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Washtenaw United

  • United Way for Southeastern Michigan senior director of collective impact, Bridget Herrmann
    United Way for Southeastern Michigan
    As of Sunday, October 1st, the United Way of Washtenaw County is no more. A previously announced merger rolls the community services support agency's efforts into the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which is based out of Detroit. However, the United Way will keep an office in Ann Arbor, and the expectation is that staff and funding in Washtenaw County will be expanded. WEMU's David Fair discussed the merger and its anticipated impacts on the community with senior director of collective impact, Bridget Herrmann.
  • Elevation Youth Corp
    The creative arts can play a significant role in providing structure and direction for our at-risk children. However, access to such programs often prove difficult for many families, particularly in lower income communities and communities of color. How can youngsters connect with strong mentors and gain access to good training? That’s the mission of Elevation Youth Corp. WEMU's David Fair talked with the group's president, Keith Ragland, and its executive director, Yolanda Ragland, about engaging and connecting at-risk youngsters to a brighter future.
  • Violence is far too pervasive around the country and right here in Washtenaw County. There are efforts to address these matters educationally, legislatively and through the criminal justice system. There is a program in Washtenaw County that is taking its anti-violence message straight to the streets called WeLIVE, which has a particular focus on preventing retaliatory violence. And the program is proving to be one successful. WEMU's David Fair was joined by community outreach specialist Roger Roper and Derrick Jackson from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office to find out more on efforts to prevent retaliatory violence.
  • It has been said that art doesn't just decorate our lives but gives us reason to live. For some inmates in a University of Michigan program, those words ring true. "Humanize the Numbers" is part of the U-M's Prison Creative Arts Project. The incarcerated are discovering creativity and learning about themselves, and the program is having an impact not only on the inmates, but on the students from Ann Arbor that work with them. The program is led by lecturer Isaac Wingfield. WEMU's David Fair spoke with Isaac and José Burgos, who participated in the program prior to his release from prison.
  • Combatting poverty is difficult, particularly when you work against systemic issues that have been in place as long as the country. Ypsilanti-based "Friends In Deed" offers immediate and direct assistance to those in need but also invests in programming and mentorship that helps people build the tools and support community needed to get out of poverty permanently. Tracey Hoesch and Amtheyst Floyd from "Friends In Deed" joined WEMU's David Fair to share the progress being made to better address local poverty.
  • Julie and Scott Halpert know all too well what it means to lose a loved one to self-inflicted harm. Their son Garrett took his own life in 2017. Ever since, the Halperts have been working to provide support to others in hopes of preventing more grief. Now the plan is to have a brick-and-mortar facility on 76-acres of land in Superior Township to provide holistic and non-medical support and care services for young adults struggling with life. And, it's to be called Garrett's Space. The Halperts joined WEMU's David Fair to share their story.
  • It can be a daunting task to become a foster parent or to adopt a child. Children in foster care face so many challenges, and finding adoptive homes becomes more difficult the older they get. Ann Arbor-based Hands Across the Water helps navigate those turbulent times. Its services continue to expand to better help all involved get through the process in healthy and happy ways. Executive director Katie Page Sander joined WEMU's David Fair to share her stories.
  • Washtenaw Clean-up Days are here! If you have bulk waste, old appliances, household hazardous waste or electronics that need to be disposed of, this is your time. Washtenaw County director of Public Works, Theo Eggermont joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss how you can participate and keep these materials out of the landfills and better protecting our environment.
  • Education in lower income areas was already suffering, in part, because of underfunding. Then the pandemic hit, and some kids fell further behind. It has hit the Ypsilanti area particularly hard. Using anti-racist and positive teaching methods, Educate Youth is a summer program aimed at bolstering the academic prospects of kids in the 48197 and 48198 zip codes. Its founder and executive director, Gail Wolkoff, joined WEMU's David Fair with a look at the program impacts.
  • Some of the significant issues we’re dealing with in Washtenaw County are also issues in communities around the state: affordable housing, senior citizen care, children in foster care and immigration. Samaritas is an organization serving those segments of our population throughout Michigan, including here in Washtenaw County. WEMU's David Fair spoke with its executive director, Heidi Raubenolt, about the local impacts today and the work that lay ahead in the future.
  • For more than 50 years, the Spectrum Center at the University of Michigan has been a leader in serving LGBTQIA+ students. The need remains, but the nature of the needs is changing. WEMU’s David Fair was joined by the director of the center, Jesse Beal, to look at the center’s role today and where it's headed.
  • WEMU brings you a special Thursday edition of "Washtenaw United" this week. Typically, you hear this weekly feature on Mondays. This week, a major announcement called for an additional segment. WEMU's David Fair was joined in-studio by United Way of Washtenaw County president and CEO Pam Smith and United Way for Southeastern Michigan president and CEO, Dr. Darienne Hudson. Together, they discussed the local and regional impacts of the merger of the two entities.
  • The fight for equality and inclusion for all continues. Nationally, there is an ongoing debate over "drag culture" and its impacts on community. As we begin to wrap up Pride Month, WEMU's David Fair spoke with the CEO of the Ypsilanti-based "Boylesque Michigan" drag troupe. Jadein Black discusses her personal mission and the nature of the troupe's mission to create greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Juneteenth is here. The occasion serves as a great opportunity to discuss where we’ve come as a community since the end of slavery and the significant work that remains ahead. WEMU's David Fair is joined by Trische’ Duckworth for a Juneteenth conversation. She is founder of Survivors Speak and continues to work in the local Black Lives Matter movement.