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Orion Township Public Library teen department wins Best Buy Community Grant

The Orion Township Public Library was recently awarded the Best Buy Community Grant to help fund teen technology programming.

 

“The grant will strengthen the library’s ‘ThinkLink’ partnership with Lake Orion Community Schools,” said Teen Librarian, Dan Major. “This program provides library material delivery to schools as well as after school programming for middle school students.”

 

The money from the community grant will be used to purchase touch screen stations for three middle schools and Lake Orion High School.  These stations will allow students to request books for delivery and register for programs at the library.  The grant will also be used to convert our computer lab into a modern Makerspace.  The plans for the Makerspace include new equipment like a VHS/DVD converter, photo scanner and digitizer, laser engraver, digital art station, video editing software, and more.

 

“In addition, several Best Buy employees have generously volunteered for the ‘ThinkLink After School’ program,” said Major. “They will show middle school students some of the latest and greatest technology and teach them to create new and exciting projects in our freshly renovated Makerspace.”

 

For questions about the Best Buy Community Grant contact Dan Major at dmajor@orionlibrary.org, or 248.693.3000 x413. The Orion Township Public Library is located at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362 and is open 9:30a-9:00p Monday through Thursday and 9:30a-5:00p Friday and Saturday.  For more information visit orionlibrary.org.


Oakland Schools' Superintendent finalist for national Women in School Leadership Award

Oakland Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson is a finalist for the Women in School Leadership Award, a national recognition given out annually by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).
 
“I am beyond thrilled to be a finalist for this award,” said Dr. Cook-Robinson. “AASA’s mission of recognizing women leaders is an important one and I am honored to be part of this prestigious group.”
 
The award is designed to recognize the exceptional leadership of current female administrators who make a difference in the lives of students while also paying tribute to the talent, creativity and vision of outstanding female educational administrators in the nation’s public schools. Candidates are judged based on leadership in meeting the learning needs of students, personal and organizational communication strength, constant professional improvement of knowledge and skills and active community involvement. Award recipients will be announced during the AASA National Conference on Education, Feb. 14-16, 2019, in Los Angeles.
 
AASA is a professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education.
 
Click to see Dr. Cook-Robinson’s nomination video for the Women in School Leadership Award.

Wixom police launch "Stuff the Squad Car" campaign to collect items for families in need

Excerpt

The Wixom Police Department is calling on the community to help fill a patrol car with clothing, toys and books. 

As part of its"Stuff the Squad Car" campaign, the department will donate all new, unwrapped items to the Hospitality House, a Commerce Township-based food pantry, for distribution to over 600 needy children during the organization's annual Santa Shop on Dec. 15. 

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Local credit union pays 30 employees to help furnish homes in Metro Detroit

A staggering 50 percent of families emerging from homelessness return to a homeless shelter after moving into an unfurnished home. Since 2009, only one percent of the families helped by Humble Design have returned to a shelter after 12 months.

When a homeless family finds a house it's a miracle. Furnishing it is another blessing that many families are unable to do. Humble Design assists families who are coming out of homelessness and abuse shelters. Their mission is to turn four bare walls into a clean, dignified and welcoming home by repurposing gently used household goods and using those items to fully furnish homes. The outcome is a home, and a new hope for hundreds of families.

"Our goal is to end the revolving door of homelessness by turning empty spaces into warm, welcoming homes through a dignified experience that leads to successful lives," said Rob Strasberg, Co-CEO of Humble Design.

Chief Financial Credit Union joined Humble Design to help make a house a home home for four metro Detroit families. As part of its mission to empower financial success and inspire creative philanthropy, Chief Financial offered a total of 240 paid hours to give its employees the opportunity to volunteer their work hours with Humble Design.  

“Our employees carry out our mission every day,” said Tom Dluzen, Chief Financial CEO. “Empowering our team to spend a work day with Humble Design was an amazing way for us to give back. Each of them came away inspired by Humble Design, and by the brave families they were able to meet. And that is why we exist, to create true change in our communities.”

Four teams of Chief Community Crew volunteers worked with Humble Design throughout August, September and October. Each team started at the Humble Design headquarters in Pontiac and then headed to a house in need of furnishing. A very full day with a life-changing outcome.

