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Today in Lansing: Help Michigan’s foster youth at the Pizza Party on the Capitol Lawn Aug. 9


Pizza Party on the Capitol Lawn

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

$5 ticket (includes pizza and ice cream)

Capitol Building 100 N. Capitol Ave.

Click here for event page

Hungry to make a difference in the community? The seventh annual Pizza Party on the Capitol Lawn for Michigan is raising money for foster children by hosting a fundraiser with pizza donated by Hungry Howie’s, ice cream and raffles.

“This event helps increase awareness of foster youth and the challenges they face,” said Robin Lott, executive director of Michigan Education Trust and the Michigan Education Savings Program.

“It has grown a little bit every year, and we encourage people to go online and donate. That is what we are trying to do: Get awareness of people less fortunate and help them out.”

Lott said the public should know life in foster care can be traumatic and have long lasting effects on a child.

“It is not fair to be faced with those challenges, and not have something encouraging, or motivating — especially when it is to get into a higher education or trade program,” said Lott.

There are tough statistics on foster youth and higher education in Michigan.

According to Lott, 75 percent of children have a desire to attend college, but only 10 percent go to college, with 3 percent graduating.

“They don't have family when the campus closes on holidays, and they won't come back to school to graduate,” Lott said.

Schools are implementing programs to alleviate this, said Lott.

“We do have 16 colleges and universities that have created campus coach programs. They partner them up with a mentor they can call 24/7 for any issues, and we’ve seen the graduation statistics increase with these students.”

Funding from this event will go toward scholarships that can be used on tuition, room and board, books and school supplies, said Lott.

This event also benefits the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative, or MYOI, pillow drive. MYOI is seeking 300 new standard size pillows and pillow cases to help provide a safe and secure place for future foster care youth, according to its website.

MYOI is unique, because it involves former foster children giving back to the youth, said Lott.

“They get together and decorate pillowcases with messages of hope and encouragement, and give them to case workers who take them into foster care,” said Lott. “They can give them a pillow and source of comfort when taken away to a foreign environment.”

Pillow cases and cash donations are a great way to help MYOI, said Lott. Lott also reinforced there’s no age cap on scholarships opportunities for foster youth.

“At age 30 you could decide to have a career. We don't want to deter from doing something positive for your life,” Lott said. “Higher education is the key to all good things in society. It leaves less time for a person to not be productive.”

Today in Lansing:

Pop Art Your Selfie

6:30 to 9:30 p.m., $35, Painting With a Twist, 580 Frandor Ave., Lansing

An Evening with Laurell K. Hamilton

7 to 9 p.m., $32, Schuler Books & Music, 1982 W. Grand River Ave., Ste 715, Okemos

West Grand River Clean Up Project

6 to 8 p.m., Old Town, 1232 Turner St., Lansing


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