Hope Starts with Me: Hear from Children, Parents & Community Members Across Detroit

What can we do to ensure all children in Detroit have access to high quality early childhood experiences? Children, parents, caregivers and community members across the city have the ideas we need to make Detroit a place for kids to grow and thrive. On the First Annual Detroit Day of the Young Child, we heard from thousands of residents. Here’s what they had to say:


Read more

First Detroit Day of the Young Child: A Success


On April 27, 2017, hundreds of Detroit community members came together to celebrate the First Annual Detroit Day of the Young Child. Across the city, parents, caregivers, educators, policymakers and more hosted and attended listening sessions to discuss what early childhood could and should look like in Detroit. Hosts included organizations like the Detroit Public Library, Black Family Development, Inc., Living Arts, Brilliant Detroit Parent Center, Central Detroit Christian Development Corporation, Detroit Parent Network, and Matrix Head Start, as well private citizens who hosted in their homes.

Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership​ organized these listening events with community partners and individuals as part of a yearlong planning process to envision what it will take to make Detroit a kid-friendly city by 2027. Ideas and concerns shared during the listening sessions will be folded into the Hope Starts Here vision and action plan due out later this summer.

Since the beginning of April, more than 60 listening sessions with over 600 participants have happened across the city, with more than half occurring on April 27. By the time Hope Starts Here’s listening session initiative ends on May 5, more than 1,000 people will have contributed their ideas at approximately 100 events, many open to the public.

The sessions focused on a variety of issues impacting children in Detroit, including education, nutrition, health, child care, transportation and more. Participants were asked what they would to do make Detroit a better place for children if they had a) $100 and one week, and b) unlimited resources. Hosts reported back key takeaways and ideas to Hope Starts Here, which will be aggregated and shared publicly. But there was one idea all participants agreed on: how important Detroit’s children are.

“The research is clear about the impact of investing in young children and the consequences of not investing early are equally truthful. It is time to demand excellence and investment in early childhood education,” said Alycia Meriweather, interim superintendent for the Detroit Public Schools Community District, speaking at a listening session at Living Arts.

Children have also been part of the conversation. With $100, many wanted to buy everyone ice cream, but they also asked for safe playgrounds and clean neighborhoods.


  First Annual Detroit Day of the Young Child Listening Sessions


“Being unable to find care that you can afford, and you’re comfortable leaving your child with, can make you feel helpless. For the first time in a long time sitting in rooms with other parents and providers, who actually get what the problems are and want to create solutions that truly work for families, these conversations do give me hope, and make me feel proud of my decision to live in the city and raise my children here,” said Maria Montoya, a Detroit mother of three and family advocate, reflecting on her listening session.

“As a parent in the Southwest Detroit neighborhood I was amazed at all the voices in the room at our listening session,” said Esmeralda Torres. “Families and neighborhood leaders alike shared one table to talk about a better future for our kids.”

In addition to listening sessions, ideas were collected via large posters that were posted in local organizations and businesses. Over 260 posters were spread across the city.

“This is an amazing and necessary project. The information on these documents are alarming. I hope that this action is not restricted to one-day,” said Sianee Hawkins, librarian at Detroit Public Library. “There should be a continuous dialogue and action plan to improve the lives of Detroit’s kids.”

Read more


On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Hope Starts Here will celebrate the first annual Detroit Day of the Young Child. We’re marking the occasion with over 200 “listening sessions” that will take place across the city, bringing together a wide range of community members to talk about their vision for young children and their families. Anyone can host or participate in these conversations, whether you’re an individual, an organization, a business, or a faith-based entity. We want your input and ideas about early childhood in Detroit.

Join the movement to shape our children’s future. Click here to find out more about the Day of the Young Child and how you can participate!

Read more

Thank You

Thank you to all of you joined us for the Hope Starts Here kickoff event last week. We were honored to have Mayor Mike Duggan join us, along with members of our Stewardship Board and representatives of than 100 community organizations currently engaged in early childhood work across Detroit.

Over the next few months, organizers will draw on the voices and ideas of this passionate array of parents, business leaders, child education and health experts and many others to ensure children are born healthy, prepared for kindergarten and on track for success by third grade and beyond.

Our work together will help the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Kresge Foundation prioritize, and in some cases reimagine, future investments in the well-being of Detroit’s youngest children.

Of course, #HopeBuilds only if citizens like you join the effort too. Your stories and ideas are as vital as the changes this process is designed to create.

Read more


A Citywide Call to Action Aims to Strengthen and Align Systems Serving Detroit’s 80,000 Young Children and Their Families

DETROIT – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Kresge Foundation today announced a community-driven partnership to strengthen and grow early childhood services for Detroit’s youngest residents. Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership will create a first-of-its-kind citywide action plan to create coordinated, high-quality early childhood systems that ensure children are born healthy, prepared for kindergarten and ready for success for third grade and beyond.

Hope Starts Here is co-chaired by W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron and The Kresge Foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson.

“Detroit’s residents have told us their hope for this city starts with the success of their children,” said Tabron. “Hope Starts Here will engage the community to build high quality, early childhood experiences for all 80,000 of Detroit’s young children. Today, one in three of our children in Detroit lacks access to quality early learning care and only one out of 10 of our third graders are proficient readers. So, the time to act is now.”

More than 100 committed civic and community leaders joined Tabron and Rapson for the announcement of the partnership. They have agreed to share their knowledge to help move Detroit to action to meet the education, health and social needs of young children, from birth to age 8.

“Detroit’s children cannot be left behind as the city rebounds. We’ve seen tremendous public/private partnerships over the last decade to support Detroit’s cultural and social revitalization,” said Rapson. “Without building systems that support and prepare our young citizens, Detroit cannot reap a full return on all that has been invested. The more that we can do, collectively, to prioritize children, the more Detroit will see our various efforts create the kind of hope that lasts for generations.”

Detroit children and their families need access to prenatal and pediatric medical care and mental health services, healthy foods, high-quality early care and education programs, and safe streets and schools. Many Hope Starts Here partners work in these sectors, and investments in early childhood have increased. Hope Starts Here will share existing resources and information, identify gaps and create an action plan for establishing high-quality early childhood systems in Detroit.

Tens of thousands of Detroiters will lend their voices and make recommendations for immediate and long-term actions. Residents, parents and caregivers will have a variety of ways to participate, including mobilizing families, attending public information sessions, participating through community organizations and sharing their ideas and stories at HopeStartsHereDetroit.org and via Facebook at fb.me/HopeStartsHereDetroit. Follow the conversation via #HopeBuilds.

Follow the conversation via #HopeBuilds


Read more