One Community in Northern Michigan Worked Together to Improve Health & Education


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In the 1990s, the citizens of Mancelona, Mich. (1.16% Latino population), had limited access to healthcare, social services, and higher education.

Employment opportunities were few and far between. The area had the lowest per capita income in the state, most families lived below the poverty line, and were underinsured or uninsured.

The effects hit the area’s young the hardest and the rampant health risks affected academic performance. In the 1994-1995 school year, 39% of all Mancelona high school students dropped out and just 64% of high school seniors graduated.

Something had to be done at a fundamental level to affect real change. Like all great changes, what happened in Mancelona started at a grass roots level.

In order to reduce health disparities, it is critical to address inequities in programs, practices, and policies. Join our site, connect with others, and get involved.

Middle School Principal Terry McLeod recognized the critical role of student health and wellness in academic success – and he led the charge.

After receiving a three-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, he and his group of supporters started Project S.H.A.R.E. (School Home Alliance for Restructured Education) to help fill in the gaps in Mancelona’s education needs.

The group worked to build the Mancelona Family Resource Center and over time, added resources to the schools and communities, including the Ironmen Health Center, which provided services to students age 10-21 regardless of health insurance status.

Thanks to blending together all these resources in the communities and linking them to the families, graduation has risen 91% and teen pregnancies, drug and tobacco use, and child abuse rates are all down to historic lows.

In 2015, 100% of all the seniors in the community were making plans to pursue higher education or technical skills training.

Read more about this success story here.

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Expected rise in Latino cancer cases in coming years

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