STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

A lasting friendship begins after Ann Arbor woman responds to radio story with kindness

Kathy Ponce

For the next few days we're featuring stories of ordinary listeners who read or heard a story on State of Opportunity and decided to give some of their resources or time as a result. We know many of you have done the same. If you've got a story to share or an idea of how people could help let us know here. If you need ideas of what you could do, check out the resources page. We'll update it with  listener suggestions as they come in.

We wrap up our State of Opportunity coverage for the year with a conversation between two women whose paths crossed after hearing a story on the radio. One of the women, Keisha, lives in poverty with her three young children. The other one, Judy, lives a very comfortable life in Ann Arbor with her husband. The two share the story of how they met a year ago, right around the holidays. The transcript is below. 

JUDY: Well one morning my husband and I were getting up with Michigan Radio in our bedroom and I heard this interview that gave me actual pause and I just stopped, and my husband sort of noticed that I had stopped, so he stopped, too, and we were listening.

After I heard that, I said to him, you know, something really is motivating me to try to meet this woman. I feel so touched by her and I feel for her situation and I want to see if there’s a way we can help.

And he said, go for it. So I did.

KEISHA: I got the call from [reporter] Jennifer [Guerra] and maybe a text message that a lady wanted to meet me and basically befriend me and I was like, that sounds a little scary.

J: We met at Briarwood Mall at the Play Station, and as soon as I saw her, the radiant smile, the gorgeous person that you are inside and out, I was just like yeah, this was right!

K: We had a great time in the mall, met her family, she met my family.  We ate a little bit and then Judy and her husband took us out to the parking lot and she had like three or four huge, leaf bags of just all Christmas presents. I was like, wow. So then she asked me: Do you have a tree? I said no, I don’ t have a tree. She was like, we’re about to go get you a tree right now so you and your babies can have a very, very good Christmas. She got me a real tree, a real tree. It was, that was the best Christmas ever, never had a Christmas like that. That was awesome. Oh my God I love you guys y’all are the best, and I thank you so much.

J: You’re gonna make me cry.

K: No, don’t cry, don’t cry. Judy wants the best for me. Because believe me, when we talk, she’s on my head: Are you doing this, are you doing that, what do you need help with, what can I assist you with? Just so I can get on my feet where I want to be very, very bad. She sees that. 

J: You honor me too much, I haven’t really done that much for you.

K: It’s the time, it’s the thought. It’s not just the monetary things and the material things. Believe me, believe me. I like the relationship that we have.

J: Well you deserve every bit of it and your greatness just shines through your smile.

K: Thank you.

J: I have every reason to believe that you will be successful.

K: Thank you.

Jennifer is a reporter with Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and worked as a producer for WFUV in the Bronx.
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