(r to l) Ford School MPP student, Alissa Graff, presents bee conservation information to Detroit Councilmember André Spivey and staff on behalf of community partner Detroit Hives. Photo credit: DeAndré Calvert
By DeAndré Calvert
This fall, local nonprofit organizations Young Fathers Standing United and Detroit Hives are hosting small student teams participating in the Practical Community Learning Project (PCLP). The students are conducting relevant policy research, engaging with the community, and providing recommendations to aid on legislative initiatives that address child support policies and bee conservation in Detroit.
Young Fathers Standing United (YFSU) is a city-wide 501c3 organization committed to breaking the generational cycle of fatherlessness that has plagued Metro Detroit. Their programs, workshops and annual events are designed to educate, develop and support fathers to impact their children, families, and communities. YFSU is committed to making insight, resources and pertinent information readily available to families. They also promote family unity, family rights, and traditional values of fatherhood.
Through the partnership with YFSU, students look to evaluate child support policies that act as a barrier to poverty alleviation in custodial and noncustodial families. The goal of their research is to ultimately assist in changing statewide legislation or reevaluating the enforcement tools of a State of Michigan program surrounding child support payments. The students will map out child support policies from the federal through the local levels to determine the proper avenue for reform.
Detroit Hives is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that transforms vacant lots into bee farms for the conservation of honeybees, to help spread bee awareness, and to educate Detroit communities and local schools about bees and their contribution to the environment. Located on the Eastside of Detroit, MI, Detroit Hives seeks to bring diversity and cognizance to bee awareness and rebuilding inner-city communities.
The students’ work with Detroit Hives aims to create “bee-friendly” lawns in the city of Detroit, calling for the end of pesticide spraying, and planting and growing flowers native to Michigan’s ecosystem. Also, the students will assist Detroit Hives in pursuing grant funding opportunities to expand their programming and capacity. Finally, the students are helping Detroit Hives establish Detroit as an official Bee City, which involves completing and receiving approval of its application to Bee City USA and getting a resolution passed through a local elected official.
Students participating in PCLP projects participate in weekly meetings and information sessions with P3E staff, attend community meetings and spend workdays in Detroit. In previous semesters, PCLP projects have partnered with the Detroit City Council, the City of Detroit’s Health Department, Wayne County Friend of the Court, and local stakeholders to develop action-oriented policy plans for the community to accomplish short- and long-term goals.