at-risk youth

Laura Amtower
Community Action Network /

One person can make a difference! The Community Action Network (CAN) started its Art + Design program because one member of the community was concerned that many kids were missing out. Hear how a seed planted blossomed to now serve children in many of our neighborhoods, when CAN's director of education, Laura Amtower, joins host Deb Polich of Creative Washtenaw on this edition of "creative:impact."

Elevation Youth Corp /

In its second year, Ypsilanti youth arts nonprofit "Elevation Youth Corp" is planning to support the community with winter coats for those in need. WEMU's Lisa Barry and Sarah Rigg from On the Ground Ypsi talk with Yolanda Ragland, executive director of the group, about their satisfying first year and what lies ahead.

Mike Ball
Lost Voices / Facebook

Lost Voices is an organization that helps kids, who are victims of trauma, find hope and healing through the power of music.

WEMU's Jeremy Baldwin speaks to Lost Voices founder Mike Ball about the history of the group and their involvement in this weekend's Ann Arbor Marathon.

Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

A collaboration between two Ypsilanti-based nonprofits, Our House and HouseN2Home, has created a "home" for teenagers about to transition out of foster care. 


WEMU's Lisa Barry and On the Ground Ypsi project manager Sarah Rigg talk with Natasha Doan-Motsinger, the executive director of Our House, about how they worked together to create this necessary space.

Jennifer Spitler
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County /

For over a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has mentored at-risk children around the country. It has fostered lifelong connections and friendships resulting in postive outcomes for marginalzed and at-risk youngsters. As expected, the pandemic and the many racially-charged events over the past year-and-a-half present more challenges. WEMU's David Fair checked in with Jennifer Spitler, the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County, to see how the "Bigs" and "Littles" are faring. 

Eli Savit
Washtenaw County /

Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit is creating change. Washtenaw County has joined communities across the world using art + creativity to detour youth away from the justice system. Eli talks about his office’s decision to add preventative creative programs and its partnership with Washtenaw My Brother’s Keeper and the Vera Institute of Justice on this "creative:impact" with show co-hosts Deb Polich of Creative Washtenaw and WEMU’s David Fair.

Jen Spitler
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County /

The year 2020 has brought many challenges, from political rancor, to COVID-19, and renewed efforts to end systemic racism.  Such challenges can be especially difficult for Washtenaw County's young people.  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County has pushed on in helping youngsters find their way.  On this week's "Washtenaw United," the organization's executive director, Jen Spitler, discusses the program and its operations in a most unusual year with WEMU's David Fair.  

Washtenaw United
Susan Smith / United Way of Washtenaw County

For the last five decades, Ozone House has been a place where troubled young people can go for shelter and guidance.  Bara Youness was one of many kids who benefited from this organization, and, now, he acts as one of its advocates and volunteers there as well.  Youness and Ozone House executive director Krista Girty join WEMU's David Fair for a conversation about Ozone House's work and legacy in this week's "Washtenaw United." 

Peace Neighborhood Center
United Way of Washtenaw County /

For 50 years, the Peace Neighborhood Center in Ann Arbor has been providing opportunity to those facing social and economic challenges.  The work continues today with services, such as the Alternatives for Youth (AFY) program.  The center's executive director, Bonnie Billups, Jr., joins David Fair for a conversation about creating opportunity and working toward equity in this week's "Washtenaw United."