Category: Community Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
The General Motors Foundation has pledged more than $380,000 to keep local youth nourished, learning and active all summer long as part of its second annual “Summer in the D” initiative.
“We are committed to supporting activities designed to make summer a time of both fun and learning,” said Vivian Pickard, president, GM Foundation.
“The slate of activities we help to fund provides our local youth with engaging experiences that incorporate reading, science, technology, engineering math, the arts and more.”
The GM Foundation’s “Summer in the D” includes support for the following:
Forgotten Harvest: Million Meal Challenge for Kids: This initiative is designed to fight child hunger and increase the distribution of nutritious fresh food to vulnerable tri-county Detroit children during the summer when they lose access to school breakfast and lunch programs. For more information, visit http://forgottenharvest.org/.
Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront (July 11 – August 16): A summer literacy program presented by the General Motors Foundation in partnership with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. This interactive, family-oriented program is designed to promote literacy throughout Southeastern Michigan and engage children ages 3 to 10, and their families, in the re-energized Detroit Riverfront.
Program highlights include free books, local celebrity readers, live interactive family friendly entertainment, arts & crafts, free rides on the Cullen Family Carousel and more. For more information, visit http://www.detroitriverfront.org.adsf
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History:Literacy and Libraries for All: Upon visiting the museum, students from Title I schools can receive free books to build a personal library.
The program also provides incentives for ongoing participation by allowing students to tailor their reading lists to suit their own interests, by providing free tickets to special workshops and by offering special prizes for meeting personal goals. Families are encouraged to engage in take-home and on-site opportunities as well. For more information, visit http://TheWright.org.
Danialle Karmanos Work It Out: This summer, DKWIO will conduct a 10-week yoga and nutrition programs to help education and prevent childhood obesity and promote optimum health in mind, body and spirit.
Certified yoga instructors will lead one-hour sessions that incorporate movement along with a nutrition education for kids (ages 8-11), families and caretakers in a more strategic manner. For more information, call (313) 227-7946.
Detroit PAL Program: In partnership with the Detroit Police Department and community volunteers, Detroit PAL builds character in young people through athletic, academic, and leadership development programs, serving more than 10,000 participants. For more information, call (313) 833-1600 or visit http://www.detroitpal.org.
First Book – The Stories for All Project: The GM Foundation supports a sustainable solution to expand the market for diversity in children’s literature to help kids become strong readers and identify with stories featuring heroes and experiences they can relate to. For more information, visit http://www.firstbook.org/.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan: Early Literacy Hospital Strategy enables metro Detroit hospitals to offer new mothers guidance on the benefits of starting a daily, 15-minute reading habit with newborns. Mothers can sign up to receive a book each month, as well as a DVD that shares tips on pre-literacy activities for children, newborns to age five.
To date, the program has provided key literacy kits to more than 500 families in return for a commitment to read to their children each day. It also connects parents with 65 Early Learning Centers, providing them with child care education and community services. For more information, visit http://www.liveunitedsem.org/.
Lasky Recreation Center: This Detroit-based center is a great place for youth and families to be active and learn all year long. The center offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities for kids up to age 18, including crafts, basketball, boxing, disc and mini-golfing and more. Lasky’s renovation was completed in 2012 through a grant from the GM Foundation. For more information, call (313) 628-2030.
In addition to these programs, the GM Foundation has been a long-time supporter of the Detroit Historical Society, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Opera House, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Science Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Music Hall.
These institutions offer plenty of activities for Michigan residents to enjoy this summer.
For more information regarding the GM Foundation’s support of the community, visit www.gm.com/gmfoundation.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 02:32
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle
The Belle Isle Conservancy, in partnership with the Detroit Recreation Department, is launching a new program, Belle Isle Summer Saturdays (BLISS) to bring new energy to one of metro Detroit’s most popular parks. BLISS will take place on August 17 and September 21 (third Saturday of the month during the summer).
In addition to enjoying all that Belle Isle already offers on Saturdays, visitors will have opportunities to attend yoga classes, enjoy tours of the island, rent kayaks and bikes, purchase food from food trucks, adopt rescued dogs and much more. All programming is being undertaken in partnership with Detroit area non-profits, small businesses, corporations, community groups and individuals.
The “Beauty of Belle Isle Art Contest” kicked off on July 20. Detroiters were asked to submit artwork (photos, drawings, sculptures, etc.) Winners will receive cash prizes. Works of art will be on display at the finale event on September 21.
In efforts to transform the island, several existing volunteer groups have combined to form the Belle Isle Conservancy (BIC). The Conservancy has begun to mobilize resources to reinvest in the park and provide a positive experience for thousands of park users who return year after year.
Michele Hodges, president of the Belle Isle Conservancy, said, “BLISS is a great opportunity for metro Detroit residents to experience this beautiful landmark and really enjoy Belle Isle. Many activities like these take place in other parks across the country and we’re happy to be able to create this experience for Detroiters.”
