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Series & Documentaries

courtesy of Mary DeBoer.

This is the first part in our documentary, The Hidden Epidemic. You can hear the full documentary on Michigan Radio on Thursday, July 16th at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. Or, subscribe to the State of Opportunity podcast on iTunes to hear each part as it’s released.

Mary DeBoer still remembers how it felt in the winter of 2004.

“Everything was fine,” she tells me, sitting at her kitchen table as the sun goes down behind her. “There was no threat or scariness that something was imminent, that something was going to happen.”

She remembers sitting at this same table, every night for family dinner. Every night at 6 o’clock sharp. No matter what else was going on, Mary, her husband and her three children would sit down here for dinner. Until their last night together, on December 14th, 2004.

Ana C. / flickr

Dr. April Ping is a pediatrician in Livingston county. She's known by foster parents in her area as somebody who understands the complications the foster care system brings, and the health concerns it creates for kids.

Andrea Claire Maio

  

It’s high school graduation season, and there’s lots to celebrate. Michigan’s four-year graduation rate is 79%, the highest it’s been in years.

But for students of color and students from low-income families, the rate is significantly lower. To bring those numbers up, some schools let students at risk of failing “recover” credits to stay on track for graduation. But are those methods as rigorous as they should be?


Andrea Claire Maio

Our latest State of Opportunity documentary, Mister Knight's Neighborhood, introduced us to two students at Cody High School: 15-year-old Kaylan and 16-year-old Kevin. Both students are on the brink, and trying to make it to graduation.

 

But one is having a much harder time.

Andrea Claire Maio

Cody High School is on Detroit’s west side, in a neighborhood that struggles with blight, drugs and gangs.

As Cody football coach Jimmie Knight says, "everybody wants to be out the neighborhood ... but more people still stuck here than ever."

So how do you get out? Well, first you have to graduate high school. For students who are on the brink, that’s where Knight comes in. He grew up in the Cody neighborhood, and moved back several years ago to help kids from the neighborhood graduate and find a way out.

Andrea Claire Maio

Mister Knight's Neighborhood: Coach Knight from Apiary Projects on Vimeo.

Today marks the premier of Jennifer Guerra's documentary, Mister Knight's Neighborhood. Listen to it on air at 3:o0 p.m. and 10:00 p.m or listen to it here.

Mister Knight's Neighborhood: Audio and Transcript

Apr 30, 2015

Cody High School is on Detroit’s west side, in a neighborhood that struggles with blight, drugs and gangs.

KNIGHT: Everybody wants to be out the neighborhood, everybody do. But more people still stuck here than ever.

So how do you get out? Well, first you have to graduate high school. For students who are on the brink, that’s where this guy comes in. His name is Jimmie Knight:

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

 

Mark Jackson settles into his chair, and takes a sip of coffee. He’s been in interviews all morning, meeting with high school students and parents interested in enrolling at Wayne State University through the APEX program, which Jackson oversees.

Jackson tells me he’s worked in college academic advising for 35 “some-odd” years, at six different institutions.

And he loves the work.

“You know, we’re helping change the world here,” he says. “People think I say that tongue-in-cheek. No, I’ve seen it happen.”

 Jackson begins to tell me a story of a student he met in Chicago years ago.

The U.S. Army / Flickr

Many folks who tuned into Jennifer Guerra’s arresting audio documentary on foster care, "Finding Home," wondered how some of the young adults featured, people like Jasmine Uqdah, were able to overcome so much adversity in their young lives. Their success is so statistically unlikely, that numerically and practically it is almost impossible. So what explains it?

Is it grit?

Sue Kley

State of Opportunity aired a documentary yesterday on foster care. All this week, we're publishing a series of articles that explore specific aspects of the foster care system, and some of the challenges kids within that system face.

Imagine being removed from your home, from the only place you've really ever known. You're taken away from your parents, your toys, your bed, maybe even your siblings, and told that you have to live here, in this new place with these new people. Imagine what that must feel like.

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