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Families & Community

The connections that build opportunity.

row of books
Alan Levine / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

More than 5 million kids in the U.S. have have a parent who is currently or was previously incarcerated at some point since they were born. That's about one in every 14 kids under the age of 18.

Musicians team up with at-risk youth in songwriting workshop
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The girls who live on the Vista Maria campus in Dearborn Heights have all experienced some kind of serious abuse or neglect. Some are the victims of human trafficking, all are in the foster care system. They come to Vista Maria to work through the trauma and heal.

Jozef Jason, 7, reads to his barber
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Most kids will head back to school this week ready to learn. But some will have to spend a good chunk of time re-learning things they forgot over the summer. The dreaded “summer slide” has been linked to persistent achievement gaps between kids from lower-income families and their better-off peers.

Here's how The New York Times describes what happens when a kid's brain takes a break during those summer months:

A young girl plucks out notes on the violin
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

No doubt you’ve heard by now about Pokemon Go!. It was all the rage this summer. But we did manage to find a group of kids who put down their smartphones and picked up something much more old school.

Seven weeks ago, Kennedy Craig had never held a violin in her hands, let alone play one. But here she was, seven weeks later, plucking out "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on a pint-sized violin. She likes the instrument so much she wants "to get one for Christmas!"

three women and one man with microphone
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

That's the question we explored at our latest State of Opportunity live event. 

We had a full house at the Cook Library Center in Grand Rapids on Thursday for "Stories From the Shadows." The evening included personal stories from undocumented immigrants living in Grand Rapids as well as a panel discussion about the most pressing issues facing that community.  

State of Opportunity reporter Dustin Dwyer moderated the conversation with our three panelists: 

Baron Coleman is a Neighborhood Police Officer for the city of Detroit
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Trust between police and the black community has taken a major hit after the spate of recent police shootings of black men around the country. So this week, we're taking a look at how some Michigan cities are trying to rebuild that trust, starting at the neighborhood level.

 

 

 

I'm the police, and I'm here to help...and BBQ

 

Stories From the Shadows: Life as an undocumented immigrant

Thursday, August 18, 6:30-8:00

Cook Library Center

1100 Grandville Ave. SW

Grand Rapids, MI

49503

-Free admission-

 

The debate over immigration in America is heated. And it's become a major talking point in this year's presidential election. But beyond the headlines, what is life really like for undocumented immigrants in Michigan?

 

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Highland Park, Michigan was the birthplace of the automotive moving assembly line. The Highland Park Ford Plant produced the Model T, the world's first affordable car.

But the small town embedded within Detroit has since fallen on hard times.

three young men in front of poster board
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

The world hit a grim milestone this year. There are now more than 60 million refugees worldwide. That's the highest number ever recorded. The U.S. will accept 85,000 of them in 2016. 

The global humanitarian crisis has led to a heated political debate in Michigan, which is one of the top states for refugee resettlement in the country. But  advocates say that debate often overlooks the benefits that refugees bring to the communities where they settle.  

homeless man
Pedro Ribeiro Simoes / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday in Philadelphia, and it's expected to draw tens of thousands of people to the city.

And while attendees may know Philly as the City of Brotherly Love, they may be less aware that it's home to roughly 15,000 people experiencing homelessness – around 700 of them unsheltered.

During the DNC, extra resources are available to homeless residents.

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