeting with high school students and parents interested in enrolling at Wayne State University through the APEX program, which Jackson oversees.

Jackson tells me he’s worked in college academic advising for 35 “some-odd” years, at six different institutions.

And he loves the work.

“You know, we’re helping change the world here,” he says. “People think I say that tongue-in-cheek. No, I’ve seen it happen.”

 Jackson begins to tell me a story of a student he met in Chicago years ago.

Colin Duft/KOMU News / flickr

Tomorrow you can hear Dustin Dwyer's "College Material," a new documentary about first generation college students. The challenges that come when you're the first in your family to go to college are considerable, but so are the victories.

vaguely artistic / flickr

Banks get a lot of bad press. So do check-cashing outfits. Payday lenders may get the worst press of the three.

All of them are just businesses, trying to figure out how to grow when so many people in the state have less money to throw their way.

If you need reminding, at least one third of Michiganders are low income and working. Another 17% live in poverty.

Kent County working to encourage more parents to vaccinate

Jan 23, 2015
Steve and Sara Emry / Flickr

Unvaccinated kids could be responsible for recent trouble at the "happiest place on earth". Disneyland has a measles outbreak, which has infected 59 people so far, and spread to four other states in addition to Mexico.

Photo courtesy of Eddie Hejka

There are a few talks nearly all parents have with their kids. There’s the "birds and the bees" talk, and the "don't do drugs" talk. Some parents also find themselves needing to have the race talk.

We reached out to two mixed race families to get their take on the race talk, and hear some of the parenting challenges that brings. 

Just the 17 of us

Evolution of a Criminal

I have been reading a lot of juvenile justice reports and data for the last two months. After finishing some stories and our recent hour-long special on that topic, I was ready to take a break from it. 

Then, Evolution of a Criminal sucked me in.

Ingham County

As we were prepping for our special on juvenile justice, we had a chat with one of our guests, Scott Leroy from Ingham County's juvenile justice programs. We wanted to know  how the Lansing area ended up with some pretty innovative programs for kids who get in trouble with the law. 

State of Opportunity special: juvenile justice in Michigan

Jan 15, 2015

Today we brought you a special, hour-long call-in show on Michigan’s juvenile justice system.

Host Jennifer White was joined by guests Frank Vandervort from the University of Michigan Law School, Scott Leroy from Ingham County courts, educator and activist Shaka Senghor (his TED talk is below), and Marie Williams from the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ). The show explored the consequences of incarcerating kids in adult prisons, discussed alternative options for juvenile offenders, and asked what is the future of juvenile justice in Michigan.

There is ample evidence that talking to your children early and often can truly make a difference in their future success. The challenge lies is getting all parents to do it - specifically low-income parents whose children historically start kindergarten with far fewer words than their wealthier counterparts. This article highlights a new program in Rhode Island called Providence Talks, "the most ingenious of several new programs across the country that encourage low-income parents to talk more frequently with their kids."

Paula Laquerre

It makes sense that young people who have been abused or neglected would be more likely to get in serious trouble. But the numbers are nonetheless pretty amazing. Almost half of the minors in the state's adult prison system get there from the child welfare system, and a child with a history of abuse and neglect is 55 percent more likely to be arrested. 


What is State of Opportunity?