Families & Community

The connections that build opportunity.

Tires litter the lawn in front of an abandoned house on Detroit's west side
Andrea Claire Maio / Apiary Projects

I went to a workshop last month called "Why in the D?," which was put on by students at Cody’s Academy of Public Leadership. The point of the day was not to talk about schools; it was to talk about something much closer to home: where they live and the outsize role their neighborhoods have on their lives. 

Dad and Baby
J.K. Califf / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Yesterday was Father's Day, and whether you're a biological, foster, an adoptive father, stepdad, grandfather, or father figure, we hope you had a great one.

The definition of fatherhood is changing. Dads are breaking out of the boxes of disciplinarian, breadwinner, and masculine role model.

Jalin, Valencia and Irmitha Pitchford in front of their new home in Wyandotte.
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

For a long time, parents were seen as the key factor to a child’s success, and longtime State of Opportunity listeners know there are a number of things parents can do to help their children get ahead. But even the most well-intentioned parent will tell you: It's hard to parent when you live in a neighborhood that's not safe.

 

neighborhood
Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Can where you live affect how successful you'll be? Though evidence is limited, studies suggest the answer is yes.

Song of the Sea on the "big screen" at the Play House
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

It’s been decades since Mr. Rogers invited us to be his neighbor.

 

 

All were welcomed – rich, poor, black, white, immigrant. But today the reality is neighborhoods are much more segregated and homogenous. There are, of course, exceptions. As part of our year-long look at neighborhoods and their impacts, we'll be spending time in a diverse neighborhood on the border of Hamtramck and Detroit that's actively working to integrate.

 

 


neighborhood
symmetry_mind / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

This month we entered our fifth and final year of State of Opportunity.

Whether you've followed us from the beginning, or joined us somewhere along the way, you'll know we've talked a lot about factors that affect the development of children and adolescents, from birth to young adulthood.

This year, we'll be shifting our focus heavily to neighborhoods.

How do our neighborhoods make us who we are? How much do they define us and the way we see the world? How do they shape our personality or impact our future?

A low-income, tiny house community is coming to Detroit

May 20, 2016
Tiny house
Tomas Quinones / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In April, we wrote about a tiny house community that recently opened in Austin, Texas. The residents who live there all have one thing in common: They are chronically homeless.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Angels Above Baby Gowns takes all those dresses you only wear once and put away, like wedding and bridesmaid gowns, or prom dresses – and turn them into burial gowns for babies. They call them "angel gowns." Then, they give them to parents and hospitals, for free.

Dawn Lafferty started Angels Above two years ago after reading a news story about a mom in the state of Washington whose son died at birth. The mom went home and made a gown to bury him in out of her old wedding dress. Lafferty, who has been sewing since she was 10 years old, says she thought it was a great idea.

Coming out as transgender senior year

May 11, 2016
Alanna Roberts and her mom Lindsey.
Alanna Roberts

High school seniors are counting down the last few weeks until graduation.

In the small township of Ida, Michigan, Alanna Roberts is looking back on a pretty big senior year.

She was the first student in her high school, and maybe even the whole township, to come out as transgender.

Those first few months were rough.

"A lot of guys threatened to rip out my hair extensions when I was like walking by,” she says, sitting on the front porch of the house she shares with her mom, stepdad and three younger brothers.  

Devyn Farries
Cass Adair / Michigan Radio

Michigan is in the midst of a controversy surrounding transgender people’s access to public bathrooms.

It’s a hot-button issue evidenced by the nearly 10,000 people who have filed public comments on the State Board of Education’s draft of voluntary guidelines for schools to meet the needs of their transgender students. By comparison, no other proposals have received more than 40 comments.

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