Education

Finding hope in Detroit

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In Brief

  • At Marygrove College in Detroit, the Hope Starts Here Summit kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony for a $15 million early childhood center, anchored by the Marygrove Conservancy, part of a $50 million grant to improve and transform early childhood education in Detroit. This initiative was launched in 2016 with pledges from the Kresge and W.K. Kellogg foundations
  • The 10-year early childhood framework put forward by the two foundations calls for a significant effort to expand preschool offerings, including new schools and funding streams for the creation of more programs for children.
  • Hope Starts Here will also provide support for the Detroit Public Schools Community District that funds a parent academy, kindergarten bootcamp and home visit program that sends educators to children’s homes.

Why This Matters

Why do some children develop resilience, while others don’t? Understanding why some children do well despite adverse early experiences is crucial. Healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities and successful parenting of the next generation. Learning how to cope with adversity is an important part of healthy development. This initiative can deliver the right care to the people who need it most and expand early childhood education and services for Detroit’s children. It is a crucial step in moving forward to increase enrollment, spread programs more equitably across the district and ensure more children are in buildings that are in good physical condition. Through the leadership of newly appointed Implementation Director Denise Smith, a veteran early childhood educator-administrator-leader tasked with transforming early childhood education in Detroit, improving health and education, early childhood and K-8 instruction and making Detroit the city that puts children first by 2027.

the opportunity

Hope Starts Here has created the framework for healthy development in the early years, the building blocks for educational achievement, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation.

By early next year, Hope Starts Here plans to launch a website that will track progress on each of its 15 strategies and 26 policy priorities. The online “dashboard” will also track movement on some of the alarming statistics that led to Hope Starts Here in the first place. That includes the city’s alarmingly infant mortality high rate, its high rates of babies with low birth weights and the fact that almost 30,000 young Detroiters have no access to high-quality preschool or childcare.

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