Adopting Osborn High Schools Was No-Brainer for Area Church

When Lorraine Hurst, the community school coordinator for all three Osborn Academies, needed outerwear for students walking to school in freezing weather, she didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone.

“Meeting the needs of our students is not a problem because I know who to call,” said Ms. Hurst.  “When you know who will get the job done, it’s easy!”

Sample Needs List


Ms. Hurst’s go-to, make-it-happen colleague is Staci White, community service and outreach director for Perfecting Community Development Corporation, the non-profit service arm of Perfecting Church in Detroit.

Request for Assistance Results in Full Adoption of School

What started out as a plea for outerwear turned into what DHHS hopes will be the case for many Pathways to Potential schools – an adoption of the school by the church and participation in the Meet the Need project.

Meet the Need Project

Meet the Need is a web-based tool being piloted by four Pathways to Potential schools in Detroit and Flint.  The Meet the Need site provides access to a listing of thousands of items needed by students and families to succeed in school in the four pilot schools.  Once registered, churches, community members and organizations can review these needs to determine what they can donate and make arrangements for drop-offs.  Those who adopt a school can check back regularly to monitor new needs posted and make arrangements to donate.

Sample Needs List

“When Paula Sadler from the Office of Interagency Collaboration and Reengineering at DHHS contacted me to tell me about the entire Meet the Need project, I was excited because our church is in the proximity of Osborn, and we’re already in the school doing utility assistance through The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW),” Ms. White said, and “when she told me about adopting the school and making sure they had what they needed, it was a no-brainer for me.”

What was also a no-brainer for Ms. White was navigating the Meet the Need site. She reported being able to easily log in, see the need at Osborn and make arrangements to bring outerwear to Ms. Hurst.  Not one to take all the credit, she’s quick to point out that she didn’t do it alone.

“I can’t take full credit for this because I pulled in partners to help.  Gleaners Community Food Bank supplied hats and gloves,” Ms. White said. “Then, they put me in contact with Mittens for Detroit, which gave us more.  So, it’s not just Perfecting Church. It’s all our partners that we work with on a regular basis.  It’s just been great that we were all able to do this as quickly as it has been done.”

We at DHHS think Ms. White and Perfecting Church deserve a ton of credit for taking a leap of faith and participating in this new Pathways pilot project that is meeting the needs of Pathways to Potential families.  If you know an individual, church or organization that would be interested in learning more about the Meet the Need project, and/or partnering to adopt a school, please contact Paula Sandler at, 313-456-0057 or email Together, we can meet the needs of Michigan families and help all kids reach their potential.  

This article is one of a series highlighting community partners working with DHHS to improve attendance in schools across Michigan. Through Pathways to Potential, the Michigan Department of Health and 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 to learn how you can donate, partner or volunteer.