89.1 WEMU

Sarah Rigg

Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Since 1969, Ozone House has been a place where young people can go to for shelter and protection from their troubled lives.  As the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary, it has begun expansion of its current Ypsilanti location, which will provide better services to its clients and their families.  Former client-turned-volunteer Bara Youness and Ozone House education program manager Dawn Espy talk about the program's future plans with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

It can be hard to put your thoughts on paper, whether it's writing a good cover letter to go with your resume, or getting started on that novel you put off for years.  This inspired representatives from Eastern Michigan University, 826Michigan, and the Ypsilanti District Library to form an alliance known as "YpsiWrites," which offers instruction and guidance to up-and-coming writers.  Catherine Calabro Cavin from 826Michigan and Jodi Krahnke from the Ypsilanti District Library talk about this amazing program in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," hosted by WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

When Kaiser Elementary School in Ypsilanti Township shut down as a result of the Willow Run/Ypsilanti schools merger, the nearby West Willow neighborhood received a serious blow.  It wasn't long before the Greater Faith Transition Center took control of the old school building.  From there, a lot of charitable action took place, such as providing a food pantry to offering clothes for job interviews.  The center's founders, Pastor Robert Ford and his wife Dorothy Ford, talk about their work with WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

When young people experience physical and/or emotional trauma, it becomes difficult for them to express themselves.  After seeing a group of former inmates perform theatre and poetry, Deborah Gordon-Gurfinkel developed the "Telling It" program, which helps kids cope with their experience through the visual and performing arts.  She, along with fellow counselors Cozine Welch and Kelly Kundrat, talk about what the program seeks to achieve in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi" with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many negative thoughts come along with breastfeeding, from less health benefits to making others uncomfortable while in public.  Luckily, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in Washtenaw County offers advice and support to nursing mothers, especially in the Black community.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg explore this highly-beneficial project with WIC service coordinator Gayathri Akella and WIC peer educator Dera Williams.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Habitats for Humanity of Huron Valley (HHHV) has been helping out Washtenaw County residents for years.  While the organization is mostly known for building houses, it has attempted other projects that could bring locals closer together.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," HSHV community development coordinator Ceara Murtagh joins WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg to talk about a new tool-lending library that's coming soon to Ypsilanti's West Willow neighborhood.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Ypsilanti Community Schools students are heading to Washington, D.C. to exhibit their art at the U.S. Department of Education.  Patrick Campion and Sarah Rigg speak with some of the students and a teacher involved in the project to find out how this happened, what the students are inspired to create, and how they're getting 60 students and teachers and chaperones to DC.  Listen here and find more pictures and information about the project at Concentrate Media's site.  


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

On this week's edition of "On The Ground Ypsi," Patrick Campion and Sarah Rigg welcome Eastern Michigan University students to discuss "Optimize Eastern." 

From Sarah Rigg: This "new student organization at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is seeking to not only fund small startups that have a social mission, but to also create a community for local entrepreneurs.

Core team members of the organization, called Optimize Eastern, describe it as a social innovation community that supports student-led social impact projects.  The organization was created by students for students."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Since the formation of the new Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS) district, many changes have had to take place.  Busing routes were reorganized, learning curriculums have changed, and new school principals were hired.  Still, new YCS superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross sees nothing but a positive future for the district.  She talks about the district's progress with WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Ypsilanti's Sugarbrook neighborhood was hit particularly by the Great Recession of 2008.  Still, local pastor Willie Powell and his wife, Geraldine "Lady P" Powell, believed that such a recession should never define the children who grew up in such hardship.  So, they created the Community Family Life Center, which provides educational and athletic activities to these kids.  The Powells talk all about this endeavor with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Geneology helps people learn more about their families and their heritage.  Yet, it can be more complicated for African American families, especially when America's history with slavery is factored in.  From there, the Washtenaw County African American Geneological Society was born.  The society's founders, Omer Jean Winborn and Cheryl Garnett, talk about this project with WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many social inequities and tendencies toward violence exist throughout the country.  So, a few young Michigan residents formed an organization called "Creating a Righteous Environment Around Me," or "The Cream" for short.  The group seeks to promote community peace and understanding through special events, including an upcoming gun buyback event in Ypsilanti.  Three of The Cream's top members, Mwai Leonard, Srikar Chiravuri, and Tru Ajani, talk about their work in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi" with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

The Ann Arbor YMCA has contributed much to the community, especially when it comes to getting kids more physically and socially active.  But recently, the organization decided to take its efforts beyond the confines of Ann Arbor and into Ypsilanti, which is now known as the "Y on the Fly" program.  The program's director, Tess Jackson, along with Ann Arbor YMCA president Toni Kayumi and aquatics coordinator Kimberly Baetz, join WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg for a conversation about "Y on the Fly" in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many entrepeneurs have made their way into the Ypsilanti area.  A few of those business owners came with the purpose of healing its residents through more holistic and spiritual means, such as yoga, acupuncture, and massage practices.  Among these special folks are Aubrey and Art Schupbach, who own the yoga studio Zion Well, and they join WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg for this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Breaking into the music scene is not an easy task.  One would need talent, access to recording equipment, and personal/professional connections.  So, Eastern Michigan University doctoral candidate Rod Wallace developed the "Plugin" program, which is a series of events where aspiring musicians can show off their talents in a professional and competitive environment.  Wallace, along with Grove Studios founder and Plugin co-sponsor Rick Coughlin, talk about this project with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Buying a home can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments in a person's life.  Fortunately, there are a number of real estate programs in the Ypsilanti area that can make the whole experience worthwhile.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg hear about such programs from Candye Hinton and Kayia Robinson, a local, mother-daughter real estate team, in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

