Youth

quinntheislander/Pixabay.com

This week on Points North, as suicide rates rise in the United States, local crisis hotlines are shutting down and national ones are taking over. Plus, how northern Michigan schools help students cope with teen suicides.


   

On June 5, the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra will perform at Lincoln Center for the New York Philharmonic biennial.  The biennial is a festival dedicated to new music and the students will not be playing standard repertoire. There are two world premieres commissioned for the performance and two NY premieres all by young American composers.

The barbershop has long been a place for conversations about life, politics and neighborhood gossip.

Now, there’s a group in Detroit using that forum to get kids to think about college. The effort is dubbed the Barbershop Chats, and it's gaining recognition for the way it engages young African American boys and men.

Cold weather is here and that means an extra-challenging time for the homeless.

Melissa Golpe is with Covenant House Michigan. It's an organization that helps thousands of homeless kids in the Detroit area.

This Thursday night, they've invited business leaders to spend one night on the streets to raise money and feel what it's like to have no place to go as the temperature drops.

Golpe joined us today with 22-year old Steven Brown - a resident at Covenant House. 

Listen to our conversation with them below:


When you see people who are homeless, especially young people, it can be easy to make assumptions about their lives. At least that’s what Robert Sporny says.

And he says your assumptions about homeless youth are probably wrong. As a baby, he was adopted, and his childhood with his adopted family was difficult. 

There was alcoholism and abuse in the family. On the last day of high school, at age 17, Sporny decided to permanently leave the situation.

“And I got on my bicycle and basically rode all the way across town to a friend’s house," Sporny said.

Hunter Gandee will go for a walk this weekend.

That might not seem noteworthy. You might be planning on doing the same.

But starting Saturday morning, the 14-year-old from Temperance plans to walk 40 miles, from his home to the University of Michigan campus, carrying his 7-year-old brother, Braden, on his back the entire way.

Braden has cerebral palsy, and his walker doesn't move well on grass, sandy areas or in crowds.

Hunter isn't walking to raise money, but to focus attention on the problem of mobility for kids with special needs.

*Listen to our conversation with Hunter above.

A new report is raising questions about how Michigan's child welfare system treats minorities.

The report finds African-Americans, Latinos, and Native American children are more likely than white children to be removed from their homes.  

Minorities are also twice as likely to age out of the foster care system as whites.

Former State Rep. Lynn Jondahl is one of the co-chairs of the Michigan Race Equity Coalition.  

Sara Hoover

The Traverse Bay Blues have been the high school state champions for the past four years. The girls rugby team hopes to defend its title when the season kicks off this Saturday, April 5, despite the fact that two-thirds of this year’s team has never played the sport before.

The gym at Traverse City High School is full of rugby players getting ready to head outside for practice. Members of the club team are tying their cleats and putting on thermals and jackets. Head coach Stephanie Kehrer is taking them outside for their first tackling practice.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

Governor Rick Snyder says he wants electronic cigarettes to be regulated in Michigan as tobacco products. E-cigarettes deliver a dose of nicotine to users in a mist. There is a bill in the Legislature to ban e-cigarette sales to minors, but would not tax them like cigarettes or subject them to other tobacco-related regulations.

 The governor says it makes more sense to simply treat them as a tobacco product.

It could soon be illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to children in Michigan. The state Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday meant to keep the smokeless devices out of the hands of minors (Senate Bills 667 & 668).

So-called “e-cigarettes” deliver a nicotine-laced vapor, but don’t contain tobacco. That means the state cannot currently regulate them along with regular cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Gov. Snyder Seeks Foster Care Payment Reform

Feb 27, 2014
Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

Governor Rick Snyder says the state could do a better job protecting foster children if it changed the way it paid for the service.

The governor unveiled a report Thursday that says the state should pay foster care agencies based on their performance. Right now, those agencies all get paid the same regardless of their track records or the needs of individual foster children.

The Status Woe / The Status Woe

Last week in Benzie County Circuit Court, Kelli Stapleton pleaded “not guilty” to attempted murder. Police allege she tried to kill her 14-year-old, autistic daughter Isabelle in a murder-suicide attempt.

The case moves slowly though court, but it quickly raised sharp debate among people who live with disabilities like autism.

TC Students Launch Experiment Into Space

Jan 15, 2014
Traverse City Area Public Schools

Northern Michigan high school students have had their work launched into space on Sunday. NASA astronauts will conduct their experiment on the International Space Station.

Three Traverse City West High School students won a contest.

Haley Dole, a junior, was one of the three students who created the experiment.

“It was surprising at first,” Haley said. “I didn’t expect it at all because there were a lot of kids in the contest. And then, it was really exciting.”

Prison fence.
WFIU Public Radio/Flickr

The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether more than 300 inmates sentenced to life without parole for murders committed while they were juveniles are entitled to parole hearings.

Traverse City's "Gun Safe Mom"

Dec 21, 2012

With every school shooting, Missy Smith is reminded of the tragedy her own family once suffered at the hands of a child with a gun. Her 12-year-old brother was shot and killed decades ago while visiting the home of a classmate.

Years later, as a new mom in Traverse City, Smith was uncomfortable sending her children to play in homes where guns were left unlocked. But there was an irony; Smith had married into a hunting family and there were unlocked firearms in her own home. She left gun safety to her husband at first.

The Blues Just Can't Be Beat

May 23, 2012

The Blues haven't lost a game in 3 years. And scores like 40, 50 or 60 to nothing aren't unusual. Jim Kehrer and his wife coach the Blues. Jim says that the Blues are drilled – and drilled hard – in the basics of rugby. And that they're relentless in moving the ball.

Jim says, “And the other team, you’ll see them just crumble, they’ll keep the pace for a little bit but they get so frustrated that they’re not able to do anything. They never give them a chance to breathe, never give them a chance to get any space and they eventually just crack.”