October Newsletter

October 2019

We The People Opportunity Center

Message from The Director

Greetings WTPOC Community,

We The People Opportunity Center has seen many evolutions this past year. Here’s a brief recap of our history to bring you up to date. For the past three years our partnership with Grace Fellowship Church and the Community Family Life Center (CFLC) in Ypsilanti Township has provided fertile ground for our organization to grow and flourish. Although we were unable to secure the former Kettering Elementary School from Ypsilanti Community Schools as a future site, we’ve still gone from being  a community garden to ‘growing into’ a relatively small urban farm. This most recent season WTPOC provided fresh vegetables to nearly twenty partner organizations in our community. Our farm business is morphing into a vision for a nonprofit Opportunity Center where men and women returning from prison (or jail) can find hands-on training and stable jobs as they begin to restart their lives at home. I personally know how empowering it is to earn a living and contribute meaningfully to the community one lives in, and WTPOC is being developed to extend those opportunities to many others.  

In the last few months we’ve added new folks to our Board with a focus on creating internal financial and operational systems while re-tooling the returning citizens program. WTPOC is greatly appreciative of all the former board members contributed to creating a solid financial and programmatic foundation. We are committed to maximizing our impact and ensuring a stable plan that fits our vision for the future. Part of our internal capacity building involves a three-year strategic planning process to identify a long-term home for our farm and program operations that can grow in order to deliver on our mission, vision and strategic goals. We couldn’t have accomplished what we have without the support of many, including you, and we hope you will continue to be a member of the WTPOC community. Please join us at our Third Annual Harvest Festival of Thanks (details below) so I can thank you in person!  

With appreciation,

Melvin Parson

Catalytic Investment Award


Just wanna share a quick update with everyone!! AND give a BIG THANKS to Michigan Good Food Fund!!❤️ We the People Growers Association is a recipient of their Catalytic Investment Award!

Wanna also thank some of our other valuable community partners who have made a monetary “seed investment” in our work: Saint Joseph Mercy Health SystemUnited Way of Washtenaw County and Zingerman’s!👏🏾❤️ Thank you for your belief in the work!!

#BREAKING: We’ve earned a $25,000 award from the @MIGoodFoodFund to increase access to healthy food in Michigan. These awards are supporting businesses like ours that are catalysts in their communities: increasing healthy food access and sparking economic opportunity. Congrats to all supported projects!



2018 Harvest Festival of Thanks

The 2018 Harvest Festival of Thanks was a huge success!!

First I wanna thank Lindsey Jene Scalera for jumping in on short notice in the absence of our planned photographer!! Thanks Lindsey!…Job well done!!❤️

Also wanna thank and give LOVE to our planning team!!!…The job(s) they wonderful and were a testament to why the event was incredible on some many levels!❤️.
Thank you Yodit Mesfin Johnson❤️. Thank you Cathleen Haglund❤️. Thank you Sharman Spieser❤️. Thank you Peggy Cole❤️. Thank you Marcy Hoopingarner❤️. And last, but not least, Thank you Sarah Teare❤️.

Also I must thank the AMAZING volunteers!!! Without them there would have been complete chaos & helter skelter!!….

Thus a BIG shoutout goes to: Marie Davenport, Meija Knafl, April Renee, Alex Bennett, Sophia Sendo, Anna Lemler, Maren Spolum, Tyler Duncan, Hannah Crisler, Allie Criscenti, Carla Simmons, Jen Sopoci, Dara Thomson and Sandra Butler!!!! ❤️❤️❤️ I realize I’m potentially missing a couple of folks, so please forgive me!…Hey! I’m 54 years of age!

I also wanna give a BIG thank you to Emmanuel Jones and his organization, Mentor2Youth Inc.!❤️ AND to Lisa Voelker, Marisa Dluge and Riverside Arts Center | Ypsilanti, MI for providing both fun & engaging youth activities!❤️🎉

Again, I hope that everyone who was able to join us had a good time and that you enjoyed the event just as we enjoyed having you there!!❤️

I can’t wait till next year!!

Please enjoy the pictures!