The Belle Isle Summer Series is made possible by the generous support of The GM Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. Additional partners include Project for Public Spaces, D: Hive, Detroit River Sports, Detroit Bus Company, Detroit Dog Rescue, Arts & Scraps, WDET, and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.
Attendees should visit the information tent, located at the Belle Isle Aquarium, for brochures, maps, and full details. BLISS hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:31
Category: Community Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
“Helping more of our young people afford college should be at the forefront of American’s agenda. It shouldn’t be a Democratic or a Republican issue.” — President Barack Obama, University of Colorado-Boulder, April 24, 2012
The Obama administration has called on Congress to swiftly pass a bipartisan compromise to keep student loan interest rates low this year. The bipartisan compromise, which is similar to a plan proposed by the president in the spring, will cut rates on all new loans this year and save a typical undergraduate $1,500 over the life of those loans.
The plan allows borrowers to benefit from the low interest rates currently available in the marketplace and guarantees that borrowers are able to lock in these rates over the life of their loans. In the future, fixed rates would be determined each year by market conditions, helping ensure that borrowers’ rates are more in line with the government’s own cost of borrowing, while capping how high rates can rise. The plan also represents a rejection of proposals designed to raise student rates in order to reduce the deficit.
Lower Interest Rates Now: Under the compromise plan, nearly 11 million borrowers will see their interest rates decrease on new loans. About 8.8 million undergraduate borrowers will see their rates on new loans drop from 6.8 to 3.86 percent, and about 1.5 million Graduate Unsubsidized Stafford borrowers will see their rates drop on new loans from 6.8 percent to 5.41 percent. And over 1 million GradPLUS and Parent PLUS borrowers will see their rates on new loans drop from 7.9 percent to 6.41 percent — the first reduction in years.
Over $1,500 in Savings for a Typical Undergraduate: Under the compromise plan, a typical undergraduate borrower who borrows $6,922 will save about $1,545 over the life of those loans. A graduate borrower who borrows $25,666 will save $2,913 over the life of those loans and the average parent borrowing $17,980 working hard to support their child’s college education will feel the relief of $2,066 in savings on the loans they take out next year. Beyond saving money on their student loans, students and families will have the added protection of student loan interest rate caps in case market rates in the future become too high.
Protections Against High Rates: The plan caps how high student loan interest rates can rise—a key provision pushed by Senate Democrats — giving students protection against future economic conditions. Undergraduate loans are capped at 8.25 percent, graduate loans at 9.5 percent, and PLUS loans at 10.5 percent. These loans also include fixed interest rates over the life of the loan, protecting students from the risk that rates will fluctuate over time and providing certainty for borrowers.
A Fiscally Responsible Solution for the Road Ahead on College Affordability: The compromise plan rejects calls to raise student rates to reduce the deficit, while keeping the federal student loan programs on secure footing for the future. It also keeps the focus on the work ahead needed to tackle broader issues affecting college affordability for American families by ensuring we have the necessary resources available to keep investing in other critical higher education programs such as the Pell Grant program. Already, President Obama has made historic investments in college affordability through the expansion of the Pell Grant program, student loan reform and the creation of the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This compromise solution represents an important next step, as the Administration continues to work with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to tackle rising college tuitions and unaffordable debt.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:06
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle
Mayoral candidate Fred Durhal Jr., armed with 35 years of leadership in government, is in his third term as state representative. He believes that Detroiters deserve far more than they are getting with the current administration and says, as the next mayor of the Motor City, he will deliver far better services to the people of Detroit. Durhal stopped by the Michigan Chronicle’s office recently to talk about his vision and plans for a stronger Detroit. Chronicle writer Donald James conducted the interview.
MICHIGAN CHRONICLE: Why do you want to be the next mayor of Detroit, and what separates you from the other mayoral candidates?
FRED DURHAL: I grew up in Detroit and I don’t like what I see regarding the management of the city. I can make that judgment because I once served under the greatest mayor that Detroit ever had, Coleman A. Young. What I see in this city has not been good for the people of Detroit. I know that I have leadership characteristics that are good. My experience base is very broad. I’m the only candidate in this race that has participated in four levels of government: city, county, federal and state. I’ve worked in two branches of government: the executive and legislative.
So I totally understand government. I know how it works when it’s running well. I also understand how to fix it when the wheels come off. I have 35 years of experience in government, and I’m the only candidate in this race that has this type of broad experience and credentials.
MC: What’s your opinion of the emergency management law and how would you work with the current EM if elected?
FD: I was one of the first legislators who was opposed to the emergency manager stature when they came out with Public Act 4. I, along with Jessie Jackson, John Conyers and others, went to Benton Harbor and protested the emergency manager in that city. I’ve been to Pontiac and Ecorse as well to protest. I’m against the law.
