Media Center

Youth Mental Health & Wellness – a Town Hall for Parents

The Community Alliance 4 Youth Success is hosting a town hall meeting for parents about Youth Mental Health and Wellness. The town hall is free to the public and will be held on Tuesday, October 4, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., at the MidMichigan Medical Center’s Towsley Auditorium. This event coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week, which is the first full week of October. The town hall was prompted by findings of the 2016 Midland County Youth Study conducted by The Legacy Center, which indicated an increase in risk-taking behaviors of depression, suicide attempts and eating disorders among 6th – 12th graders. In the same study, students also reported decreases in Developmental Assets related to Positive Identity, including personal power, self-esteem, sense of purpose, and positive view of personal future. Panelists for the town hall include Sharon Mudd, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, University of Michigan Depression Center; Kim Sumerix, Youth Services Coordinator/Outpatient Therapist, Family and Children’s Services; and Jackie Warner, Youth Intervention Specialist, Community Mental Health for Central Michigan and 42nd Circuit Court, Family Division. “Our goal is to give parents the knowledge and tools they need to support their children, identify problems early on and find the resources they need right here in our community,” says Jennifer Heronema, President and Chief Executive of The Legacy Center. About Community Alliance 4 Youth Success The Community Alliance 4 Youth Success, an affiliate of The Legacy Center, is a group of local community leaders who are focused on preventing teen substance abuse. Preventing alcohol, marijuana and other drug use is no easy task, but the coalition has demonstrated that when all sectors of the community come together, social change happens. For more information, visit the coalition website at More details about Developmental Assets can be found on The Legacy Center website at

The Legacy Center Celebrates World Literacy Day with Prize Giveaways

In celebration of World Literacy Day, September 8th, The Legacy Center held a Kindle Prize Giveaway Event for learners and tutors. The Kindle products were donated by CPI Fluid Engineering, a local division of the Lubrizol Corporation, in memory of their employee, Nicholas J. Sperry. Participants were asked to submit a statement describing what they liked best about tutoring with The Legacy Center. Several tutors and learners participated in the random drawing. Cindy Bozkaya, an English as a Second Language learner, won a Kindle Paperwhite. She said the staff and volunteer tutors have helped her improve her English fluency and math skills, which has helped her make progress in school. Dawson Willis, a Barton Reading and Spelling learner, won a Kindle FIRE Kid’s Edition. He said that his tutor is helping him learn to read, he’s having fun and he can now read by himself! Aimee Kopiwada, who has been a volunteer tutor for nearly eight years, won a two-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited. When asked about what she likes best, she said it warms her heart to see a young person, who has been struggling to read, begin to relax and enjoy reading. The Legacy Center turns the dream of being able to read and understand language into a reality for adults and children alike. We provide free and confidential tutoring in reading, spelling, math and English as a Second Language so that people of all ages can reach their full potential. Call us today at (989) 496-1425 to learn more about our programs or how to become a volunteer tutor.  

Community Alliance 4 Youth Success Hosts Marijuana Town Hall Meeting

The Community Alliance 4 Youth Success is hosting a Marijuana Town Hall Meeting with special guest Kevin Sabet, PhD, former drug policy advisor to the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. The event will take place at the H Hotel on Nov. 18, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. The event is free, but registration is required. The first 25 registrants will receive a free copy of Sabet’s book, “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana.” Register today at “With so much misinformation about marijuana on the internet and television, we wanted to make sure parents were informed about today’s marijuana, the forces behind the legalization effort, and how frequent use could affect their teen in the short and long term,” says Jennifer Heronema, president and CEO of The Legacy Center. “We are pleased to bring someone with Dr. Sabet’s knowledge and expertise to Midland to speak with parents and answer their questions directly.” Sabet has nearly 18 years of experience researching and writing about drug policy, drug markets, drug prevention, drug treatment, criminal justice policy, addiction, and public policy analysis. In 2013, Sabet co-founded, with former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), which advocates for an approach to marijuana policy that is focused neither on incarceration nor legalization – but on health, prevention, treatment, recovery, and public safety. Sabet has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and in virtually every top media publication and news channel.

