Something to Ponder as Kids Head Back to School

This is an excerpt from a Bridge Magazine article by Nancy Derringer on June 30, 2016, "Michigan's low investment in childcare costs state and poor children alike"

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Helen Blank is the director of childcare and early learning at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington D.C.

The nonprofit center, which advocates for policies that promote greater opportunity for women and their families, tracks subsidized child care closely, seeing it as a key issue for working parents.

It isn’t just a nice-to-have benefit for the poor, Blank said, but a must-have benefit if low-income parents are to be able to fill new jobs being created in today’s economy, which especially in Michigan are disproportionately low-wage, with non-traditional, often erratic hours.

“Look at the needs of these moms,” said Blank. “I’m glad Michigan has a new investment in pre-K (for four-year-olds). That was good, but don’t exempt child care.”

(In 2013, the state expanded Great Start Readiness Program by $65 million a year, which allowed up to 30,000 lower-income 4-year-olds to attend quality preschool free of charge. Bridge reporting helped make the case for expanding the program to policymakers and the public.)

Blank said 22 percent of mothers of children under 3 in Michigan work in low-wage jobs and would generally qualify for child-care subsidies nationwide. Federal rules establish a broad framework for the program, but gives states considerable latitude in shaping it to their own states – and benefits vary widely.

“You have to understand what the value of this issue is to families and our economy,” Blank said. “(High-quality child care) helps children get a strong start to help them succeed, and it helps mothers work.”

Transforming Lives Through Redemptive Compassion

Spring is always a new awakening, especially in Michigan, as we suddenly hear birds chirping, see flowers blooming, and the grass, only weeks ago full of snow, now is the beautiful lush color of green that only God can produce. With our newest ministry, Redemptive Compassion, we feel a renewed awakening for our affiliate, and for our families we serve, walking with them as they begin an independence they may have never experienced before.

The Core Values of Redemptive Compassion are:

  • We see everyone's value
  • We invest relationally in others
  • We help everyone achieve their God-given potential
  • We require mutual contribution and participation
  • We respond with discernment and wisdom
  • We serve in ways that transform

We ask for your prayers as we embark on this necessary, loving ministry. It will be exciting, challenging, empowering, and uniting for all of our churches and volunteers.

Katherine B. Janego, Executive Director

Gathering Together to Transform

Love INC is a place of many people from many churches. It's a beautiful thing. Along the way we need to gather together to share information and update each other. That's just what happened a few weeks ago as people from several churches and many ministries met at the Love INC office.

The best part of the day was the encouragement we all felt as we discussed our current work, as well as the vision for upcoming work. What resonated throughout the afternoon was the commitment to vision, compassion, and transformation.

We are so thankful for everyone that came together to continue to invest in the true transformation of people our neighbors in need.

Transforming Lives

The Love INC Board is committed to ministries that truly transform lives, but sometimes it can seem like a daunting task. Like any journey, however, you need to take the first step. Plans are being formulated now to begin classes that transform lives in the name of Christ.

Whether the class focuses on setting boundaries, affirming potential, or budgeting money these skills can truly transform how our clients live their lives in Christ Jesus. We are working toward a goal of demonstrating “Redemptive Compassion”. If you haven’t read this book by Lois M. Tupyi I would strongly encourage you to order a copy. Clearly, how we have delivered services to God’s blessed poor as a country has not worked. We have largely met an immediate need and ignored how we might change lives so as to eliminate the need. We are good at giving a handout but poor at giving a hand up.

 Transformational Ministry seeks to teach people to change their lives and do for themselves instead of relying on others to do for them. We should never provide something to someone that they can provide for themselves. This robs people of their dignity. If we continue to meet their immediate need without providing training to eliminate the need we perpetuate a broken system.

 Recently, four of us from Love INC witnessed testimonies of people transformed in Christ. Without exception their lives had been completely changed in a year’s time. They graduated from the transformational ministry program with renewed hope and the light of Christ in their eyes and in their hearts. Join Love in the Name of Christ as we transform our ministry to walk with our brothers and sisters in Christ through their dark times and in to God’s radiant light. 

