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#OTGYpsi: The nonprofit DAPCO celebrates 26 years of serving the Ypsilanti community


Concentrate Ann Arbor

Rylee Barnsdale's Feature Article:Ypsilanti nonprofit marks 26 years of helping women and families find support and stability

Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach (DAPCO)

United for ALICE

DAPCO Contact Info


Josh Hakala: You're listening to 89.1 WEMU. I'm Josh Hakala, and this is On the Ground Ypsi, a program intended to bring you the stories of the Ypsilanti community. We bring you On the Ground Ypsi in partnership with the reporting team at Concentrate Media. And today, our focus is on a local nonprofit now celebrating 26 years of guiding those struggling financially to improve their quality of life. Today, I'm joined by Concentrate Media reporter Rylee Barnsdale, who is reporting this week on the local organization called DAPCO. It offers everything from entrepreneurial and relationship mentoring to direct aid in the form of baby products for parents in need. Rylee, thanks so much for joining us.

Rylee Barnsdale: Thanks, Josh.

Josh Hakala: All right. In the Concentrate Media article, we learn a great deal about DAPCO, including its purpose and also the meaning behind its acronym. Can you tell us about both?

Rylee Barnsdale: Yeah. So, DAPCO, which stands for Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach, is a nonprofit which is actually originally from Wayne County and moved here to Ypsi in 2007. And they have a mission to serve women and families in the area in a number of ways, many of which that you stated, you know, from assisting young, first-time or expecting mothers and parents in need, employment training for youth, as well as senior citizen outreach. So, there's really a focus on the whole family when it comes to DAPCO.

Josh Hakala: And in the article, you give us some great insight behind DAPCO, the whole story behind its founding way back in 1997. Can you share a little bit about that?

Rylee Barnsdale: So, the group was originally founded 26 years ago by Tawana Parker, who aimed to create a group for local women who wanted to uplift and promote their small businesses. And that took the form of selling Tupperware, maybe it was making jewelry, a handful of different things. And that eventually turned into outreach to smaller local youth homes and helping young women and girls there. When Tawana saw that there were larger homes that were getting a lot more attention and wanting to extend the same sort of services to groups that maybe weren't seeing as much attention from places like maybe churches or other outreach programs. And that's really where DAPCO became DAPCO. And the focus shifted more from focusing on helping women to women as well as their families.

Josh Hakala: And, today, it's grown into an organization that has expanded into Washtenaw County, offering a leg up to those considered financially restrained?

Rylee Barnsdale: That's right. So, many of the folks that DAPCO serves fall into this category called Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed, or ALICE, which basically means that these folks are actively working, but they're not making enough money to support their, you know, day-to-day lives. And that can include paying rent. It can include being able to buy groceries or paying for utilities, things like that. And United Way of Washtenaw County actually just recently put out their ALICE report, which found that almost 30% of households in Washtenaw County are considered ALICE, which makes the work that DAPCO's doing, providing these essential needs, as well as youth programming, employment and recovery coaching, all the more important and can really make folks feel not only more secure but also less alone.

Josh Hakala: So, in the report in Concentrate Media this week, you talked extensively with Brenda Griffin, who is one of DAPCO's founding members. Brenda is joining us now by phone. Thank you so much for being with us.

Brenda Griffin: Well, thank you so much for having me.

Josh Hakala: Tell us how you were drawn to this effort three decades ago.

Brenda Griffin: Well, knowing that Sister Parker, who, as it has been stated, is the founder and the visionary for our now, invited a few of her friends together to share something that was on her heart and on her mind, and that was to showcase women that had various gifts and talents and businesses. And she really wanted to give those women an opportunity to share with others--with each other--and eventually to the community just what each of us did. There were some selling jewelry like myself. There were some that were seam stressing, making beautiful garments and hats, and even Tawana Parker had various gifts and talents of crafting and seam stressing and various things that she did. We came to find out that, after bringing these women together, that there were so many gifts and talents and ministries, if you will, that had not been tapped into. And some of the women discovered that there were things that they could do, or maybe had in their heart to do, but had not necessarily reached out to do and did not really have that platform or anyone to showcase them or give them the opportunity to do the wonderful things that they were doing or had the potential to do. And Miss Parker, she wanted to help people, and this was why she brought the people together that she thought would be an asset to the group, if you will. And since that time, there have been so many programs and initiatives that were born out of the initial bringing together of these various women that needed help, that needed encouragement.

Josh Hakala: And over the years, I'm sure you've seen DAPCO impacting the lives of so many people. Can you share some of the more meaningful impacts that you've seen?

Brenda Griffin: One of the things that stand out in my mind is the annual Family Health and Fun Day. We were able to provide various types of information pertaining to health, pertaining to blood pressure screening, pertaining to being active, getting exercise. As a matter of fact, at each event, we had a walk where the people that participated could actually take part in a walk. And it wasn't a long walk, it wasn't a 5k, or anything like that. But we walked around the block. And you'd be surprised that just taking that little walk how that could motivate people and how that could let people see the importance of being active, moving, exercising and taking note and better care of their health.

Josh Hakala: And you're listening to On the Ground Ypsi on 89.1 WEMU. I'm speaking with Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale and Brenda Griffin, who is one of DAPCO's founding members. And I know, Brenda, one of the programs that you are particularly active in now is the Community Baby Shower. Can you tell us about that?

Brenda Griffin: Miss Parker found that there were so many women that needed this type of support. Sometimes, the women were not in a permanent home situation regardless of their age. But, of course, we had a lot of younger women, teenagers. They didn't really have a permanent home situation. Maybe they were transitioning from one place to another and found that they were with child and didn't really have the support to purchase items that they knew would be necessary for that little baby once the baby was born. And so, Miss Parker took note of this and decided that there was something that DAPCO could do to help that situation. We were able to provide them with different items that they needed for that baby: strollers, car seat, diapers, of course, binkies, clothing, nutritional items. We even had--and I'm very proud to say--we even had presentations by people who could talk about, for instance, safe sleep once that baby gets here and how to do things to really help benefit that baby and the safety and support of that baby and that mom and that family.

Josh Hakala: It sounds like on top of providing, you know, you mentioned the items and the things that you need, but also passing along the knowledge. I know that just from personal experience. You know, you bring these babies home, and there's not really an owner's manual. There's lots of things that you need to be told. And maybe if you don't have those resources available to you. It sounds like that's also something that you provide with this with DAPCO.

Brenda Griffin: Absolutely. And that was a very big piece, a very important piece. As a matter of fact, it was so important that Miss Parker had the program set up where the women were required to listen to.... there were some presentations and information sharing that took place before the actual baby shower event.

Josh Hakala: So, it sounds like there's so many different ways to get involved. And if people are in need of such services or maybe if somebody would like to get involved with a baby shower to help out or be involved with any of these things, what would they do to get involved and get the details?

Brenda Griffin: One can certainly go online to DAPCO dot org and look at the things that we have done. And I'm sure that there will be some contact information there and a phone number.

Josh Hakala: All right. Well, Brenda Griffin, one of DAPCO's founding members and Concentrate Media Reporter Rylee Barnsdale, I want to thank both of you so much for joining us today on On the Ground Ypsi. I'm Josh Hakala, and this is 89.1 WEMU, Ypsilanti. Public radio from Eastern Michigan University. We're online at WEMU dot org.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.
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