“It really put things in perspective. Someone in need was right down the street from us. To be able to help brighten someone's day by giving a few hours of your life is so rewarding,” said Kandice Navarro, Chief Financial Lender/MSR. “It makes me realize I am blessed with what I have: my family, job, home, food in the fridge...Humble is such a small word that means so much! I am so grateful for this experience!”

The Chief Financial team can be seen on the show ‘Welcome Home’ in November. The show follows Humble Design’s co-founders on several projects sharing the journey of each family as they find their way home. ‘Welcome Home’ airs on the CW Network on Sundays at 10:30am.

“It is an honor to be a part of the incredible work that Humble Design does across metro Detroit, and now across the country,” said Cheryl Boodram, Chief Financial Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “The hope being restored in each of these families’ lives is the reason that Chief strives to create philanthropic opportunities for our team members and hopefully the entire community.”
 
About Chief Financial Credit Union
Chief Financial Credit Union prides itself on being the only financial institution headquartered in the Greater Rochester Area. With a commitment to empowering financial success and inspiring creative philanthropy, Chief Financial has been meeting the needs of its members since 1941 through its branch locations in Pontiac, Dearborn and Rochester Hills, Michigan. Chief Financial is also the official credit union of Leader Dogs for the Blind and Rochester College. For more information, visit www.chiefonline.com.

Veterans Day ceremony to honor all those who served

Veterans, their families, friends and the general public are invited to attend a Veterans Day ceremony honoring all who served in the armed forces of our country.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly will host the observance, set for 11:00 a.m. Sunday, November 11th. Adam Weiner, Navy Veteran and Bronze Star with Valor recipient will be the keynote speaker.

The ceremony will feature patriotic music by New Century Chorale. presentation of colors, a rifle salute and taps will be conducted by the Wyandotte Veterans Honor Guard. The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and POW/MIA will also make a wreath presentation. The invocation and benediction will be conducted by Father David Blazek, Pastor, St. Rita Catholic Church.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery is one of two such National Shrines in Michigan. Opened for burials in 2005, the cemetery’s 544 acres will be the final resting place for an estimated 244,000 veterans. Thus far, over 39,000 veterans and their eligible dependents have been interred at the site.

Sunday’s ceremony is one of a multitude across the area and the nation. The Great Lakes National Cemetery is located at 4200 Belford Rd. in Holly, Michigan. If you have any questions about this ceremony, please contact Garth Wootten, Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council President, at wootteng@oakgov.com or 248-858-0785.

The Rainbow Connection is honored to be one of three recipients for 2018 Impact 100 grant

The Rainbow Connection is honored to be one of the three non-profit recipients for the 2018 Impact 100 Oakland County grant.

The Rainbow Connection will use its Impact100 Oakland County grant to support The Rainbow Connection Impact Kits for families experiencing a child facing a life threatening medical condition and difficulty meeting basic living expenses. The Impact Kits are tailored to each family’s documented financial needs and includes assistance with gas, food, parking, public transportation and other emergent needs.

“This group has made it possible to address the quiet suffering these families are dealing with. Our close relationship with Wish Families and hospital social workers has made us increasingly aware of the crippling financial burdens families face as they care for a sick child,“ George Miller, Executive Director explains. “Things that many of us take for granted, including having enough money for every day expenses are situations that our Wish Families encounter and worry about on a daily basis.”

About The Rainbow Connection

Since 1985, The Rainbow Connection has made dreams come true for over 3,400 brave children in Michigan that have been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Giving a child the opportunity to dream about their once in a lifetime wish is such an amazing gift. It gives them something positive to look forward to while providing hope. A wish allows families to create priceless memories together. To learn more about The Rainbow Connection and to donate please visit: www.rainbowconnection.org or call 248-601-9474

The Kroger Co. and The Kroger Co. Foundation supports Forgotten Harvest with $139,000 grant

Nonprofit food rescue organization Forgotten Harvest recently received a $139,000 grant from The Kroger Co. Foundation at the request of The Kroger Co. of Michigan. Michigan Kroger has proudly partnered with Forgotten Harvest since 2004.

The Kroger Co. Foundation’s grant is part of Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, Kroger’s plan to end hunger in local communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.

During 2017, Forgotten Harvest partnered with Michigan Kroger to collect over 4.15 million pounds of surplus nutritious food donated from 93 southeast Michigan Kroger stores and distribution facilities. According to USDA calculations, Kroger’s food donations gift will help provide enough food for 3.4 million meals to help those in need. Current U.S. Census data indicates that one in six people (589,000) and one in four children in metro Detroit face hunger and food insecurity.

