what's working

Arts/Culture
6:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Home Share program brings different generations under one roof

The Ann Arbor Home Share program at the University of Michigan connects homeowners over the age of 55 with younger people looking for a place to live. 

The program allows senior homeowners to manage household chores and offset costs--but it also offers companionship. 

Every arrangement is unique.

In some cases, younger roommates take on housework or run errands in exchange for lower rent. 

Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with Carol Tice and Kristina Gifford, who participate in the Home Share program. Tice, 80, rents out part of her home to Gifford, 24. Tice has been a participant for over 7 years.

Read more
What's Working
6:00 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Help for four-legged family members

Cascades Humane Society in Jackson, Mich. offers pet food and supplies to families who are having financial difficulties. The pet food pantry helps families keep their pets and reduces the number of animals in need of new homes.

As part of our What’s Working series, Michigan Radio’s Christina Shockley speaks with Debra Carmody, executive director of Cascades Humane Society, about the pet food pantry program. 

Sixty-two percent of US households have at least one pet. Yearly pet care costs can range from $500 to $800—an expense that might be out of reach for families that are forced to downsize. “When you see people coming to our agency and they have to relinquish their pets, it’s heartbreaking,” Carmody says. 

Read more
What's Working
9:59 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Michigan's State Park System

The Michigan State Park System won the gold medal award this year for the top state park system in the nation. People use the parks for swimming and boating during the summer, and hunting and downhill skiing during the winter, among a host of other activities.  We wanted to find out more about how the parks system affects our lives.  So, as part of our series, "What's Working," we called Ron Olson, the Chief of Parks and Recreation.

What's Working
12:06 am
Mon November 21, 2011

Volunteers paint Ann Arbor schools

Paint for Kids founder Gene Firn after a painting project at Lawton elementary in Ann Arbor. The ball of tape measures 3 ft in diameter.

Gene Firn is the founder of Paint for Kids, an Ann Arbor-based organization that mobilizes parents and community volunteers to paint schools.

Firn, who teaches a DIY painting class, was looking for practice walls for his students when he learned that the Ann Arbor school system doesn't have a painting department. He thought he could help, so he submitted a proposal.

The concept is simple: an experienced painter supervises parent volunteers as they transform hallways and classrooms over holiday weekends.

Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with Firn, who said that Paint for Kids fulfills the needs of local schools, but also attempts to create a culture of volunteering.

Read more
What's Working
6:23 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Helping fellow veterans

Many service members face hardships when they return from active duty.  A program at the University of Michigan puts new vets in touch with other veterans to help guide them through the process of returning to everyday life back at home. Brandon Brogan is the program manager of the Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran program. As part of our What's Working series, Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with Brogan.

What's Working
6:46 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Helping the family and friends of cancer patients

Nearly 1.6 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer this year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Half-a-million people will die of cancer this year. But millions of others are affected by cancer in some way. 

Wives, husbands, children, and friends of cancer patients can also face a crisis when a loved one is diagnosed and treated for cancer. As part of our weekly What's Working series, we spoke with Barb Hiltz, executive director of the Cancer Support Community of greater Ann Arbor. The organization works to help the family and friends of cancer patients.

What's Working
6:26 am
Mon November 7, 2011

Kalamazoo foundation's equity fellowship targets racial disparities

In October of 2010 the Kalamazoo Community Foundation declared itself an anti-racist organization. But the foundation's leaders recognized it was going to take more than just a declaration to counteract persistent racial disparities.

Sharon Anderson, the foundation's Community Investment Officer, spoke with Michigan Radio's Tamar Charney.

"We're looking at every aspect of our work to determine who is being left out. Who is not at the table, and why...so that whatever we do, we do from an informed perspective," said Anderson.

The anti-racist program at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation was designed to include youths and youth-serving organizations. The foundation provides resources for youth organizations to develop after-school programs that build academic and social skills, and teach leadership and civic engagement.

The goal is more than equality, it's equity--identifying the gaps and taking action to ensure that every group has the opportunity to be successful. For Anderson that means fighting racial disparities by educating leaders and having an informed perspective when it comes to community development initiatives.

"We struggled in the beginning--where should we start? And the lesson is, start anywhere and keep moving," Anderson said.

-Meg Cramer-Michigan Radio Newsroom

What's Working
6:30 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Aging gracefully with the creative arts

Every week on What’s Working, we take a look at people and organizations that are changing lives in Michigan for the better.

The Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation in Detroit has been around for 75 years. People who work at the foundation describe it as a center for creative aging, an opportunity for seniors to learn new ways to creatively express themselves as they grow older.

Christina Shockely, host of Michigan Radio's Morning Edition, spoke with Rachel Jacobsen, the community development coordinator at the foundation.

Jacobsen said that proactive aging allows seniors "to exercise the more creative parts of their minds and bodies in ways that help them age well and also, hopefully, continue to develop into old age."

Read more
What's Working
6:42 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Program teaches adults literacy skills, how to read

Every week on What’s Working, we take a look at people and organizations that are changing lives in Michigan for the better.

Ken Lampar is the director of Macomb Literacy Partners, a program that helps adults learn to read and improve their literacy skills.

Nearly 70,000 adults in Macomb County are functionally illiterate, meaning they can’t perform tasks like filling out a job application or reading a perscription. Though literacy rates vary across the state, an estimated 8% of adults in Michigan lack basic reading skills.

Read more
What's Working
7:00 am
Mon October 17, 2011

Job training in the kitchen for at-risk youth

Every week on What’s Working, we take a look at people and organizations that are changing lives in Michigan for the better.