For over three decades, Friends In Deed has provided assistance for those living at or below the poverty line.  One of the newest programs operating under Friends In Deed is called "Circles," which involves more long-term assistance in maintaining finances and pursuing higher education.  Project coordinator Suzanne Van Dam and program member Nikia Smith talk about their experiences with "Circles" with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


David Lewinski / Concentrate Media

Getting outdoors for some good exercise is essential for a child's development, especially when there's not much to do during summer vacation.  Ypsilanti Running Company owner Mike Nix wanted to give local kids such an activity by co-creating the Frog Island Track Club.  Nix talks all about this exciting youth organization with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg on this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Over the last few years, the craft beer business has booming in Michigan.  Among the many breweries that have popped up across the state is Unity Vibration in Ypsilanti Township.  This particular brewery specializes in a fermented tea called kombucha.  Unity Vibration co-founder and owner Rachel Kanaan talks about her amazing work with WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Washtenaw County conducted the Latino Health Survey in 2014, which determined that Latino residents suffered a significant lack in basic needs, such as housing and education.  From there, Charo Ledon helped found the Buenos Vecinos, or "Good Neighbors" program, which would help remedy this situation.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," Ledon talks about the program, along with her colleagues Liz Sirman and Diana Bernal-Canseco, with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.


Bryan Foley

The Parkridge Community Center in Ypsilanti partnered with the Youth Arts Alliance to develop a exciting, new youth arts program.  Part of that program involved building a brand-new music studio that would allow kids to experience working in the audio business.  Bryan Foley, who helped build the studio, and Heather Martin, who is involved in the arts program, share the details on this new project with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg on this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Gardening is a popular activity in the spring and summertime, and many folks get together at this time for community gardening.  Among the community gardening programs in the Ypsilanti area are Willow Run Acres and the Cooperative Orchard of Ypsilanti (CORY).  The programs' respective founders, Lisa Bashert and T.C. Collins, join WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg to talk about their efforts in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

May is Bicycle Month, which means, now that the weather's a little warmer, it's time get out and do something outside, like biking.  But there's one biking group in Washtenaw County, known as the Wolfpack Cruiserz, that sees biking as not only good exercise, but a way to promote and inspire the community.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg hear all about the group's work from its president and vice president, Damian and Nikki Guyton, in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

There was a house in Ann Arbor was a place where people could celebrate life with music, poetry, and delicious pancakes.  Patrick Elkins and his friends, who once occupied the so-called "Totally Awesome House," decided to take such a celebration to a wider audience and created the "Totally Awesome Fest" in Ypsilanti.  Elkins joins WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg to talk about this year's festival on this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Back in 2018, the "In Our Neighborhood" grants program awarded funding to several projects in and around Washtenaw County.   One of which was the "Ypsi Fidelity" or "Y-Fi" initiative, created by Nick and Yen Azzaro.  The goal of this particular program was to bring together high school students through the performing arts and other social means.  The Azzaros talk more about their "Y-Fi" project in detail with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

The Peninsular Dam has been a point of controversy in Ypsilanti for years.  Some, like climate change activist Beth Gibbons, believe it should be demolished.  Others, like Margery Dosey of the Friends of Peninsular Park, want the dam repaired and preserved.  Both Gibbons and Dosey present their arguments in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi" with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.


David Lewinski / Concentrate Media

Living with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia makes life difficult for older people and their family members.  One life aspect that suffers the most is social interaction, which is why the Ypsilanti Senior Center established the "We Care Connect Memory Cafe" program.  It allows seniors to maintain social connections and even create new ones.  Monica Prince and Shonda Gibbs from the Ypsilanti Senior Center talk about the program with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Patrick Campion / 89.1 WEMU

Booker T. Washington was an integral part of African-American history, especially in the realm of education.  Washington's work inspired local photographer Noah Rucker to create an holiday designed to spread education, business, and art in the black community, which he calls "BookDay."  Rucker talks all about the most recent BookDay with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many people look at their lives and might say that they wish they had more time and energy time to pursue some activities other what their careers involve.  That is why the DO (something) Conference was recently held at Ypsilanti's Riverside Arts Center.  It allowed people to make interpersonal connections when it comes to pursuing new careers or special projects.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg hear all about the event from conference organizer John Eslinger and guest speaker Khalid Ibrahim in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Throughout the decades, women of color have faced many challenges, whether it's a result of their culture, upbringing, or surroundings.  So, a group of Washtenaw County women formed a project called "Untold Stories of Liberation and Love," which allows such women to share their experiences through poetry.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg learn all about this collaborative from two of its co-founders, Maria Ibarra-Frayre and Julie Quiroz, in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


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