Since 2010, Forgotten Harvest’s capacity has grown from rescuing 19.3 million pounds of food each year to 45.8 million pounds in 2017, a 135 percent increase.

“Forgotten Harvest stands proudly with corporate partners like The Kroger Co. of Michigan and its visionary Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative to end hunger and food insecurity while delivering healthy, nutritious food,” said Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest. “Forgotten Harvest would not be able to help so many in need within our community without Kroger’s partnership and support.”

“The Kroger Co. of Michigan is pleased to endorse this generous grant to help end hunger and food waste in southeast Michigan,” said Rachel Hurst, corporate affairs manager for Michigan Kroger. “Everyone benefits from our ongoing ability to boost the nutrition level for hungry neighbors while diverting food from area landfills.”

About Forgotten Harvest

Oak Park, Michigan-based Forgotten Harvest was formed in 1990 to fight two problems: hunger and waste. Forgotten Harvest “rescued” over 45.8 million pounds of food last year by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from over 800 locations, including grocery stores, fruit and vegetable markets, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, wholesale food distributors and other Health Department-approved sources. This donated food, which would otherwise go to waste, is delivered free-of-charge to over 250 emergency food providers in the metro Detroit area.

Learn more about Forgotten Harvest and how to help drive hunger from our community at www.forgottenharvest.org.

About The Kroger Co. of Michigan
Incorporated in Michigan in 1909 and headquartered in Novi, The Kroger Co. of Michigan includes 19,000 associates, 125 Kroger stores, 75 fuel centers, 104 pharmacies and the Michigan Dairy. Purpose: to FEED the Human Spirit, by serving the region through food, inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025.

Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 375,000 associates who serve customers in 2,640 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 786 convenience stores, 320 fine jewelry stores, 1,240 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club.


The Oakland County Executive's Elite 40 Under 40 Program now open in search of "best of the best"

?If you know a young entrepreneur, community leader, teacher or any person who has made significant contributions to their chosen field and the quality of life in the region, and you want them recognized for their good work, here is your chance.

Nominations are being accepted for the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2019. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson started the program in 2012 to honor young professionals and thought leaders who excel in their field and have demonstrated dynamic leadership.

“We are blessed to have so many talented young people who are vital to Oakland County and the region and committed to improving their communities,” Patterson said. “If you know of one or more individuals – or you want to nominate yourself – I encourage you to submit a name for consideration.”

Nominees must live or work in Oakland County to be eligible. To submit a candidate, go to Elite40.com where two entry buttons can be found – one for those who want to nominate someone and one for those who want to enter themselves. Nominations must be completed by Oct. 29. If you enter yourself, you have until Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. to submit a completed entry.

A panel of former Elite 40 class members will review and score all completed applications and reduce the number to the top 60 entrants. An independent panel of judges will choose the top 40. Of that group, the three candidates who scored the highest will be placed before the public from Jan. 18 to Jan. 25, 2019, for an online vote to determine the winner.

The class will be announced Jan. 16, 2019.

The winner will be revealed in February 2019 at Patterson’s State of County address. All class members will be invited to participate in a host of county events. Past members have joined the Oakland County Business Roundtable and other advisory committees within the county.

Have a ball during Youth Abilities Saturday Sports Special program

As the weather gets cooler, keep youth active by registering them for the Youth Abilities Saturday Sports Special program from October through November.

The program, designed for youth with disabilities ages 6-18, features activities such as parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters and basketball. It is held in conjunction with Oakland County Parks and Recreation and the Boys & Girls Club.

Saturday Sports Special events are scheduled from 9:30-11 a.m. on Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27 and Nov. 3 and 17 at the Boys & Girls Club, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak.

“Children get together with their friends, play games and have a ball,” Recreation Therapist Sandy Dorey said. “I suggest that those interested register early. This is a popular program and registration is limited to 20 participants. Individuals must pre-register for each week they plan to attend.”

For more information, contact Oakland County Parks and Recreation at 248-424-7081 or Adaptive@oakgov.com.

Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


CHN and OCHN develop new housing locator link

Community Housing Network (CHN) and Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN) have collaborated to create a new, online Oakland Housing Link (OHL) tool. Oakland County residents who receive public mental health services and live within a specialized residential setting will have improved choices in locations and homes with OHL.
 
