Turning Outward

As an organization, we are also excited about our new “Turning Outward” focus. We’re committed to learning more about people’s aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in. That means we will be spending time this year listening to you, finding out what you value, where you want to go and why. This is important work and will create the framework for making community decisions and building a shared purpose.

CONVERSATION WITH MEMBERS OF MIDLAND NEIGHBORING
Date: July 15, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with the Midland Neighboring Group to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a caring, collaborative and transformational community that is grounded in faith and provides opportunities for all. They are concerned about determining what the community values and needs, as well as finding ways to work together on strategic solutions. As they talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about helping people who feel stuck, solving the root causes of problems and creating accountability. They believe we need to meet people where they’re at, create a holistic approach to meeting community needs, and lead by example. If the whole community played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “There are a lot of people who genuinely want to improve their lives, but they don’t know how. We need to figure out a way to work together and help those who feel stuck.”

CONVERSATION WITH HOUSING PROVIDERS
Date: June 17, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of people focused on housing to find out what kind of community they want to live in.

People want a safe community that provides affordable housing solutions for everyone. They are concerned about the limited number of affordable rentals and homes, duplication in efforts to help and a lack of coordination. As they talk more about those concerns they talk about limited building options, the perception that there is no poverty and the perception that people are relocating to Midland for housing. They believe we need to improve coordination to overcome barriers and work together more efficiently, with a shared database, coordinated funding and a model that works locally. If community leaders, agencies and those focused on assistance played a part in those actions, they would be more likely to trust the effort.

QUOTE: “Midland looks to be a Utopia. People just don’t see the problems.”

CONVERSATION WITH CITY OF MIDLAND DEPARTMENT LEADERSHIP
Date: June 10, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of leaders from the City of Midland to find out what kind of community they want to live in.

People want a collaborative, prosperous community with resources and opportunities for all. They are concerned about the increased number of people relocating seeking help without the additional resources needed, along with chronic underemployment and young workers who are unqualified or unprepared for available jobs. As they talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about non-profits asking for more to meet the need (donor fatigue) and a lack of skill-based career education opportunities. They believe we need to work to identify and educate students for future jobs, provide more trades education and better equip kids with the skills to prepare for and keep jobs. If the regional employers, public schools, colleges/universities and non-profits that support the trades played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTES: “People assume that others will fill in (the need) but don’t realize that a little bit can make an impact.”
“We can’t just do what we’ve always done.”
“We are in the quality of life business.”

CONVERSATION WITH BULLOCK CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
Date: June 9, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of Elementary Teachers from Bullock Creek to find out what kind of community they want to live in.

Teachers want a family-friendly community that is youth centered and values everyone. They are concerned about keeping our small-town feel, connecting County and City, people being personally accountable and getting parents engaged. As teachers talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about overcoming the cycle of poverty, negative perceptions about education, transportation availability, drug use and local traffic. They believe we need to create more family activities outside of the schools, have more volunteers in the schools, better educate about our needs and resources available as well as providing kids with goals instead of handouts. If businesses, schools, non-profits, churches, parents, the medical community and community leaders played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “Handing people things is not always the solution.”
“Education is not just doing what the teachers say, it is a lifelong journey.”
“Students believe that “if it was good enough for my mom and dad, then it’s good enough for me.’”

CONVERSATION WITH BULLOCK CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS
Date: June 9, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of Middle School Teachers from Bullock Creek to find out what kind of community they want to live in.

Teachers want a safe, community that keeps kids engaged in a positive way and works to overcome generational poverty. They are concerned about creating a desire for change, frequent moving and stress, a break down in manners and respect, entitlements, kids taking on adult problems and instilling a strong work ethic. As teachers talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about lack of funding, collaborating beyond the school day (takes a village), parents not putting kids first, and overwhelming needs in the summer. They believe we need to have early interventions, teach kids to fail and persevere, show different paths available, reinstate life skills classes, focus on reading with more volunteers, provide vocational opportunities, recognize that change take time and look at mobile book and feeding programs. If United Way, government, foundations, schools, non-profits, churches and colleges played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTES: “When it comes to poverty, it can be a cultural thing—a language we don’t necessarily speak.”
“School can be their escape. Many are scared to go home because they don’t know if there will be meals or where they will be and what home life will be like.”
“How do you install want and desire into someone?”
“Teaching to read is like teaching to fish.”

