A low-income, tiny house community is coming to Detroit

May 20, 2016
Tiny house
Tomas Quinones / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In April, we wrote about a tiny house community that recently opened in Austin, Texas. The residents who live there all have one thing in common: They are chronically homeless.

jail cells
miss_millions / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

If you follow State of Opportunity regularly, you may have seen or heard us talk about the school-to-prison pipeline. It’s a nationwide pattern of students being pushed out of schools and into the criminal justice system.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Angels Above Baby Gowns takes all those dresses you only wear once and put away, like wedding and bridesmaid gowns, or prom dresses – and turn them into burial gowns for babies. They call them "angel gowns." Then, they give them to parents and hospitals, for free.

Dawn Lafferty started Angels Above two years ago after reading a news story about a mom in the state of Washington whose son died at birth. The mom went home and made a gown to bury him in out of her old wedding dress. Lafferty, who has been sewing since she was 10 years old, says she thought it was a great idea.

Integrated Classroom
By Leffler, Warren K., photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today marks 62 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education. The Court ruled that "separate but equal" public schools for black students and white students were unconstitutional.

The case inspired education reform everywhere, and formed the legal means of challenging segregation in all areas of society.

Four ways cities across the U.S. are fighting hunger

May 16, 2016
Girl eating peach
Bruce Tuten / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

How close do you live to the nearest grocery store? I live within ten minutes of at least three chain grocery stores: Kroger, Meijer and Walmart. But places to buy quality, affordable food are not easily accessed by everyone.

Does private funding have a place in public schools?

May 12, 2016
401(K) 2012 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Should an anonymous donor be able to save a public school? 

The question was raised by a story I listened to yesterday on NPR.

Traverse City Area Public Schools in northern Michigan has lost 12% of its students in the past decade. And last fall its superintendent recommended closing three elementary schools.

Coming out as transgender senior year

May 11, 2016
Alanna Roberts and her mom Lindsey.
Alanna Roberts

High school seniors are counting down the last few weeks until graduation.

In the small township of Ida, Michigan, Alanna Roberts is looking back on a pretty big senior year.

She was the first student in her high school, and maybe even the whole township, to come out as transgender.

Those first few months were rough.

"A lot of guys threatened to rip out my hair extensions when I was like walking by,” she says, sitting on the front porch of the house she shares with her mom, stepdad and three younger brothers.  

Swaddled baby
Scott Granneman / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Swaddling – the practice of snugly wrapping an infant with a light cloth, with only the head exposed – mimics the warm, cozy environment of the mother's womb. It's reported to promote better sleep for babies.

But a new study in the journal Pediatrics links the practice to an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Baby yawning
Jill M / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When I became a mom, I was surprised – and overwhelmed – by the amount of diapers my daughter went through.

And it was expensive.

I can't imagine what it must be like to have to choose between diapers for your baby, and other necessities like food and rent.

Handcuffed man
houstondwiphotos mp / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

If you've ever filled out a job application, I'm sure you've come across the question asking whether you've ever been convicted of a criminal offense.

For someone who was formerly incarcerated, having to check "yes" can make it nearly impossible to find a job or a place to live.

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