“We’re thankful for CHN’s expertise in developing this valuable online tool to help the people we serve make informed decisions about where and with whom they want to live,” explains OCHN Executive Director and CEO Annette Downey. “It furthers our mission to empower people and strengthen communities, while promoting inclusion and self-determination for all.”  
 
OHL, which is guided by person-centered planning, showcases available housing options within OCHN’s provider network. These options are available for individuals already receiving specialized residential services, as well as for future service participants. Assistance with all housing searches is being led by network provider case managers and support coordinators. 
 
“We’re very excited about offering complete, accurate and timely housing information for people looking for a home that suits their needs and desires,” said CHN’s President Marc Craig. “This project aligns well with our goal as an agency to help people find a home in an area of their choosing.”
 
Examples of community amenities shared through OHL include information on nearby restaurants, parks, transportation, shopping centers, as well as home photos. OHL features were established with the assistance of focus groups who met to discuss and share thoughts about the wants and needs of individuals for whom the tool was being built.
 
The projected launch date for the Oakland Housing Link to be available on both CHN’s and OCHN’s websites is October 1, 2018, however ongoing design enhancement will continue as needed.  

Pontiac's Libby the Lizard helps children speak out against abuse and neglect

Her abusive childhood was a secret Toni McMorris kept for more than 30 years. As an adult, she sought professional help to heal and to reckon with the impact the experience had on her life. She adopted a personal mission to prevent children from experiencing any type of abuse and neglect.

McMorris got creative. Empowered by a journaling habit that was so critical to her recovery, she wrote a children's book and conjured a reptilian ambassador in an idea that was beginning to take shape.

Today, Libby the Lizard is an educational program based on a children's book that explores the concept of secrets, good and bad.

"Having someone to talk to that you trust is very important in terms of awareness, prevention, and intervention of child abuse," says McMorris, who explains the concept behind her book "Good Secrets and Bad Secrets."

"We teach children to always tell, to report, when bad things happen. In the book, we introduce a resource called Libby's Trust List."

McMorris, who has a master's degree in health administration, founded the nonprofit Good Secrets and Bad Secrets in 2015, together with Larry Mathews, an Army veteran officer, instructor at Oakland Community College, and healthcare researcher for Wayne State University.

Mathews himself suffered a dysfunctional childhood yet sought out positive experiences by participating in the swimming and diving team and devoting himself to schoolwork.

"Larry's experience tells us he was able to avoid normalizing the behavior after the seventh grade," says McMorris. "One of the goals we have is we don't ever want children to normalize abusive behavior. We want to help them distinguish appropriate from inappropriate."

The nonprofit's sister organization, Libby International, serves as a for-profit retail arm for book sales and eventual branded material, including Libby backpacks, t-shirts, and shoes. A $10,000 grant from Flagstar Pontiac Big Idea program helped purchase a life-sized Libby costume and publish and print books to give to children.

"We have had Libby attend events in Pontiac, and when the kids get to know Libby through the book and then see her, they just swarm her," says McMorris. "It's a beautiful experience."

Libby is the featured star of an entire curriculum for social studies and reading that meets Michigan educational standards, says Mathews. Intended as the first in a series of books and programs, "Good Secrets and Bad Secrets" sets the foundation for other child safety topics such as internet safety, sports, drugs, weapons, and suicide.

"Parents and teachers can use Libby to help kids feel safe," says Mathews. "Libby can be a touchpoint for when there is a school shooting, for example."

The team has presented the program to students at Inkster Preparatory Academy, and during afterschool programming at Schulze Academy in Detroit. With their business based in downtown Pontiac, the team is working to provide similar instruction in the Pontiac School District.

"The issue is funding," says Mathews. "We are working to identify corporate and school foundation funding for our programs."

Through Libby, McMorris and Mathews are confident they will provide information, support, and resources to kids so they don't have to suffer abuse and neglect.

"Protecting our children requires a disciplinary approach, with multiple levels and multiple resources at every developmental age, says McMorris."

Little village powered by big volunteer base

Franklin may be “the town that time forgot,” as the unofficial slogan goes for the quaint Oakland County village, but its residents certainly never forget to donate their own time. From historical societies to fire departments, volunteers power an impressive number of local organizations in the historic village.

