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Wayne Metro Empowers Children And Families To Read

Wayne Metro Empowers Children and Families to Read

On March 9, 2018, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency distributed over 3,000 new books in an effort to encourage literacy, storytelling and families learning together. The books were donated by The Molina Foundation as part of its Launch into Learning national literacy campaign, in collaboration with Community Action Agencies (CAAs) across the United States.

Wayne Metro is truly grateful for the books that have been received from The Molina Foundation.  “The impact of getting these new books into the homes of local families through this partnership will encourage literacy, said Louis D. Piszker, CEO of Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.  “We believe in empowering people and communities to be strong, healthy and thriving.”

The Molina Foundation, based in Southern California, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of reducing disparities in access to education and health. The Foundation is committed to helping close the 30 million “word gap,” the nationwide problem in learning levels between economically disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers.

Through the Launch into Learning campaign, The Molina Foundation has partnered with grantee CAAs, such as Wayne Metro to provide at-home learning opportunities, encourage story telling in everyday life, participate and engage in pleasure reading, as well as allowing readers to connect to the world through books and stories. To learn more about The Molina Foundation, visit their website at

Show Me The Money Day 2018 – Connecting The Community To Helpful Financial Resources

Show Me the Money Day 2018 – Connecting the Community to Helpful Financial Resources

Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro) and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) joined together to host two Show Me The Money Day events, which took place in Detroit, and Westland in late February.   Show Me The Money Day is an annual statewide effort that kicks off the tax season, as well as promotes financial stability.

Both events were a great success, and attendees had the opportunity to participate in free financial workshops, talk one-on-one with financial institutions and vendors, and receive free tax preparation information.  More than 100 people attended the two-day event, and some participants were able to meet with Wayne Metro’s tax experts to have their taxes prepared for free.

This year’s workshops focused on budgeting, couponing, funding college expenses, and how to maintain good credit.  Wayne Metro also offered a homebuyer orientation panel discussion, and throughout the day several raffle drawings took place.  Show Me The Money Day provided participants with a better understanding of the financial resources available in their communities and helped people to set obtainable financial goals.  Thank you to all of our partners and vendors who helped to make this event possible.  Stay tuned for information on next year’s Show Me the Money Day event!

Wayne Metro’s Vehicles For Change Program Helps Low-Income Detroit Families Gain Independence

Wayne Metro’s Vehicles for Change Program Helps Low-Income Detroit Families Gain Independence

For underserved populations residing in major cities around the country, a lack of safe and reliable transportation creates ongoing challenges that often keep people from gaining independence and reaching their full earning potential.  Low-income families that live in Metro Detroit, know first-hand that the lack of a family vehicle can hinder self-sufficiency. While many individuals do have options to increase income by increasing hours worked, vehicle ownership is not an option due to the burden on an already limited household income.

Safe and reliable transportation can be a game-changer as it creates an immediate path to better paying jobs and increases to annual salary.  In addition, instead of relying on an often unpredictable public transit system, a family can also transport their children to school and from school, medical appointments, and shop for groceries on a regular basis. This is often the greatest positive impact that Vehicles for Change clients report – the increase in quality and quantity of time together as a family.

According to local news reports, 25 percent of Detroit households do not own a vehicle and nearly 62 percent of people that do hold jobs are employed outside of City limits. Detroit residents who are employed outside City limits report their average daily commute time is 40 minutes.

For the past three years, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro) has been partnering with Vehicles for Change Inc. (VFC), which is a Baltimore-based nonprofit that empowers struggling families by providing them with low-cost, donated vehicles. Through this partnership, families that qualify for the program are learning how to better manage their finances, and achieve personal independence through vehicle ownership and financial coaching.  VFC offers a 12-month credit-builder loan to clients who would otherwise not qualify for a loan due to their income level, and credit history without the assistance of the program.  A major component of the program is that VFC repairs donated vehicles, and all vehicles carry a six  month, 6,000 mile warranty.  The program also creates affordable monthly payments that range from $85-$95, and the client must make their own payments.

In an effort to ensure that clients will be able to handle the responsibility of owning and maintaining a vehicle, they are required to go through an orientation process and assessment, as well as attend workshops.  The client must also understand the importance of the Transfer of Title process.  Before the title is transferred, the client is educated on the importance of financial budgeting, maintaining good credit, and how to save money.  After the title is transferred, the client will work directly with a dedicated Financial Coach once a month.  For future transportation expenses such as oil changes, gas, insurance, vehicle registration, clients are required to make a monthly deposit into a savings account.