CONVERSATION WITH BULLOCK CREEK HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
Date: June 9, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of High School Teachers from Bullock Creek to find out what kind of community they want to live in.

Teachers want a safe community with many assets for families, where everyone has opportunities, is heard, valued and connected. They are concerned about the misconceptions about Bullock Creek Schools, the challenges of the perception that bigger is better and overall community access to services and transportation. As teachers talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about inequality among local districts, differing policies, lack of collaboration and a focus on test-score competition instead of raising the scores of all County students. They believe we need to provide the same opportunities to all students, increase cross-district support and foster open communication. If the local schools, churches, businesses and non-profits played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “If we go knocking, we will be included. We are not denied, but we are not being sought out.”
“Giving back is what makes the difference. It defines our community.”
“It’s like having a small town without having a town.”

CONVERSATION WITH LEADERSHIP CIRCLE MEMBERS
Date: May 21, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of Leadership Circle donors to find out what kind of community they want to live in.

People want a safe, supportive, welcoming community that works together to break the cycle of poverty so that all can thrive. They are concerned about addressing root causes, poverty not being visible aka “the Midland Bubble,” and getting everyone involved in making a difference. As they talk more about those concerns, they talk about the shame of asking for help, needing a vision for moving out of poverty, parents valuing education, creating the desire for change and a connection to work. They believe we need to think outside of the box to develop a community model for overcoming poverty that incorporates the schools, understands that place and relationships matter, and provide life skills and parent education. If United Way, community organizations, schools and community and family centers played a part in those actions, they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “If you are affluent, then this is an affluent community. There are areas where you are never exposed to poverty.”
“If it were easy, it would be done.”

CONVERSATION WITH THOSE INVOLVED IN FOOD SECURITY
Date: May 20, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of people connected to feeding program and food security to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, friendly community where everyone is valued and has opportunities for growth. They also desire a community that works together to ensure everyone has access to healthy food. They are concerned about the provision for working families who don’t qualify, access to healthy foods, transportation barriers, feeding children and education about healthy meal prep. As they talk more about those concerns, they talk about personal responsibility, poverty being less visible, high fat and sugar foods, embarrassment over asking for help and the growing need with people who are working. They believe we need to consider central referral system, create more collaboration and education, explore summer feeding programs for children, group shopping for seniors and provide a vision for breaking the cycle of poverty. If local agencies, food banks and churches played a part in those actions, they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “A week’s worth of food without fresh meat and vegetables isn’t really a week’s worth of food.”
“I can’t do all of it, but I am a part of the puzzle.”

CONVERSATION WITH DISABILITY NETWORK STAGES
Date: March 26, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of staff and clients from Disability Network on Mid-Michigan to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a diverse community that is inclusive and fully accessible, where everyone takes responsibility for their actions. They are concerned about access to post-secondary education, transportation, employment as well as affordable and accessible housing. As they talk more about those concerns they talk about the lack of housing options, college opportunities, the cost of retro-fitting for accessibility and job descriptions that exclude them. They believe we need to raise awareness about inclusion, speak up when barriers exist, adopt universal design standards and be intentional about jobs and education. If Disability Network, the City and County of Midland, United Way, NAPH and business leaders played a part in those actions, they would be more likely to trust the effort.

QUOTE: “We need to be feisty and noncompliant; stand up and say something if there is a barrier and don’t sit down until it’s changed.”

CONVERSATION WITH LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
Date: March 26, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of law enforcement professionals from the City and County to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, family-friendly community with strong schools where residents are supportive of law enforcement. They would also like a presence in county schools. They recognize that this is a great place to live, with low violent crime rates, great quality of life and a strong economy. They are concerned about the perception that law enforcement hides information, without considering that they protect victims, juveniles, and confidentiality without compromising investigations. As they talk more about those concerns they talk about an “us versus them” feeling, misinformation on social media, no accountability for the truth, lack of parenting skills and no funding for school law enforcement programs in the county. They believe we need to gather input from the community and educate them about the role of law enforcement, be transparent, see more citizens speak out about untruths and have more financial resources. If officers, the public, local media and City and County leaders played a part in those actions, they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “It’s all about building relationships. We’re open to anyone with an idea to help move the needle forward.”

