Sarah Alvarez

Public Insight Journalist

Sarah is a reporter and producer for the State of Opportunity Project.

Sarah's job is to get readers, listeners and communities participating in reporting. She's also the founder of State of Opportunity's Infowire project. 

Before her work at Michigan Radio, Sarah was a civil rights lawyer in New York and a consultant to social justice organizations in California. She graduated from the University of Michigan, Columbia Law School and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

She has a wonderful husband and three wonderful, busy kids and no time for anything else.

Ways To Connect

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.

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. 

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. 

Hoodwatch / flickr

This Thursday at 3:00 p.m. we'll have a special show taking a focused look at juvenile justice in the state. 

Vicki and Chuck Rogers / flickr

Over the holidays, Governor Snyder signed a bill to bring back drug testing for welfare beneficiaries.

Snyder signed the bill on Christmas Eve, so it’s not surprising it slid by without most Michiganders noticing. But drug testing as a particular set of hoops for cash assistance is such old news in Michigan it’s hard to think critically about it anymore.

Steven Depolo / flickr

We'll see you in 2015. You can make it your New Year's resolution to share some stories with us. We'll look forward to it.

courtesy of Karen Wang

Karen Wang calls her house an autism house. She does have a son who is 13 and autistic, but she’s kind of talking about the décor.  "The sofas are in bright mismatched colors," she says. There are two pinball machines in the room, with fitted black fabric covering them right now. "Following the pinball helps with visual tracking," she explains. "Everything has a therapeutic purpose."

Sarah Alvarez

This is part of a special collaboration between Bridge Magazine and Infowire. Read their report here.