Once the client pays off the loan, which is referred to as a graduation, the individual completes an exit survey.  For ongoing support, clients have the opportunity to work with Wayne Metro Financial Empowerment Service programs to further their savings and credit building behaviors. Vehicles For Change has made a deep impact within the lives of people that once thought owning a vehicle would be impossible, due to their economic status.  Wayne Metro has  awarded a total of 58 vehicles to clients who noted that transportation was a barrier, and the program creates the perfect opportunity to help individuals build a strong family unit, gain their independence, and contribute positively to their own communities.

To receive additional information about Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency’s Vehicles for Change Program, please visit or call (313) 388-9799.

2018 MLK Day Of Service A Huge Success

2018 MLK Day of Service A Huge Success

While many see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a “day off,” Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro) sees it as a “day on.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.

On January 15, 2018, over 100 volunteers embodied Dr. King’s words and joined Wayne Metro  Community Corps at the Cortland Community Impact Center in Highland Park for a Day of Service. The Day of Service was coordinated by the Wayne Metro Community Corps, with the support of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Volunteers from teamGM Cares, Playworks Michigan, Cass Tech National Honor Society, AmeriCorps, Out-Wayne County Homeless Services Coalition, Lambda Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and community members packaged over 300 warming and hygiene kits for the homeless within Wayne County. Volunteers cleaned and organized 5 Head Start classrooms, spruced up the community clothing closet (Grandma’s Closet), and filled a 40 yard dumpster with broken furniture.

Baymont Inn & Suites Detroit Airport/Romulus, and Starfish Family Services in Inkster, Mich. donated hundreds of toothbrushes, soaps, shampoos and various toiletries to support the project.

Due to the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the Point-In-Team (PIT) Count Team was able to distribute the hygiene and warming kits, coats, blankets and resources to those in need on January 31st.  The PIT Team also participated in Wayne Metro’s annual count of individuals experiencing homelessness. The annual count not only helps to alleviate homelessness, this effort also assists with identifying the needs of individuals that require shelter.


Leap To Teach: Our New Head Start Apprenticeship Program

Leap to Teach: Our New Head Start Apprenticeship Program

Do you have a passion for helping children and making a difference in their lives? Does your love for learning get you excited about teaching? Have you thought about becoming an Early Childhood Professional?

Wayne Metro’s Leap to Teach program is an amazing opportunity to learn while you Earn!

Leap to Teach, Learn and Earn Apprenticeship Program, is a paid workforce development program. The program provides real-world experience in the field of Early Childhood Education and is designed to support and develop individuals interested in attaining the nationally recognized Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

Participants will:

  • Learn what it takes to become an Early Childhood Educational Professional
  • Complete 120 hours of on-site training
  • Obtain the required 480 hours of hands-on experience working with children in a center-based Wayne Metro Head Start classroom
  • Learn from an experienced early childhood mentor
  • Receive guidance through the credentialing process from a Workforce Development Coach

Participants will also receive a monthly stipend as well as access to supportive services and financial support to cover the cost of materials and the CDA application fee.

Additionally, participants can take advantage of the opportunity for direct placement into an entry-level Teaching Assistant position upon completion.

For more information and to apply, Click Here.

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Thank You For Helping Fund Two Giving Tuesday Campaigns!

Thank You for Helping Fund Two Giving Tuesday Campaigns!

Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving at the beginning of the holiday season.

#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.

Wayne Metro participated in Giving Tuesday by raising money on, a crowd sourcing website focused on helping classrooms get underfunded resources. We had not one, but two separate campaigns funded by people all over the United States!

Our two campaigns raised a total of $2,224! Each donation was matched by the PNC Grow Up Great Program. The PNC Grow Up Great Program provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community partners to enhance children’s learning and development, particularly in underserved communities.

Our campaigns centered around Special Needs preschool students in our Head Start and Early Head Start Programs. They work to overcome hearing and speech impairments and psycho-social disorders including ADHD, autism, and anxiety. Soon they are ready to thrive in kindergarten and beyond!

This money will go towards the purchase of calming and sensory aids like visual timers and weighted blankets to help students that have a hard time transitioning between activities and calming for rest.


Didn’t get a chance to donate to the campaign?

Donate to Wayne Metro directly and your donation will go to people in need right here in Wayne County.



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2017 Empowerment Award: Eraca Lilly

2017 Empowerment Award: Eraca Lilly

Eraca Lily offers Wayne Metro clients a friendly voice and warm spirit as an Information and Referral Specialist at Wayne Metro’s CONNECT Call Center. They often request her by name when they call. Eraca is an advocate, sharer of knowledge, and cheerleader for Wayne County. Eraca spends her days collecting and providing information. She is professional and proficient in her role. She is a pleasure to work with and she lives the Agency’s mission and applies our guiding principles to her work each day. Yet, it wasn’t that long ago that Eraca was on the other side of the phone.