CONVERSATION WITH COLEMAN HIGH SCHOOL
Date: March 25, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of students from Coleman High School to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

Students want a connected, supportive, safe community where everyone has pride and works to improve the perception of Coleman. While they like the small town environment, they are concerned about the shrinking student population, fewer electives/extracurriculars, being isolated from the rest of the county and how they talk about themselves. As students talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about the lack of funding, underestimating their potential and no support for school fundraisers. They also mentioned a lack of teen jobs and feeling at a disadvantage for college acceptance and scholarships. They believe they need to focus on attracting more students, promoting unique programs like Ag Science, identify success stories and create pride by changing the way they talk about themselves. If other students, the superintendent, successful alumni and other role models played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “We have short bursts of good things. Sparks, but not a flame.”

CONVERSATION WITH ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: March 24, 2014

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe and friendly community where we share resources and come together for improvement. They are concerned about getting to know our neighbors and feeling safe to walk everywhere. As they talked more about those concerns, they talked about everyone being too busy and having more places where people can come together as we grow. They believe we need to educate the community about the needs, be transparent about how the needs are being met as well as individuals being accountable to act.

Connected: United Way and other nonprofits, churches, schools and law enforcement

QUOTE: “I want to build a community that my children and my children’s children want to call home.”

CONVERSATION WITH ACEA of Midland
Date: March 5, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of students from ACEA of Midland to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

Students want a safe, friendly community with affordable activities. They are concerned about drug use and kids needing to connect with the consequences of using and not always feeling safe. As students talk more about those concerns they talked about break-ins and not feeling safe late at night near the Tridge. They also talked about the importance of showing up for class and felt drug use was why many didn’t. They all knew someone who was using drugs and felt friends and parents were an influence. Only half felt they had a positive role model.  They want role models closer to their age and want to learn to become role models. They felt they needed to work with teachers and administrators to get involved and speak up, taking on a leadership role and leaving the school better than they found it. If students, principals, counselors, and successful graduates played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “I’ve never had a chance to talk like this.”

CONVERSATION WITH WINDOVER HIGH SCHOOL
Date: February 10, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of students from Windover High School to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

Students want a community that provides a second chance, values common sense, has realistic views and is less violent. They would like to see the perceptions about Windover be more positive. They are concerned about conditions at other schools that drive students to Windover, like bullying, lack of concern for others and a sense that students need to be pushed through to get them out. As students talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about schools knowing that bullying and drug use exist, but the solutions like assemblies and speakers  did not create change. They also feel that kids need to be both challenged and encouraged. They would like the sense of community they have at Windover to exist in other high schools, where all students feel involved, listened to, valued and are held accountable.

QUOTE: “Everybody understands that everyone is here for a reason. Windover stops and listens.”

CONVERSATION WITH WEST MIDLAND FAMILY CENTER
Date: February 7, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of parents at West Midland Family Center to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, connected community that provides opportunities for all and keeps families engaged and involved. They felt very connected to West Midland Family Center and had a high level of trust in their staff. They are concerned about limited finances and jobs, people feeling isolated and fearing to reach out, a new definition of family and an overall “throw away” mentality. As they talk more about those concerns they talked about not being able to afford activities, using technology or programs as a babysitter, not knowing about community activities and kids not having positive role models. They believe we need to commit to showing up and getting involved, provide scholarships to make activities affordable, create a single gateway to know what activities are available, and having activities that engage parents and benefit kids. If West Midland, schools, churches, United Way and other nonprofits played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “Coming through the door of WMFC kept my marriage together—which is good for our kids.”
“Don’t give up. Just keep beating the bushes. You’re not losing if you make a difference in even one kid.”

CONVERSATION WITH MERIDIAN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
Date: February 5, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of students from Meridian High School to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

Students want a safe, unified community where everyone works together, builds trust and understands the perspectives of others. They are concerned about selfishness, being judged by association or ranking and engaging only with those they know. They were also worried about “culture shock” when they left their community and experienced more diversity. As students talk more about those concerns they talked about the risk of reaching out to new people, the media’s focus on the negative and a gap in understanding and beliefs between parents and kids and especially between grandparents and grandchildren. They believe we need to smile more, bring people together and create a different culture. They also feel that creating new habits requires more than a single exposure to a concept or program. If friends, leaders, school personnel and authority figures played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “It only takes a small group to affect the whole school.”
“Actions only truly matter when people aren’t looking.”

CONVERSATION WITH MIDLAND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
Date: January 31, 2014

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of students from Midland High School to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

Students want a safe, involved community, where there is more acceptance of others. They are concerned about a lack of tolerance for those who are different, the perception of being privileged aka “The Midland Bubble”, and high performance expectations. As students talk more about those concerns, they talk about assumptions that everyone has the same resources, fear of reaching out to others and being judged themselves, the impact of media stereotypes and fitting in. They believe we need to focus on acceptance and not just tolerance, having exposure and ongoing activities to interact with diverse people, teaching acceptance early in life and not judging what you don’t know. If other students, community leaders and people who have felt excluded or judged played a part in those actions, they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “Being tolerant and accepting are two different things.”

ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: January 30, 2014

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in. 

People want to live in a safe, caring and compassionate community where we value diversity and work together. They want a variety of activities and services along with a strong economy. People are concerned with everyone feeling valued and engaged, keeping families safe and maintaining the resources that keep us safe. As people talk more about those concerns, they mentioned the need to take time from our busy schedules, understanding different perspectives and ensuring everyone’s basic needs are met. They believe we need to get everyone involved, pulling together and working to educate about community issues.

QUOTE: “I would love for all children to have full bellies, warm clothes and a safe home.”

ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: January 2013

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, involved and family-friendly community, with active neighborhoods and where we look out for one another. They are concerned about people being too busy, being more accepting of diversity, ensuring everyone’s basic needs are met and having a place where children can thrive. As they talked more about those concerns, they talked about improving on the feeling of community that already exists, better education and awareness of community issues and people taking personal responsibility. They believe we need to reach out in kindness to each other, assess community interest and have a dialogue to create a shared vision.

Connected: Church, social groups, school, UW, nonprofits

QUOTE: “Look for the best in others and bring it out. Dream big. Choose to surround yourself with positive influences. Speak with kindness. Start your own chain reaction.”

ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: December 2013

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in. 

People want a safe, supportive community where neighbors care for neighbors. They want diverse activities for learning and recreation and more job opportunities. They are concerned about keeping their children and grandchildren here to raise their own families as well as giving back to those in need. As they talk more about those concerns, they felt that our community is already very strong with many opportunities, but that we are disconnected from our neighbors, busy and have class and economic gaps They believe we need to focus on taking personal responsibility, donating our time and money and creating more neighborhood and community events.

QUOTE: “We’ve lost touch with other people in the community. People don’t know their neighbors. We’ve lost touch with each other on a personal, one-to-one basis.”

ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: December 2013

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in. 

People want a safe, welcoming and accepting community where we care about and help each other and have plenty of activities. They are concerned about feeling safe, attracting and keeping young families and professionals in the community. They want to ensure that everyone benefits, invests and is involved. As they talk more about those concerns, they talk about being busy and not taking time to reach out, overcoming road blocks and people not feeling included. They believe we need to focus on respect, pitching in, greater awareness of community issues and activities, instilling values and a sense of community.

QUOTE: “Too many times people are busy putting roadblocks in place instead of trying to remove them. It takes more time, energy and passion.”

ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: November 2013

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in. 

People want a safe, connected and supportive community that provides opportunities for all. They are concerned about access to basic needs, awareness of the issues we face and taking responsibility for improvement. As they talk more about those concerns, they talk about taking personal responsibility, teaching values and making our community safe for everyone. They believe we need to focus on people helping people, volunteering, creating awareness and understanding and building trust.  If local churches, employers and community clubs and organizations played a part in those actions, they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “Imagine what our lives would look like if everyone gave unselfishly to assist their neighbors who may need help.”

ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: November 2013

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, caring and helpful community where everyone feels connected and united. They are concerned about helping neighbors in need, raising children who make good decisions, instilling hope for a better future, and creating a sense of community. As they talk more about those concerns they acknowledged that our community already has a lot of these traits but would like to see neighbors better connected, everyone more involved and overcoming negativity. They believe we need to create a culture of community pride and involvement, increased awareness of needs and opportunities to help and volunteer.

Connected: Churches, United Way, nonprofits

QUOTE: “I think as a culture we are losing the sense of community.
“Everyone has to do a small part to make change.  It can be as little as picking up a piece of trash off the ground or volunteering at their local BBBS.  With a little help this community can become a huge, huge success.”

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION WITH STUDENTS FROM BULLOCK CREEK HIGH SCHOOL
Date: November 6, 2013

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of juniors and seniors from Bullock Creek High School to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

Students want a friendly, informed  and safe community where teens are valued and supported. They are concerned about teens not being heard or valued, acceptance of others, feeling safe to go places and creating a culture of helping. As students talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about the unrecognized signs of teens in trouble, the shame and judgment of those struggling, different expectations for achievers and underachievers and not feeling equipped to help peers. They believe we need to focus on educating and engaging teens, connecting with other schools,  finding ways to volunteer, having adults show genuine concerns and being a positive role model to others. If others teens, parents, family, counselors, teachers, coaches, mentors and those who have overcome adversity played a part in those actions  they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “Attitudes are contagious. If everyone tried to keep a smile and put energy into the things they do, others will catch it.”

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION WITH STUDENTS FROM HERBERT H. DOW HIGH SCHOOL
Date: October 31, 2013

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of juniors and seniors from Herbert H. Dow High School to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

Students want a safe, family-oriented, supportive community where kids are valued and young children are protected from the bad that goes on. They are concerned about awareness of activities, relationships and safety. As students talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about transparency around community safety, differing priorities between students and parents, juggling priorities and being asked to pay fees or fundraise for school activities. They believe we need to focus on affordable family activities, transparency with activity fees and reaching teens through social media. If others teens, booster clubs, student council, family, teachers and coaches played a part in those actions they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “You don’t always want your parents around, but it is nice to have my mom there at the end of the day.”

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION WITH 18-25 YEAR OLDS
Date: October 29, 2013

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of people in their 20s and 30s to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, vibrant, connected community that provides opportunities for everyone. They are concerned about retaining and attracting new people, sustaining what we have, being authentic and ensuring success for everyone. As people talk more about those concerns they talk specifically about City and County disparity, the impact on all citizens, setting expectations, engaging more deeply and sustainability of support. They believe we need to focus on engagement which includes “what’s in it for me”, working together on strategies, mentoring, setting expectations for those living in poverty and identifying ways to volunteer. If a diverse group of community champions with representation from all generations and perspectives played a part in those actions  they would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “We need to ‘pass the baton,’ mentor others, have relationships and be role models. It needs to exist on both ends—filling up and pouring out”

ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: October 2013

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, caring and supportive community that is focused on kids and has activities for all. They are concerned about feeling safe, creating an environment where everyone can thrive and raising kids to do the right thing. As they talk more about those concerns, they are concerned about crime coming from neighboring cities, not feeling connected or looking out for one another, and kids not getting all they need. They believe we need to reach out to each other and create a stronger sense of community, focus on kids, increase the number of programs and communicate then more effectively. And if employers, churches, schools and nonprofits played a part in those actions, folks would be likely to trust the effort and step forward.

QUOTE: “One that is safe for adults and children alike, where people watch out for one another and care for one another, willfully, joyfully and selflessly.”

ONLINE SUBMISSIONS
Date: September 20, 2013

We recently asked our community to complete a brief survey asking about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, fun, drug-free community where people are connected, work together and value all people. They are concerned with a lack of ownership, people being distracted/disconnected and children who aren’t learning to give back. As people talk more about those concerns, they talk specifically about  financial instability and job uncertainty, a “me-first” attitude and offering preventative services. They believe we need to focus on coming together, better awareness of activities, lessening dependence and teaching the value of work and giving back.

QUOTE: “One where all individuals care for their fellow neighbor and treat people with the same respect they would like to be treated with.”

PROFESSIONALS AND RETIREES
Date: September 15, 2013

We recently asked local professionals and retirees  about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, caring, drug-free community that values family, education and diversity, but they are concerned about attracting and keep young people here and creating a culture of care for neighbors. As people talk more about those concerns, they talks specifically about lack of support for education, meaningful activities for all and an increase in crime. They believe we need to focus on volunteering and connecting with our neighbors, ensuring basic needs are met and respecting diverse opinions.

QUOTE: “A safe, drug-free, non-violent family value centered community. A place where children can play outside and walk to a friend’s house without fear.”

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION WITH LOCAL SENIOR CITIZENS
Date: September 14, 2013

We recently conducted an in-depth community conversation with a group of local seniors to find out what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe, secure and senior-friendly community that is accessible. They are concerned with seniors being vulnerable to crime, accessible parking and opportunities to volunteer. As people talk more about those concerns, they talk specifically about  feeling isolated from their neighbors, the cost of participating in events, transportation and recognizing senior volunteers. They believe we need to focus on better communication about activities/events, scholarships and incentives, transportation and communicating with seniors who may not have email. If churches, senior centers and United Way played a part in those actions, folks would be more likely to trust the effort and step forward.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS
Date: August 8, 2013

We spent time with the recent Battle of the Bands in downtown Midland to ask people about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want to live in a small town atmosphere that is safe, quiet, peaceful and friendly, but they’re concerned about walking alone at night, having a drug-free community, police presence and a community spirit. As people talked more about these concerns, they talked specifically about living in a community where we’re more connected with each other, value all citizens and work together for change.

TUNES AT THE TRIDGE
Date: August 1, 2013

We spent time with a recent Tunes at the Tridge in downtown Midland to ask about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

People want a safe community with fun, family-friendly activities, but are concerned that there are not currently enough of these type of activities and that we lack a way to communicate about them. As people talked more many said Midland County is already a great place to live and raise a family, but were concerned with increases in crime rates, neighbors needing to look out for neighbors, as well as accessibility and acceptance of those with disabilities. They believe we need to focus on getting all people involved in our community.

RIVERDAYS CELEBRATION
Date: July 20, 2013

We spent time at Riverdays asking residents what kind of community they would like to live in.

People want to live in a safe, family-friendly community with lots of free activities for young people and families. They feel Midland is clean, family-centered town, but are concerned that residents aren’t aware of some of the problems we face, like crime and substance abuse. They feel there is room for business growth, a stronger night-life and activates for singles along with collaboration between organizations.

MIDLAND COMMUNITY CENTER PICNIC
Date: July 17, 2013

At a recent Midland Community Center picnic, we asked those in attendance what kind of community they want to live in.

People would like their children to live in an active, safe, clean and friendly community. While they feel Midland is very close to their ideal place to live, neighbors would like to see more free or low-cost activities for youth, teens and families. They also wanted more affordable housing and better communication about what is happening in Midland County. Many mentioned the need to be more connected with neighbors and creating a culture where we care for each other and give back.

MIDLAND COMMUNITY CENTER NEIGHBORS
Date: June 4, 2013

We knocked on the doors of neighbors near the Midland Community Center to learn more about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.

People want to live in a community where they feel safe, that is free of crime and drugs. They like the small-town feel of Midland and consider it much safer than nearby cities. Many talked about the days when neighbors looked out for one another, but were concerned that people today are not connected with their neighbors and the community.  They want to live in a neighborhood where yards and homes are neat and clean and kids are able to play outside. They feel their neighborhood is generally safe, but are worried about drug-related crime. They believe our community needs to have more affordable activities and events, as well as ways to learn about those opportunities.  Many want more job opportunities, lower taxes and ways to connect those in need with local agencies.

YOUNG LEADERS UNITED LOONS GAME
Date: May 21, 2013

We spent time with members of Young Leaders United at a recent Loons Baseball game to ask about their aspirations and what kind of community they want to live in.  

Folks want to live in a safe, tight-knit community that is connected and supportive, where everyone looks out for each other with a sense of belonging. They’re concerned with availability of ways to engage and give back, and feel that residents are inwardly focused. Some mentioned the importance of education, and the struggles of public schools. They want fun activities for families, kids and young professionals, and feel that there are already many opportunities, but that they’re not well-publicized. They feel Midland is already friendly and safe, but we need to know and help our neighbors, while creating a culture of inclusion, volunteering and philanthropy. Many also want to help, but lack an understanding of the needs.

EASTLAWN ELEMENTARY PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES
Date: February 10, 2013

People shared that they want to live in a community that is safe for their children and families, where neighbors are friendly and connected. Most had concerns that their children and grandchildren are facing issues that they didn’t have to and that crime seems to be on the rise, especially from neighboring communities. Many shared that they chose to live here because it is family friendly, but want a more connected community, with free family activities, community projects and deeper relationships with neighbors.

FAMILY WELLNESS DAY AT THE MALL
Date: February 10, 2013

Living in a safe community was important to most people, where folks are more connected and working together. Many were worried about their children and grandchildren, wishing things were like they used to be when they were growing up. Some felt that there were programs to support local Seniors, but were concerned about the rise of drug use and increased crime. As people talked more, they stressed the importance of education and parent involvement as well as the need for a strong work force and well-paying jobs.

KIDS DAY AT THE MALL
Date: January 19, 2013

People want to live in a safe and friendly community, that provides kid- and family-friendly activities. Many agreed that we already live in a very safe and connected community and chose Midland for that reason. Some felt we needed more activities and recreational opportunities for all age groups and wanted their children to feel safe when they played outside. As people talked more, they also mentioned concerns about connecting with neighbors, a feeling of the have’s and have not’s and violence from other communities.