Community Resource Fair Offered Opportunity to Connect with Parents

Written by Cassandra Burton, Denby High School Success Coach, Detroit, Michigan

When you ask Cassandra Burton, Success Coach at Denby High School in Detroit, Michigan, about the community health/resource fair she organized last summer, she can't hide how happy she is with the outcome. "Our community health/resource fair was a huge success! It was one of the largest events that I have ever organized," said Ms. Burton in a success story recap.

Over 100 parents attended with their children and community partners were everywhere. The Parent Network provided bouncy houses and carnivals games, which were a huge hit among younger siblings. The St. John's School-based Health Clinic performed onsite screenings. Gleaners distributed food and Michigan Works! gave out job leads. There were also several other community partners passing out information. Ms. Burton's fair was a huge success because parents received great resources and she was able to promote Pathways to Potential. "It provided me a great opportunity to meet the parents of the incoming freshman class," explained Ms. Burton.

 When asked what motivated her to organize such a fair, Ms. Burton shared a quote that was given to her by an English teacher at Denby High School:

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." – Thomas Jefferson

"This quote is relevant within the urban community, and furthermore within Denby High school," she stated.

Cassandra Burton and Denby High School Principal 

"The community fair was necessary because students aren't informed about the various resources that are available to them, so how can their parents be? It is my job as a representative of DHS to spread the word about resources that can enhance the progression of student learning, parent involvement, and staff participation," stated, Burton.

The students and parents at Denby High school are extremely appreciative for the resources they received. Teachers and administrators assured their students and their families that additional help with food, counseling, and health benefits would be met and Ms. Burton and her team didn't let them down.

This article is one of a series highlighting community partners working with DHS to improve attendance in Michigan schools. Through Pathways to Potential, Department of Human Services has placed success coaches and other employees in over 200 schools across the state. These people work one-on-one with families to identify and remove barriers to children attending school. We are always looking for new partners, volunteers and donors. Visit www.michigan.gov/pathwaystopotential to learn how you can get involved.