On Saturday, March 5, 2016, members of the community of Pontiac and Oakland University gathered together on an early Saturday morning to share the progress updates of the several initiatives that fell in the "sweet spot" that includes items to enforce both entities individual and wholly.
The Oakland University and Pontiac Initiative is a community-based initiative that brings together "Pontiac Moving Forward" - a plan to foster Pontiacs future, and Oakland Universities creation of a preeminent Metropolitan University. Amongst these two individual focuses, there is a "sweet spot" of commonality which is the group's core focus. Over a year ago the program has developed around 25 initiatives run be several organizations. At the quarterly update meeting, several groups gave the community their initiatives progress.
To give an example of the groups initiatives they include:
Highlights of the nearly 25 ideas the OU-Pontiac partnership is exploring include:
• Creating a parent-based action group designed to help parents become advocates for their children’s success.
• Establishing a pathway to OU for students of Pontiac schools.
• Spanish language translation to Pontiac High School by OU students.
• Creating college savings accounts for all Pontiac students with possible expansion to all Oakland County students.
• Coordinating a gathering of faith-based organizations to share strategies for working in urban areas.
• Creating a group comprised of individuals and organizations to clear blight and plant gardens.
• An annual bus tour of the city’s sights for faculty and staff; an annual event where students visit downtown Pontiac for a variety of activities for food, entertainment and sidewalk vendors.
Most impressive was the number of participants that included members from both communities. Some were there as their first meeting to hear about the projects and decide where to fit themselves into. While others were there to support and help connect with other organizations and participants to grow the projects on their plate. Seeing parents of young students in the Pontiac Schools make connections with mentor programs was a heartfelt scenario in which you got to see networking happen instantaneously to make sure that needs were connected to resources. As one gentleman who shared that his church group supporting young boys in their education, you saw mentor programs speak up and make sure that he and his boys knew about existing programs that could support him. Wheels were not reinvented, however you could feel the car being built and the community grow.
Downtown Pontiac was represented by several members of the Main Street Pontiac - Pontiac's Front Porch organization managing downtown Pontiac. Several of the initiatives are hosted in locations downtown to help facilitate both student and resident involvement including an upcoming Grizz Night later in March.
Each quarter the group continues to provide their updates and allow for others to make connections that support the initiatives of both organizations. The easiest way to get involved and stay informed is to sign up for the e-newsletter that comes out every two weeks consistently. To have your name added to the e-newsletter contact send an email to Tammye Stoves at firstname.lastname@example.org.