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Camarrah Morgan's picture

As I enjoy the sunshine after a long week of rainy days in Michigan, I reflect on my experiences and interactions working to mobilize community involvement in the development of a comprehensive early childhood system for the City of Detroit. Although, I am utterly inspired and humbled by the dedication, commitment, and persistence that every day people bring to the effort, I am constantly asked…what is hope? And why does hope matter in this day and age?


I think about the daunting statistics overcasting Detroit…


  • 80,000 children age 8 and under live in Detroit and 57% of those children are currently living in poverty.

  • Detroit has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country.

  • Only 13.5% of Detroit’s 3rd graders are reading at grade level.

  • 26 of Detroit’s schools are among the 5% of lowest performing schools in the state.

Source: Michigan League for Public Policy; Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, 2016;“Readiness in Detroit” – Excellent Schools Detroit, 2016; “The System We Need” – IFF


Typing the statistics makes my heart sink and these are just a few of the barriers families face.


I think of families and children looking around and living within this data. It brings tears to my eyes to think about how a young mind is interpreting what he sees…a seemingly colorless, lifeless collage of neighborhoods sprinkled with abandoned homes, buildings, cars, etc. I suppose the continuous depiction of despair and negative perceptions of what is possible clouds the view of positive transformation rising in Detroit.


There is HOPE because real people are ready for change and working towards change.


A closer observation highlights another story here…actually many stories of hope…stories of people living, serving, sharing, rebuilding, networking, and genuinely caring about community.  There is HOPE because real people are ready for change and working towards change. Grandparents parenting again to help their relatives find their way…Fathers caring for children while moms search for answers…Sisters friending one another to support positive outcomes…Brothers tackling hard issues that plague the community…Leaders listening to community to develop meaningful programs…Neighbors bonding together to maintain the historical value of community property…Funders blending and coordinating resources to amplify reach and depth of impact.


Hope here began years ago through selfless individuals who remember the strength of Detroit’s heritage, the courage of Detroit’s ancestors and the foundation of Detroit’s existence. Hope starts with one person believing in the wildest, most outlandish dream…that one act of kindness creates a ripple…that one example of positivity inspires others to join the movement…that living is more about giving than taking…that caring happens without money or an abundance of resources…that generosity is shared through a hand opening to another…that together we are powerful beyond all measure! Hope is born through you and I, believing enough in an idea to make the vision a reality.


...that together we are powerful beyond all measure!


For this reason, we believe Hope Starts Here in Detroit. We believe we will make a difference today and in the future. We know every child deserves to live in the beauty of Hope. We believe every person here can be more than we imagine when given the opportunity. As a pebble in a river ripples endlessly, we believe we share hope by being hopeful. Through this hopefulness, change will come and that’s why hope matters! For with it, there is a star to reach for…and a strong network of people working together makes our reach higher!


Hope Starts Here


I am born here

I begin here

I learn here

I grow here

I live here

I laugh here

I love time here

I have pride here

I hope here

I dream here

I go to school here

I graduate here

I become here

I am diverse here

I find love here

I have family here

I work here

I build here

I create here

I heal here

I own a business here

I dine here

I donate here

I spend my life here

I retire here

I belong here

I am proud here

I am here

because Hope Starts Here

With Me

I am

Detroit Community


by Camarrah Morgan


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