From Kevin’s Desk: Support When You Need It (02/16/18)

Dear Colleagues:

Happy Friday!

This week I had the great pleasure of visiting with our teammates who are the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office (FASCCO). Part of MHealthy, this group of dedicated professionals provides counseling and support services to all of us for many work/life situations and circumstances, such as dealing with job stress, financial concerns, and conflicts with family members or colleagues. They also organize internal support groups for new parents, staff returning to work from medical leave, and other topics. And, they provide 24/7 consulting services for managers who need advice on performance issues. What a wonderful and terrific resource! I am so grateful that this kind of support is available for our community. Please join me in thanking the FASCCO team for taking care of all of us – you guys ROCK!

Money concerns are a source of stress for so many people, but for some they are a daily struggle. It is shocking and disheartening to know that poverty is so prevalent across our country, one of the richest on the planet. Our colleagues at the Shared Services Center (SSC) recently invited U-M professor Luke Shaefer to talk about his groundbreaking book $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America at an event organized by the SSC Diversity Task Force. Professor Shaefer is also the founding director of the university’s Poverty Solutions initiative, which is a multidisciplinary effort to develop new strategies for preventing and alleviating poverty. You can read more about Shaefer’s talk and the DEI-related work happening at the SSC on our website.

The Poverty Solutions initiative is one of the many ways that the University of Michigan is trying to change the world for the better. One specific program they have created is the U-M’s Summer Youth Employment Program. Last year, many teams across B&F provided paid summer internships for youth from underserved communities in Washtenaw County. This year, the Poverty Solutions initiative is seeking to expand the program and serve even more kids. You can learn more by watching this video or visiting the program website. This program is but one way for each of us to support our community and participate in the front-line work of our university.

It’s warmer this weekend. Could spring be on the horizon? Well, I’m not going to suggest winter is gone just yet. Let’s just enjoy a break in the weather while we can!

With much appreciation and gratitude,

Kevin