In 2012, Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity (SOO) project started reporting on children in Michigan affected by poverty. This multi-year effort was designed to explore the barriers to success that low-income kids and families in Michigan face.
In that time, State of Opportunity reporters have filed hundreds of reports examining the impact that healthcare, education, family, the local community, and public policy have on child development. They have traveled across the state interviewing diverse voices from the community, including young people, parents living in poverty, service providers, experts, and more.
They have shared those stories on-air with listeners across the state and the nation, and thousands more through State of Opportunity’s website and social media platforms. The SOO team has also held community conversations and panel discussions, and participated in youth policymaker forums.
These events helped explore the extent of the problem with the public, and allowed people impacted by poverty to better advocate for themselves and their children.
The State of Opportunity project was made possible by a three year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which was later extended to cover two more years of reporting. That funding allowed Michigan Radio to employ several reporters, an online blogger and a community engagement coordinator devoted to telling and sharing these stories with the public. Now, with the end of that funding, the State of Opportunity project is wrapping up.
In its final special for the project, Stateside looked back on five years of reporting on low-income families, and State of Opportunity reporters Jennifer Guerra and Dustin Dwyer discussed what has, and hasn't, changed for Michigan's low-income families over that time.
All of the State of Opportunity reports, specials and other content can be found here.