Food Gatherers, a Southeast Michigan food bank, offers a job training program for youth ages 17 to 24.

Some participants are currently managing a mental illness, others have children or are primary caregivers for younger siblings—all are at risk for homelessness.

Christina Shockley, host of Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition, speaks with Mary Schlitt, director of development for Food Gatherers.

Read more
reaching out to migrant communities
12:11 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Reaching out to migrant communities with ESL classes

Every week on What’s Working, we take a look at people and organizations that are changing lives in Michigan for the better. Mabel Rodriguez, the director of the Migrant Outreach Program at the University of Michigan, is helping the migrant community by bringing U of M students to the community to teach English.

Rodriguez says that due to long hours and a limited ability to travel, members of the migrant community can not attend ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.

Read more
What's Working
6:41 am
Mon October 10, 2011

Creating opportunities for girls to attend college

Every Monday in our What’s Working series, we talk to people and organizations across the state that are changing lives for the better. This week, we speak with Sue Schooner.

Schooner never liked kids, but she started volunteering with a girls group in Ann Arbor a few years back, and the young women found a way into her life... and they never left. 

So, Schooner quit her job as an auto executive, and is now the executive director for “Girls Group,” a program that mentors and supports high school girls, giving them the opportunities they need to attend college.

“I think part of why the program is so successful is that we provide wraparound programming. So we have discussion groups every single Friday about parent communication, anger management, we have a very intensive college prep program which is basically available seven days a week,” Schooner says.

Read more
What's Working
2:30 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Empowering Flint youth to improve communities

Every week on What’s Working, we take a look at people and organizations that are changing lives in Michigan for the better. The Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center is targeting youth violence in Flint by getting kids involved in activities that improve their community.

Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) is an after-school program run by the center that gives students the tools to initiate and manage community development projects. Today we speak with Susan Morrel-Samuels, the managing director of the Youth Violence Prevention Center at the University of Michigan, who tells us what’s unique about the YES program.

Read more
What's Working
8:58 am
Mon September 19, 2011

Creating safer routes to schools

Governor Snyder wants us to get healthier. The Governor delivered a health address last week and part of his plan revolves around getting Michigan's kids healthier. During his speech, the Governor mentioned the "Safe Routes to Schools" initiative.

As part of our weekly "What's Working" series, we speak today with David Hornak, Principal of Horizon Elementary schools in Holt, Michigan. Hornak has enacted the "Safe Routes to Schools" program at his school.

Read more
What's Working
9:18 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Creating 'zero-waste' events

Every Monday morning, we take a look at groups around the state that are trying to improve things in Michigan. Today, we hear from Samantha Schiebold, a third year undergrad at the University of Michigan who is also the project manager of the Student Sustainability Initiative at U of M. The group works to increase awareness of ways students can protect the environment.

One of the Initiative’s biggest successes was hosting a zero waste U of M basketball game last year.

Read more
What's Working
7:15 am
Mon August 29, 2011

A community in Lansing takes care of its neighborhood

All this year, Michigan Radio has been spotlighting people and organizations that are trying to improve life in Michigan. In 2004, residents of the Averill Woods neighborhood in Lansing started an association. Their goal was, in part, to promote a positive quality of life, to help neighbors connect with each other, and to improve safety. We speak this morning with the President of the Averill Woods Neighborhood Association, Melissa Quon Huber.

What's Working
6:14 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Bringing women together to help local non-profits

The Michigan Women’s Dinner Initiative is a unique effort to raise money for women in need.

This is how it works:  Women gather at someone’s home, bring a dish to pass, and a check for the amount of money they’d generally pay for a dinner at a restaurant. That money is then donated to a certain charity or group that helps women and children. The other upside, the women visit and enjoy the food they’ve made to share. As part of our "What's Working" series, we spoke with Cate McClure, who runs the program.

Read more
What's Working
6:29 am
Tue August 16, 2011

Energy conservation in Detroit

 

The “Detroit Youth Energy Squad,” or D-YES, teaches high school students about energy conservation. The students then visit homes in Detroit and make the homes more energy efficient. As part of our What's Working series, we spoke with Justin Schott, founder of the group.

Read more
What's Working
7:48 am
Tue August 9, 2011

Finding help on top of a horse

Therapeutic Riding, Inc., or TRI, uses horseback riding to help children and adults with disabilities.

Jody Scott, the president of TRI, lists cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and multiple sclerosis as some of the disabilities TRI works with. Scott says, “If there’s some kind of challenge that an individual is facing, they will have an assessment to see if we would be a good fit.”

One of the riders that Scott works with has multiple sclerosis, and benefits physically from riding. Scott says, “[She] is able to, when the horse is moving, tighten up her core muscles so that she can balance correctly. Then she uses these same positions in her wheelchair, actually, to help hold her back up straight, and by sitting up straight it opens up her entire rib cage so she can breathe better.”

Horseback riding also has mental benefits. Scott says, “We have had some children who have never spoken a word, and their first words have been spoken while riding a horse at therapeutic riding.”

Read more
What's Working
10:06 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Tending a garden behind bars

When you think of a prison, you probably envision an expanse of concrete, metal bars, and tall barbed wire fences. But, on the grounds of the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, there’s also a huge garden. As part of our What's Working series, we speak with Ellen Baron, a horticulture instructor at the prison who teacher inmates how to plant crops. Once the food is grown, it's donated to a local food bank.

Pages