New Online Resource for Parents of Midland Tweens/Teens

Today, The Legacy Center launched a new website to support the prevention efforts of the Community Alliance 4 Youth Success (Coalition). The website – – will serve as a useful tool for parents of 6th through 12th graders who want to learn more about Developmental Assets, as well as emerging alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug trends in Midland County. “There is a significant amount of misinformation on the internet and television about these substances – especially marijuana,” says Jennifer Heronema, coalition director and president of The Legacy Center. “We want parents to have a place where they can read about the latest trends, learn about the risks (short and long term) and gain access to tools that will help them encourage their child to make positive life choices and avoid risky behavior.” As visitors review the site, they will find information about: Developmental Assets – What they are and how to instill them Alcohol, Marijuana and Prescription Drugs – Appearance, Impact and Resources Dump Your Drugs! – Dates for Collection of Unused/Expired Prescription Drugs Town Hall Meetings – Marijuana, Alcohol and Social Media About Us/Get Involved – The Coalition and Youth Committee Get Help – Support for parents who think their child might have a problem In addition to the items listed above, the website will host a number of blog-type articles to keep parents informed (e.g. why kids use drugs, drugs and brain development, tips for talking with your child if you suspect drug use, teens and social media, and drugged driving.) Parents are encouraged to submit questions via email, and staff will work with local officials to get answers and post updates to the site. The Community Calendar is, perhaps, the most exciting feature of the site. The calendar is designed to allow youth-serving organizations to quickly […]

Thanks for Your Support

On March 4, The Legacy Center for Community Success hosted our annual fundraiser – the World’s Greatest Mardi Gras Feast – at the Great Hall Banquet & Convention Center. For 2-1/2 hours, a sold-out crowd of more than 400 people sampled culinary delights from the area’s finest restaurants and food programs. This was the most successful fundraiser we’ve hosted, and we have a lot of people to thank. We would like to begin by extending a heartfelt thanks to Honorary Chairs Neil & Annmarie Hawkins. They took their roles seriously and were able to reach out to their friends and colleagues and introduce them to The Legacy Center. Thank you to the Corporate Sponsors who helped boost the fundraising for this event, including Presenting Sponsors: Midland Daily News and The Dow Chemical Company; Leadership Sponsors: Chemical Bank and Dow Corning Corporation; Supporting Sponsor: Roth Cleaners; and Community Sponsors: B+B Marketing Communications, Delta College, First Merit Bank, Garber Chevrolet, Midland Cogeneration Venture, MidMichigan Health, Northwood University, QRP, Saginaw Valley State University, Wilson Law Office, P.C. and Yeo & Yeo CPAs. Thank you to the Culinary Sponsors who provided the most amazing food, including:  Doves Chocolate Discoveries, Grand Traverse Pie Co., Great Lakes Ice Cream Co., Great Lakes Loons, Hamilton Pastries, Heather ’n Holly, LaLondes Market, Medius Terra Ristorante, Northwood University Catering by Sodexo, Peel ’n Pare, Shari at the Willard Hillton, The Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe, The H Hotel, Timbers Bistro & Bakery, and Windover High School Culinary Art Students. Thank you to the ladies of the Zonta Club of Midland for their help with the Photo Booth and to Boy Scout Troop 768 (St. Brigid Church), who operated the coat check and donated their tips ($430) to The Legacy Center. Thank you to Roth Cleaners and Eastman Party Store for selling […]

The Legacy Center Brings Mardi Gras Fun to Midland

MIDLAND, MICH. (February 11, 2014) – The Legacy Center for Community Success is hosting its annual fundraiser, the World’s Greatest Mardi Gras Feast, on March 4, 2014, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., at the Great Hall Banquet & Convention Center. This fundraiser comprises the best of TLC’s previous fundraiser – The World’s Greatest Dessert Party – and much, much more! “Most of us can’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, so we decided to bring the event to Midland,” says Jennifer Heronema, TLC’s president and chief executive officer. “We’ve been working hard to create an event that will appeal to a broader audience – not just those who love desserts!” The Kadenza Jazz Trio will set the mood as guests sample a selection of Mardi Gras-inspired entrees and desserts from 14 of the area’s finest restaurants. Some of the more noteworthy chefs participating in the event include Jeremy Lacreuse, pastry chef at The H Hotel; Tony Gojcaj, executive chef/owner of The Willow Tree Restaurant; and Shari Rae Smith, executive chef/owner of Shari at the Willard Hillton. There also will be a silent auction and limited cash bar. “The Legacy Center’s effort to reduce barriers to learning and development through its early childhood, literacy and youth programs has improved the outcomes for countless people in our community,” said Neil and Annmarie Hawkins, honorary chairs of the World’s Greatest Mardi Gras Feast. “We are honored to be part of this event, which will raise funds to sustain and accelerate these programs.” The TLC Board of Directors and Staff are humbled by the support local businesses have shown for the Mardi Gras Feast. Midland Daily News has signed on as Presenting Sponsor, Chemical Bank and Dow Corning as Leadership Sponsors, Roth Cleaners as Supporting Sponsor and 10 more organizations as Community […]