Leave A Legacy

You may have seen this logo floating around in recent weeks, or maybe you've heard a radio ad about Leave A Legacy.

Leave a Legacy is a public awareness campaign regarding charitable/planned giving. Now as you finish your yawn let me share some astounding facts:

  • only 45% of American adults have a will  according to Legal Zoom
  • only 5.3% of people over 50 have made a charitable bequest commitment (from Michael Rosen CFRE; 20 Factoids about Planned Giving)
  • of those over 30, only 22% have been asked to make a planned gift.

Even more importantly, the planned gifts you make to Love INC can help a family eat, or help someone get a ride to work, or help people gain valuable life skills. You can help generations to come. Contact me to talk about how you can help your neighbors in Livingston County. We're asking.

Raising the Talent Level of Michigan Workers

This article was originally printed in Bridge Magazine, October 27, 2015. It seems so many of the challenges we face are completely intertwined.

 

Raising the Talent Level of Michigan Workers

27 October 2015

by Phil Power
Bridge Magazine

Michigan’s unemployment rate for September was 5.0 percent. That was better than the national rate (5.1 percent) for the first time in 15 years.

Speaking of dramatic progress, our jobless rate was nearly seven percent last year and more than double that – 10.3 percent – just four years ago.

That’s the good news.

But at the same time…

  • The average weekly paycheck for workers decreased in more than half of Michigan counties since the year 2000.

  • Five out of seven projected fastest-growing occupations in Michigan over the next few year offer pay so low that workers might qualify for food stamps.

  • A quarter of Michigan workers are barely above the poverty line and – in a world of unreliable mass transit — just one car breakdown away from unemployment.

  • In the city of Detroit, where the unemployment rate for 2010 (the most recent year available) was 24.8 percent, there are still too many residents who suffer from being functionally illiterate.

    For the most part, we’ve survived the Great Recession. But there’s a long, long way to go to a widely prosperous economy. That – and the realization that we all need to become more entrepreneurial – is sinking in all around our state. Consider three new and significant workforce development startups:
    In West Michigan,
    Talent 2025 was started in 2010 by 70 employers, with more than 70,000 workers who recognized that worker skills and talent were the keys to the region’s prosperity. The organization works to “dramatically improve the quality and quantity of the region’s talent to meet increasingly more complex and diverse workforce needs.”

    Just last week came news of the new Detroit Workforce Development Board, bringing together 21 CEO’s from southeast Michigan, along with foundation, education and labor leaders. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also announced the appointment of Jeff Donofrio as workforce development director. Donofrio, a veteran of Ford Motor Co.’s government affairs staff, has also run the offices of Congressmen Sander Levin and John Dingell.

    At the state level, the Michigan Talent Investment Agency was created in March to fill the gap between workers with the right skills and employers “in need of highly skilled workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.” It is designed to link together state efforts in job preparedness, career-based education, worker training, employment assistance and unemployment insurance.

    Time was when a young person could graduate from high school – or maybe even drop out – and go down the road for a good-paying job bolting on right fenders at Ford, Oldsmobile or Pontiac. No more. Fiat-Chrysler’s Dundee Engine Plant, for example, requires new hires to have at least an associate’s degree from community colleges.

    The fundamental fact of today’s economy is that virtually every future job that earns enough to support a family requires some post-high school credential. Stephanie Comai, director of the Talent Investment Agency, says her greatest ambition is “for every kid who graduates from high school to have a concrete career-and-skills plan.”

    Consistent with Comai’s hopes, the state has just published “Michigan’s HOT 50,” a listing of tomorrow’s high-demand, high-wage careers that demand education and training after high school. The list starts with Accountants and Auditors ($29.67 median hourly wage), proceeds through Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses ($21.27) and ends with Veterinarians, who pull down a median wage of $43.71.

    But while education beyond high school is clearly needed, there’s also pretty good evidence that families who think their kids must have a four-year college degree to survive need to think again. Both big Michigan utility companies have openings for linemen that pay upwards of $100,000 a year. I don’t know many starting lawyers who make that much.

