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

State of Opportunity needs YOU

Joe Shlabotnik

State of Opportunity is committedto telling stories about some of life's tougher experiences in a way you can listen to, connect with, and talk about. 

We believe that every person has a story to tell and that everyone deserves the opportunity to share it.

Consider us that opportunity.

Right now, we're really interested in doing some stories on the importance of networking, especially for at-risk youth. Have you or someone you know created a social network from scratch? If so, we want to hear from you.

Or maybe you or someone you know didn't start out with a lot of opportunities in life (lower income family, bad neighborhood, poor performing neighborhood school) but through the invisible hand of networking "made it"? Or maybe you didn't make it despite the help of networks?

We also want to explore what life after high school is like and how it differs from person to person. Help us out: 

  1. Do you know a recent high school grad who decided to WORK instead of go on to college this fall?
  2. Do you know a recent high school grad who is going to college as a first gen student -- maybe at community college, maybe at 4-year university?
  3. Do you know a recent high school grad who's thinking about joining the military instead of going to college?
  4. Do you know a recent high school grad who's taking time off from school to figure out what's next?

If none of the above sounds familiar, there are many other stories we care about:

  • We want stories about the best the state has to offer, and where it falls short.
  • We’d like to hear how parents and teachers and schools cope and change lives.
  • What hopes do young people have for their own futures, and what do they think they’ll need to get there?
  • We want to know what social service workers would like to see done differently.
  • And, we want to hear from families about resilience, resourcefulness, triumphs, and the obstacles to success.

In case you need a reminder, here are the multiple ways you can share your experience with us:
Option 1: Request a visit from the State of Opportunity Mobile Storytelling booth!

Created by Sarah Alvarez, this mobile booth allows listeners to record their experiences from around the state. It's nothing fancy, just a set of recording equipment that's ideal for groups of people who want to share an experience, reflect on something happening in their community, or document an important event. The State of Opp team can help craft questions or prompts to help make the booth a success. E-mail to sign up.

Option 2: Record your story on your smartphone

If you have a smartphone, you have recording equipment at your fingertips. You can record a pitch - a short description of what you want to share and why you want to share it - and send it our way via e-mail. If we like your pitch, we might ask you to record your narrative using Soundcloud. Unfamiliar with Soundcloud? You can find a step-by-step description of how to use it here

Option 3: Share your story via the Public Insight Network

It's easy - just go to this website and follow the prompts.

If you're feeling uneasy about sharing your story with reporters, we get that. That's why the State of Opportunity team put together this INFOWIRE post with tips like:

During the interview: One: Always tell the truth. If you’re not sure about something be honest about that. If you’re not sure if your memory is totally accurate about events, say that. Two: If you feel your safety or future will be impacted by what you’re about to say, ask if you can only use your first name, or a pseudonym. (Most reporters will need permission from their editor to allow this.) Three: Assume you're always on the record when speaking with a reporter. Unless you specifically say you don’t want to be quoted on something, or that something is "off the record" a reporter will feel free to use it. Make sure a reporter agrees to go "off the record" before you say something, not after.

So, what are you waiting for? We can't wait to hear from you.­

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