As our organization began preparing for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference, the annual gathering of business and governmental leaders aimed at the betterment of our state, I couldn’t help but notice how well this year‘s focus on uniting as “One Michigan,” under the pillars of “Prepare,” “Grow,” and “Love” aligned perfectly with who Playworks is and what we strive to do every day.
Prepare. Education and talent will be key topics of discussion on the island this year, and rightfully so. A better-prepared Michigan indeed starts with the education and social development of its future citizens, our children. Research proves that many critical life skills, such as conflict resolution, teamwork, and leadership, as well as physical and emotional development, are formed at a very young age. My team and I advocate for the tremendous power of play and why we need to ensure all children have the resources and guidance necessary to experience it in a safe and healthy way.
Grow. As leaders at the conference are discussing how best to sustain economic vitality, we’ll be communicating how we are implementing growth, not only in metro Detroit but statewide. This fall, we will begin pilot programs in 15 new elementary schools located in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Lansing, with the goal of expanding into 90 schools by the end of the year. It is a dedicated and ambitious growth plan that saw us expand from 29 to 70 schools between 2016 and 2018. Moreover, our involvement in MEMSPA, Michigan’s largest organizing body of elementary and middle school principals, will enable us to work and collaborate even more closely with key educators statewide.
Love. Sustainability and stewardship—how Michigan maintains, takes care of and ensures its growth and progress for years to come—was also amply considered during MPC. It is an area we remain unabashedly passionate about through our mission aimed at the social, emotional, and physical development of our children.