    Probably because of the now-extinct pipeline for low-skilled young people into the auto industry, Michigan is notable nationally for lacking clear and far-reaching policies to improve the workings of the labor and skills markets. Recognizing the enormous benefits resulting from encouraging investment in human capital is without doubt one of the most important policy priorities for the next decade for all of our leaders.

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    #BridgeMagazine #HomelessContinuumofCare #LoveIN


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A Summer With Love INC

If I had to sum up my summer with Love INC, it would be this: I have received so much more than I have given.

 As a college student with an interest in law, volunteering at a non-profit seemed to be a logical choice, a solid resume item. When the opportunity to work with Love INC for a summer arose, I was interested and excited. I expected to perform some administrative tasks, to learn a few things, and then to leave at the end of the summer having checked “worked with a non-profit,” off of my list of to-dos.

Now, as I look back on these past few months, I know that these simple expectations were a radical underestimation of the experience I would ultimately have during my time at Love INC, and of the organization itself. I could not have possibly predicted the power that a group of dedicated, spiritually motivated volunteers could have on a community, or on me. I had never witnessed the kind of poverty that Love INC deals with each and every day.

It was overwhelming, and seemed impossible to address. But the volunteers and employees at Love INC seemed unfazed. Not because they did not care, but because they are each so filled with kindness and love for their fellow man that a cry for help was not a burden but a chance to lift up a community, one simple need at a time. This perspective on life and on every individual’s societal value was an entirely new concept. The idea that you can live your life in the same spirit of giving that these volunteers live their lives was revolutionary for me. 

This is why I know I have received so much more than I have given. This experience has taught me how being grounded in love and respect for those around you, no matter their station. It changes your life and adds a richness to living that you cannot have without that kind of spiritual attitude and desire to give back.

 I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.

Thank you Love INC!

Keriann Smith

 

Livingston County the Wealthiest….. Whaaaat??!!

Maybe you saw the article in the Livingston Daily on February 19th, 2015 about Livingston County being the wealthiest county in Michigan. To many it was not surprising, but to many people they were like --- “really, where is that wealth??!” It was interesting to read the research from 24/7 Wall Street, a website that publishes financial news and opinion content. They looked at the estimated median annual household income over five years, and Livingston County was found to be the wealthiest in Michigan. We have a median household income of $72,359. We also have 4.8% of households over $200,000 in income.

Comments on the article were amusing. Some were very proud of the label “Wealthiest County in Michigan”. Some were a little upset that Livingston County was found to be the wealthiest county in Michigan, they even started refuting the data and discussing whether it was per capita since their county has a much greater population.

Here’s the problem with all of this. As soon as you label Livingston County as the Wealthiest County in Michigan many people turn their head off as it relates to giving. Does the wealthiest county really have people that need help? Someone must already be taking care of them, right?

Pastor Brian Tweedie, of Cornerstone EPC, sees “lots of hidden poverty based on the number of people Cornerstone helps, and those that come for help.” And Pastor Don Weatherup, of Arise Church, routinely sees “that there are plenty of circumstances that can quickly turn the tide of an individual’s financial security. Some examples include divorce, job loss, prolonged illness, (and) death of a wage earner, just to name a few.”

Lots of people need help for a variety of reasons, and Love in the Name of Christ of the Greater Livingston Area (Love INC) helps in a special way. We work with more than 60 partner churches to provide basic needs. Our dedicated volunteers help people struggling in Livingston County by verifying needs, building relationships, and determining how resources are distributed, as well as offering prayer. In fact in 2014 Love INC, through our partner churches, met 3,122 needs utilizing 6,790 volunteers who donated 16,851 hours.

If you find yourself wanting to help you can do that in a number of ways. Money always helps, so you can donate via our website. You can also volunteer; on the phones with those who need help, in the office assisting with administrative work, or as a dedicated prayer person. Contact us and we can give you an orientation tour to see if this is a good fit for you. We provide all the training.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27

Blessings,

Katherine B. Janego

Executive Director

Love in the Name of Christ of

the Greater Livingston Area