By Mariam C. Noland
When provided with great opportunities and quality resources, young people will devote energy and creativity toward addressing the challenges we are facing today and will face in the future. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan believes the success of this region is determined by how well we nurture and develop our children and young adults. Investing in the youth of southeast Michigan is a direct investment in the region’s future.
This fall, some of our young people are returning to school academically underprepared and physically unfit. According to Kids Count in Michigan, a report from the Michigan League for Public Policy, 37 percent of Michigan students have less than a basic reading level by the fourth grade, and 17 percent of the state’s children are living in concentrated poverty. We also know that only 13 percent of southeast Michigan’s young people are physically active an hour or more on a daily basis, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control
Growing up is tough, but it is even harder without access to services and programs that support academic, physical, and creative development. Therefore, at the Community Foundation, we invest in efforts across our seven-county region to bolster the health and wellness of young people, particularly during out-of-school hours. We also support opportunities where youth can lead and contribute, as we know their voice is key to solving community challenges. In this newsletter, we share a few stories of our investments in young people.
While we continue to listen to the ideas of young people, the views and opinions of all southeast Michigan residents are vitally important in shaping our region’s future. The Community Foundation invites you to join a new community engagement initiative called On the Table, where individuals young and old will have the opportunity to discuss ideas and propose solutions for improving their communities, so our youth can thrive now and in the future. We are inviting everyone to set aside some time on October 4 to take part in this initiative. Let your voice be heard and sign up to join a conversation or host a table yourself.
As summer comes to a close, we begin to think about the upcoming holidays. It is the time when many people consider giving to others, whether it be time or money. Collectively, we can continue to make this region a great place to live and work. Thank you for all that you do.
Mariam C. Noland
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan