Collaboration was the word of the day when Young Leaders United kicked off 2017 with a welcome luncheon at the Midland Country Club featuring a panel discussion with community and business leaders.  Within the context of United Way’s community level goals in Education, Health and Self-Sufficiently, panelists provided insight into how their organizations have leveraged the power of collaboration to impact the community in significant and positive ways.

In Education, Brian Brutyn from Midland Public Schools highlighted the collective efforts behind the district’s drive toward being a leader in STEM education, and Holly Miller from Big Brothers Big Sisters highlighted the relationships that are vital to her organization providing mentorship and making a difference in children’s lives.

In Health, Greg Rogers from MidMichigan Health detailed a few of the many partnerships that the health system engages in to improve the quality of life for the citizens of our community. Lou Mencia, from The Maria Mencia Cancer Caregiver Support Network, provided an account of the role that collaboration played in the funding and development of an organization that provides support to caregivers of persons living with cancer in our community—a remarkable resource that we are fortunate to have in our community.

In Self-Sufficiency, Bridgette Gransden from Midland County provided details about some of the unique partnerships that the county has undertaken to partners to address common issues in unique ways and to provide citizens with the opportunity to thrive. Ed Doerner, from Messiah Lutheran Church, educated those in attendance on a relatively new resource in our community—The Bridge Food Center—which brings together a wide range of partners to tackle the challenge of food insecurity by providing the opportunity to purchase health groceries at affordable prices.

The room for the event was at capacity with 50+ YLU members in attendance.  An update on the total membership numbers (212 members) was given and additional details were provided regarding the events on the docket for 2017.  A portion of the proceeds from the luncheon will provide books and lunch for our upcoming March is Reading Month service project at Carpenter Elementary School on March 22nd.

What a great way to start 2017 for YLU!  A huge round of applause goes out to our panelists for their generous contribution of their time and insights and to the Midland Country Club for their first-class hospitality!