Tony Averbuch has been the Fire Chief in Franklin for almost ten years, but his career fighting fires began as a volunteer in 1991. Of the 31 members in Averbuch’s current department, 29 are volunteers, and they manage to staff the local station around the clock. Averbuch believes everyone volunteers for different reasons, including wanting to give back to their communities, starting out in the field and looking to get training and experience, and having time available to experience something different. He believes that Franklin defies a national trend of diminishing civic participation.
 
“While we are approximately 80 percent volunteer departments nationwide,” Averbuch explains, “the individual numbers are on the decline.”
Averbuch admits that, even for his enthusiastic team, it’s not always easy relying on volunteer power. “Challenges do exist working with volunteers,” he says, “but they also exist working with full-time staff.”
 
Averbuch says their most significant opposition is always time. “Time for training, time for staffing, time for response,” he says.
“Time” is exactly what other organizations in the village are looking to preserve. Bill and Ann Lamott are behind the Franklin Historical Society, an organization supported solely by memberships and donations and run by volunteers. They encourage the upkeep of historical structures in Franklin, and Bill Lamott says the volunteer attitude is due to residents wanting to be active in their community.
 
“The dedicated always make themselves available,” he says.
 
Dedicated indeed are other residents too, like the volunteers involved in the village Mobile Watch program, Friends of the Franklin Library group and the Franklin Baseball and Softball League. Jane Polan is president of the Franklin Community Association (FCA), which maintains parkland donated by historic villager George Wellington Smith. The FCA also organizes strolling dinners, wine tastings, summer family events, outdoor movies and a fine art fair.
 
“Franklin is what it is,” says Polan, “A truly wonderful place to live, because of our volunteers.”

Averbuch agrees, and his message to residents is clear: “Participate, get involved, and make a difference.”

Women's Divorce Resource Center launches support group


Whether it’s a new life stage, a pivotal event or some other reason to end a marriage, the process of divorce can be confusing, overwhelming and sometimes, downright terrifying. New this fall, the Women’s Divorce Resource Center is launching an empowerment support group to arm individuals with the support they need to effectively and humanely shift their situation.
 
The six-week seminar will meet on consecutive Thursday evenings, beginning September 20, 2018, at SheHive (2505 Hilton, Ferndale), 6:45-9 p.m. Space is limited. Subject matter will include financial, emotional, legal and parenting aspects of divorce, with speakers to include Nancy Warkentin Houdek, MA, LPC, NCC, PLLC, and Natasha Kendal, PHD, LMFT and Robin Breckenridge, CPC, an educator, public speaker, certified relational advocate and professional coach.
 
Warkentin Houdek is a nationally certified professional counselor and psychotherapist based in Farmington Hills. Kendal is a marriage and family therapist in Bloomfield Hills. Breckenridge works in unison with PIVOT- a relational alignment group, where she helps people struggling with relational challenges shift into a healthy relational alignment. 
 
“We help people learn how and when to talk to their kids about an impending divorce, and how to keep kids out of the middle of negotiations,” says Vicki McLellan, WDRC co-founder. “We firmly believe that the more information and support women have during divorce, the more confidence they’ll have after. When women are empowered, it has a positive impact on the entire family, especially their children.”
 
“The legal process can be confusing. There are concerns about finances. And emotional wellness during divorce is difficult for everyone. We want to empower women to weather the process well, and know they are not alone,” says Angela Zangarola, WDRC Co-Director and Board Member.
 
The Women’s Divorce Resource Center offers workshops and special topics seminars throughout the year. A seminar on self-esteem through transition is set for October 11, followed by a women-to-work workshop in collaboration with JVS December 3.
 
Women’s Divorce Workshops take place on Saturdays (September 15 and December 15) as well as some weekday evenings (November 1 and 8). Speakers include McLellan, Houdek, Kendall as well as Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, Randy Pitler, Jessica Pospiech Heltsley and James Chryssikos.
 
About Women’s Divorce Resource Center
Founded in 2012, the Women’s Divorce Resource Center helps educate women on the divorce process. The nonprofit organization was co-founded by Vicki McLellan, CFP®, CDFA EA, MA and Rebecca Abel  CFP®, CDFA™. Both have worked extensively on the financial side of divorce. Current co-directors include McLellan, Nancy Warkentin Houdek, MA, LPC, NCC, and Angela Zangarola, MBA, CDFA.
 
