Annual report: Tenacious for the D

Ordinary heroes do extraordinary things for Detroit kids
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Susan Hooks-Brown reads to students in a day care program, for which she's helped find more high-quality resources//Photo by Paul Engstrom, Skillman Foundation.

Did you have a caring adult in your life as a child?

Maybe it was a baseball coach, or a youth pastor at your church. Maybe it was the high school newspaper advisor, or the manager at the fast food restaurant where you worked part-time. Maybe it was a neighbor, a teacher or a relative. Or if you were lucky, maybe you had many of those types of adults in your life, those who cosigned on your dreams and committed to seeing you through to a better future.

Many children find the odds stacked against them, though—especially kids born into disadvantaged households, who don’t have a strong nucleus of caring adults around them. The results of that lack of early support can be devastating, and kids grow up believing their futures are bleak and predestined.

They drop out of school, turn to illegal activity or gangs, get pregnant, disconnect, and disengage.

“I believe the presence or lack of presence of a caring adult is one of the things that make a big difference in whether or not children become successful in life,” said Skillman Foundation President Carol Goss. “Just knowing someone cares enough to spend their time or attention on you can be a game changer and a life saver. In my time at the Skillman Foundation all of us here have worked extremely hard to help change the odds for all Detroit kids.”

The Kids Matter Here movement, which took root during the Goss presidency, is spreading across the city.

In our most recent annual report, we profile 10 Detroiters whose work is all about changing the odds for Detroit children. For them, Kids Matter Here is a calling they answer to 365 days a year.

You can also read a profile and see a video on each member of the Tenacious 10 by clicking on the names below. We will add a new profile each day, beginning Monday, July 22. So check back for more stories of Detroiters working on behalf of children.

Aswan Almaktary ACCESS Hamtramck Office Manager     July 22
Anita Ashford Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, former board member     July 23
Anthony Benavides Clark Park Coalition Director     July 24
Susan Hooks-Brown Southwest Solutions Community Organizer     July 25
Monica Evans City of Detroit Police Officer     July 26
Jessie Kilgore Good Schools Resource Center-Detroit Executive Director     July 29
Pat Miller U-M Technical Assistance Center Program Manager (retired)     July 30
Bill O'Brien Harriet Tubman Center Executive Director     July 31
Dan Varner Excellent Schools Detroit Executive Director     Aug. 1
Dawn Wilson Brightmoor Alliance Board Member, Community Connections change-maker     Aug. 2