However, the man (Kevyn Orr) is here now.
A court will ultimately determine the constitutionality of the emergency manager. While that process is happening, we still have to run the city. As mayor, I want to do what needs to be done to straighten this city out.
However, I will be doing everything I can to shorten the emergency manager’s stay in Detroit.
MC: What would be the impact on Detroit if it went into bankruptcy? (Note: This question was asked several days before Detroit’s EM filed chapter 9 bankruptcy.)
FD: It would have a dramatic impact, not only on the city, but on the county and state. The credit ratings for all of these entities will hit rock bottom. There would be a loss of control of how to straighten out the city’s problems because it will be decided by the federal court.
Bankruptcy is not a desirable situation for Detroit. It will prolong the recovery of the city. In fact, it’s probably a poison pill to the city and state of Michigan.
MC: Why did you file a lawsuit against Gov. Snyder as it relates to building a second bridge to Canada?
FD: My lawsuit was of a constitutional argument that the governor violated separation of power. The governor, as the executive branch of government, cannot take on the responsibility of the legislature. The governor breached the constitution of the state of Michigan by deciding to go around the legislature.
I thought that he was wrong and played against the legislature. We went to court. An Ingham County judge ruled in favor of the governor. However, I still feel that the governor was wrong.
MC: How do you plan to improve Detroit neighborhoods?
FD: There’s a lot of focus on developing downtown and Midtown, which is fantastic. However, we need to have that focus all over town. We need to focus on the development of neighborhoods around Six Mile Road and Seven Mile Road We need to focus on developing neighborhoods around Clairmont, Dexter, Grand River, Joy Road and around East and West Grand Boulevard.
We need to have strong, beautiful and safe neighborhoods all over the city. I will have a very aggressive approach to taking abandoned homes down and making our neighborhoods vibrant again.
MC: What’s your view on improving public safety in Detroit?
FD: I will end 12-hour shifts for our police officers. I will open up police precincts where they are open for our citizens, 24-hours a day, and seven-days a week. I want to take the two officers in patrol cars, split them up and give them separate patrol cars to flood the streets. People need to see the police patrolling our city to feel safe.
Safety, however, has to be more than a feeling; it has to be reality. I want the maximum number of officers possible patrolling the streets of Detroit.
MC: Do you think that Detroit could become a city of destination for tourists?
FD: As mayor, I will sit with the editorial boards of our local newspapers, as well as our convention bureau and the Pure Michigan people to work out how we are going to advertise and market Detroit. I don’t think enough of that has been done.
We have to make sure that the positive things about our city get out to the nation and world through our media outlets.
There are plenty of great reasons why tourists should come to our great city. We just have to do a better of job of marketing and advertising what’s great about coming to Detroit.
“There’s a lot of focus on developing downtown and Midtown, which is fantastic. However, we need to have that focus all over town.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:21
Dara Munson, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, to be Recognized by Eastern Michigan University
Category: Community Written by Michigan Chronicle Staffi
Dara Munson, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, is being honored as the Eastern Michigan University Black Alumni Association, 2013 Distinguished Alumna of the Year, an accolade bestowed on alumni who have demonstrated leadership and civic excellence through their professional and community involvement.
Recently appointed to the Eastern Michigan University Board Foundation Board of Trustees, Dara is a seasoned nonprofit executive whose career has focused on the needs of at-risk children. Dara is passionate about serving youth and lives her passion through her professional endeavors and civic projects. She has been a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2005.She is a past member of the State of Michigan Board of Social Work and served on the board of directors for Alternative for Girls. Other civic memberships include the Michigan Women's Foundation, The Hospice of Michigan, S.E. Michigan Regional Advisory Board and the Open Arms Grieving Children's Program. 2010 Michigan Chronicle Woman of Excellence and a recipient of the 2010 Eastern Michigan University Alumni Association Achievement Award, Dara was a 2009 honoree of Crain's Detroit Business 40 Under 40.
"Dara continues to embody the definition of true leadership and provokes positive change in the lives of youth in Metropolitan Detroit," shared Dale Kirk, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit Board Chairman. "We are proud of the hard work and dedication she displays and congratulate her on this tremendous honor from EMU."
Each year the members of the EMU Black Alumni Association nominate and vote for a Distinguished Alumna/nus to be recognized and honored. Dara will receive her Distinguished Alumna award at the 4th Annual Evening of Elegance, hosted by the Southeast Michigan Coalition of Alumni Associations (SEMCAA); the presiding event of the 2013 Black Alumni Weekend in Detroit, beginning July 26th. The collaborative effort of the alumni associations from Eastern Michigan University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University will offer a host of engaging, reminiscent, and exciting activities and events for African-American alumni from SEMCAA universities.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 11:40
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