What's going on in Lake County, MI?
When I think of kids in poverty, my mind more often than not conjures up an image of a child in some kind of urban setting. And our stories at State of Opportunity tend to reflect that. We've done tons of reports from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Flint, Detroit and its suburbs.
Reporter Sarah Alvarez brought us a great education series from the rural town of Stockbridge. But aside from that, we haven't spent too much time outside of Michigan's urban centers. So this summer, we're packing up our bags and heading north for a couple weeks to see what's what for kids from low-income families in more rural parts of the state.
Top on our list of places to visit is Lake County, about 30 miles east of Ludington, 63 miles south of Traverse City. According to the latest Kids Count data, the children of Lake County are not doing so well. If you check out their chart of the 15 indicators for child well-being, Lake County tops the list with five mentions as the "worst" county. Lake County has the state's highest rate of child poverty (45%), the highest rate of free and reduced lunches (97%), the highest percentage of children not proficient in 4th grade reading (54%) and high school reading (71%), and the highest rate of students not graduating from high school (47%).
We want to find out what's going on in Lake County - what kinds of services are available, what challenges to folks face. We want to hear their stories. If you know anyone who lives in Lake County or have a story to share yourself, please let us know. We're all ears.