A resident of River Rouge and single mother, Eraca first came to Wayne Metro through the HUD ROSS Program – a program that provides supportive and housing services to City of River Rouge residents. Once she started with her work in the program, Eraca was unstoppable. A woman on a mission, she began taking computer and credit building courses and before long began volunteering and supporting her fellow residents.

When a part-time position opened up, Eraca was hired to be the HUD ROSS Program Assistant. She became a connector, working for her neighbors bringing information and opportunities to her community. In a very short time, Eraca’s hard work would be rewarded once again. In January of 2016. Eraca transitioned from part-time to full-time employment and a brand new title as a Wayne Metro CONNECT Center Information and Referral Specialist.

Eraca remarks that for people who receive public assistance, it can be a struggle. When you get a job with steady employment, state benefits go away and the new challenge is working to make ends meat. Eraca says she is happy being part of the Wayne Metro team and enjoys the peace of mind that comes knowing that her employment is secure, her wages are steady, she has healthcare, and is on her way to saving for retirement.

“I am empowered to be great, to be a role model for my son, and to grow with this Agency.”
– Eraca Lilly, River Rouge Resident

Hear Eraca’s story in her own words


2017 Empowerment Award: Sharronda Priestly

2017 Empowerment Award: Sharronda Priestly

Sharronda Priestly has big plans and hopes for herself and her family. A single mother of two, she first came to Wayne Metro feeling ready to purchase her first home, but soon realized that her path to homeownership was going to take a lot of work, time, and help from trained professionals who care.

The very first obstacle was Sharronda’s debt to income ratio which was higher than a mortgage lender would accept. She began working with a Wayne Metro financial coach and paying down her debt and credit cards while sticking to her goal to save, save, save! She enrolled in Wayne Metro’s IDA Matched Savings Program, putting in $1,000 of her own money, and receiving $4,000 in matched funding in just seven months!

Sharronda would experience other setbacks along the way, from a car accident that stalled her savings, to a cut in hours at work that decreased her monthly income. Yet, she powered through and after three years was ready to begin homeownership counseling and education classes.

With Wayne Metro’s guidance, Sharronda qualified for homebuyer assistance through the Detroit LIFT program which offers first time homebuyers up to $15,000 toward their down payment. She was approved for a mortgage with Huntington Bank and chose to purchase a home through the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

Sharronda tells us, “I am a happy homeowner, and proud of where I live and that my children have a home to grow up in.” She is proud of where she is today, and how hard she has worked and in her ability to provide a safe home for her two daughters (and their friends) to play and grow.

Today Sharronda is still working with Wayne Metro to save. She is saving for small home projects, a family vacation, and maintaining a rainy day fund for emergencies.

“I am empowered to be a great mother, to be the best homeowner and to be debt free.”
– Sharronda Priestly, Detroit Resident

Hear Sharronda’s story in her own words


2017 Empowerment Award: Denzel Donald

2017 Empowerment Award: Denzel Donald

Denzel Donald is a proud and spirited Detroiter who has accomplished a great deal in his young age of 25. A passionate and talented Opera singer, he has traveled to Panama, Africa and Italy to perform for audiences around the world. He writes his own music and studied at Wayne State University’s School of Music.

When Denzel inherited a home on Detroit’s northside from a family member, he quickly found out how much work can be required to turn a house into a home. While the bones of the house were solid, the house had significant issues affecting Denzel’s budget each month.

Denzel first came to Wayne Metro when his water bill climbed to more than $2,400 when a pipe burst. He braved the elements to attend a water assistance fair at a DWSD service center and was disheartened when he saw the long line of people wrapped around the building. He chose to wait, and hope, and see if he was eligible for assistance and is glad he did because he was enrolled that day in the Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP). The WRAP program gave Denzel the lift he needed to get help with monthly bill payment, paying down past due arrears and making home repairs.

Denzel says he found the WRAP program water audit one of the most valuable parts of the program. He was impressed with the team who gave him ideas and strategies for simple fixes that made a big impact like changing out faucets and replacing shower heads with water efficient ones. WRAP also paid to fix the broken pipe. Denzel is now a mindful, committed conserver of water. He is able to perform basic upgrades in his home and tells us that through WRAP, his monthly bill has decreased from $300 a month to a manageable $50 a month.

Denzel says, “The program and people at Wayne Metro are a financial and educational blessing. They truly care about the people they help.”

“I am empowered to be a smart homeowner, and to help others find their way to this program.”
– Denzel Donald, Detroit Resident

Hear Denzel’s story in his own words


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