The mission of the Women’s Divorce Resource Center is to empower and educate women contemplating and going through the divorce process. We strive to provide educational opportunities about the various legal, financial and emotional aspects of divorce. We believe the more support women have during this difficult process, the more confident they will be with their decisions. This empowerment will positively affect women and their children post-divorce.
 
For more information, please visit www.womens-divorce.org.

U.S.-Japan Council President is keynote speaker for Women's Leadership Conference

The president of the U.S.-Japan Council is the featured speaker at the U.S.-Japan Women’s Leadership Conference set for September 26.

Irene Hirano Inouye, president of the Washington D.C.-based organization, headlines the program which focuses on women who hold leadership positions. It is sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Council and hosted by the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

“We are honored to host Irene Hirano Inouye for this important leadership event and excited about our partnership with the U.S.-Japan Council,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “This is a singular opportunity to hear from Mrs. Inouye and others in leadership positions and learn first-hand how they advanced in their professions.”

The conference will be held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. There is no charge to attend but advance registration is required at AdvantageOakland.EventBrite.com. A light lunch is included. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The U.S.-Japan Council is a non-profit educational organization that contributes to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership, engaging stakeholders and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and governments on both sides of the Pacific. Japan-based companies have significant investment in Oakland County, owning more than a quarter of the nearly 1,100 international firms in the county.

Inouye, who founded the council in 2008, also administers the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the government of Japan that invests in young Japanese and Americans through educational and cultural exchanges and leadership programs. She is former president and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, a position she held for 20 years.

Inouye is the widow of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and World War II hero. He represented Hawaii in Congress for more than 50 years and was the first Japanese-American elected to serve in both the House and the Senate. He died in 2012 at age 88.

The conference includes panel discussions that highlight women in leadership positions in Oakland County government and the paths Japanese American women have taken to become leaders.

The Oakland County government panel includes:
  • Irene Spanos, director of economic development and community affairs
  • Jordie Kramer, director of human resources
  • Kathy Forzley, director of health and human services

The Japanese American panel includes:
  • Yuki Sakai, deputy Counsel General of Japan, Detroit
  • Izumi Suzuki, president of Suzuki, Myers & Associates, Novi
  • Motoko Tabuse, professor, Eastern Michigan University
  • Yuka Sato, former world champion figure skater and U.S. Women’s Figure Skating coach

Both panel discussions will be moderated by Laurie Van Pelt, director of management and budget for Oakland County.

Other sessions include:
  • A presentation from Mary Kamidoi, treasurer of the Detroit Chapter of the Japanese American
  • Citizens League, entitled “What Doesn’t Break You Makes You Stronger”
  • A leadership training workshop led by Deputy County Executive Phil Bertolini entitled, “You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello: The Art of Communicating”

Health and wellness-minded senior living community celebrates grand opening in Rochester Hills

They’ve been moving in residents since June, but the newest senior living community in Oakland County celebrated its ribbon cutting on Thursday, Aug. 9 with drinks, dining, dancing, and tours of the facilities.

The 97-bed facility at Stonecrest of Rochester Hills is roughly 50 percent full since opening. It’s a remarkably good rate, says Lara Anderson, Director of Marketing at Stonecrest Senior Living. It usually takes 14 to 18 months to reach that mark, she says.

"We do a lot of research before securing land and start building. Detroit market data showed us that a need was there and Rochester Hills leased up some of the quickest," Anderson says.

"We’re right there on Rochester Road and close to downtown."

Stonecrest not only focuses on the physical health of its residents but also on their mind and spirit. A life enrichment program focuses on seven metrics, with programming that encourages residents to be friendly, active, aware, imaginative, spiritual, together, and gracious.

A special memory care staff is on hand to care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Stonecrest provides memory care staff with continuing education classes to provide up-to-date care.

There is also a special staff to help patients navigate their VA benefits.

The Rochester Hills location is the second of three Stonecrest facilities planned for metro Detroit. A Troy location opened in July 2017. A third location, in Northville, is scheduled open by the end of the year and is currently in the pre-leasing stage.

"We offer the same product at each location, but take a unique approach to the different interiors," Anderson says.

"Rochester Hills is especially calm and comforting."

Stonecrest of Rochester Hills is located at 1775 S. Rochester Rd. in Rochester Hills.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

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