Midland Attorney appointed Director, Michigan School Justice-Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Midland Attorney appointed Director, Michigan School Justice-Partnership MIDLAND MI (January 16, 2014) – The Legacy Center for Community Success announced today that Midland attorney, Angela M. Cole, has been appointed Director of the Michigan School-Justice Partnership project. The role was made possible through a $100,000 grant to The Legacy Center from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. In this role, Cole will lead a statewide effort to reduce the “school to prison pipeline” in Michigan. “We are fortunate to have a person of Angela’s experience and background leading this effort,” said Jennifer Heronema, President and CEO of The Legacy Center. “She will be able to identify evidence-based models and best practices and rapidly disseminate them across the statewide network resulting in a broad collective impact.” A two-day summit was recently held in Ann Arbor of experts on juvenile justice, law enforcement,  juvenile judges, education, mental health, social services and other youth serving agencies across Michigan. Participants from 73 counties heard national and state speakers including Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan Supreme Court Justices Mary Beth Kelly and Bridget M. McCormack, Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan, and Department of Education Superintendent Michael Flanagan. Dorene S. Allen, Midland County Probate and Juvenile Judge, the summit chair, indicated that “kids who are suspended or expelled are more likely to drop out altogether, and when they drop out, the likelihood that they’ll get involved in some kind of criminal activity increases dramatically. The statistics are chilling; of Michigan prisoners, 49 percent do not have a high school diploma or a GED. This pattern is so common it is being called the ‘school to prison pipeline’.” The summit developed a three-year “Michigan School-Justice Partnership” plan with three objectives; keeping kids in school, achieving higher graduation rates, and reducing delinquency. […]

Developmental Assets Immunize Youth Against Risky Behaviors

“A stitch in time saves nine.” “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” These are but two of many familiar adages regarding the value of prevention over treatment. Most of us organize many of our daily activities and habits around this concept. For example, we brush our teeth to avoid cavities, change oil in our cars to avoid costly engine repairs, and become immunized against many formerly crippling or even fatal diseases such as Polio, Yellow Fever, Typhus and the like. But can a teenager be “immunized” against risk-taking behaviors? This intriguing possibility arose from a 2006 study conducted by The Legacy Center for Community Success (TLC) using the concept of Developmental Assets originated by the Minneapolis-based Search Institute. Developmental Assets are a series of 40 positive character traits or qualities that all adolescents should possess. Twenty of them are defined as External in that they describe a youth’s relationships with family, school, community and the like. The remaining 20 are said to be Internal in that they portray intrinsic qualities such as honesty, self-esteem, integrity, etc. In the 2006 study, TLC found that the more Developmental Assets teens possess, the fewer the number of risk-taking behaviors in which they participate. As indicated in Figure 1, teens with 31-40 Assets participated in fewer than one of the 24 risk-taking behaviors studied. At the other end of the spectrum, youth with 0-10 Assets were involved in an average of 8.8 risk-taking behaviors. These intriguing results strongly suggested that if teens were instilled with the Developmental Assets they become essentially “immune” from risk-taking behaviors. This “immunization” idea was all the more interesting because extensive research indicates that the conventional strategy of trying to curb risky behaviors by speaking to their negative consequences is not very effective. The gains from […]

Preschool Tool Totes Bridge Learning Gaps for At-Risk Kids

        Pediatric brain research indicates that 80-85% of a child’s neural network for cognitive learning is “hard-wired” and in place by age 6. This neural network development occurs through cognitive stimulation of the child through activities such as reading, coloring pictures, etc. Beyond age 6, the brain’s neurons that are not linked into this network are slowly reabsorbed by the body as it shifts its focus to physical growth and development. Children who do not experience such stimulation exhibit a reduced capacity for learning. Related research on kindergarten readiness indicates that children from economically disadvantaged families exhibit the greatest gaps in their school readiness skills. Unfortunately, many preschool children from economically disadvantaged environments are denied an opportunity to develop their cognitive skills owing to a lack of learning supplies, as well as information for parents about how to promote their learning and derivatively, brain development. This problem is especially acute in urban areas where the demographics indicate that in addition to grinding poverty, other variables contribute to poor learning outcomes such as single parent families, low birth weights, teenage mothers, crime, etc. As a consequence, children from these environments arrive at school woefully unprepared for kindergarten. Furthermore, the brain research referred to previously tragically indicates that these unprepared children are in a severe deficit-learning situation from which it is almost impossible to recover. The Legacy Center for Community Success (TLC) has developed a Preschool Tool Tote (PTT) program to address this problem. PTTs are a series of four canvas tote bags filled with various preschool learning supplies such as books to read, crayons, coloring books, construction paper, marker pens, etc. that are designed to stimulate neural network development among economically disadvantaged children. In addition to the supplies, PTTs contain an easy to use parent’s guide (actually a […]