Keep up with the latest news about Washtenaw Promise and our network of partners in the community.

Our first annual Block Party at Fireman’s Park was a success! Why? Two reasons.

First, the kids had fun learning new things and demonstrated once again that they can do anything, be anything, and have no limits to what they can learn.

Secondly, our community is incredibly fortunate to have so many passionate and talented heroes who have dedicated their lives to the education and well-being of children and families.

When these things come together, there is always success to be found. We are so grateful to be a part of a community with all the promise that can be imagined, and more.

We would like to thank our planners and wonderful presenters…

Katie Watson, Washtenaw Promise and Beatty Early Learning Center
Amanda James-Bennett, Washtenaw Promise
Althea Wilson, Washtenaw Promise Board member and Head Start coach, WISD

Michael Wilson, veteran K-8 science and technology teacher and Rocketeer
Larry Biederman, veteran science teacher at all levels, and liquid nitrogen expert
Ruth Habrecht, Founder of Hutan and Bob-a-loo
TC Collins, owner, Willow Run Acres and gardening instructor extraordinaire
Scott Heister, Director of MiStem, WISD
Dan Schunck, Ypsilanti Community High School teacher, Grizzly Robotics guru, and his team
Carol and Jim McGrath, owners of Nature Discovery, reptile experts
Elizabeth Simon, PreK STEM program specialist, SAE International
Andrea Reynolds and her team, Hands On Museum
Libby Sheldon, early childhood specialist, Washtenaw Intermediate School District
Javon Jason, with Zumbini

…and our incredible community resource partners, contributors and great volunteers:

Mary Garbodin and her team from the Ypsilanti District Library
Kamilla Wilson from the Corner Heath
Charles Wilson, Washtenaw County Health Department
Rachel Carson and team, Ypsilanti Boy Scouts
Sentra Brownlee and Colleen Klaus, Trusted Parent Advisors Program
Amanda Crosby, Child Care Network
Jennifer Amburgey, My Community Dental Centers
Ginelle Skinner, Principal, and Stephanie Wilson, teacher, Beatty Early Learning Center
Rishi Narayan, Underground Printing
Shannon Baer, Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors
Collyer Smith and his team, Family Learning Institute
Damien Guyton, Wolfpack Cruiszers Ypsilanti Bicycle Club
Anthony Harbin, Washtenaw Promise Board Member
Michelle and Ben Mobius, dedicated students of the community
Marcy Schwab, parent, face-painter and partner, and Marly and Shy Anne
Connie Johnson, YCS cook extraordinaire
Nick Watson and the family
The Sheldon family
Nicole James and the kids

2021 and Beyond! The Future is Looking Bright for the WP Mission

2020 was a challenging year for so many people, with difficult sacrifices and losses due to covid. But the year also strengthened hope and resolve for a better world. Caring for those we love, and for those we hardly know, continue to define us and give shape to the future. 2020 brought us to new and stronger relationships, new skills and technologies, and a renewed sense of hope about our ability to solve problems and overcome adversity.

Our programs are moving forward, strong and sustainable, with an unwavering commitment to the future of every child.

For a look at the vibrant first three years of Washtenaw Promise, click here.


  • Our “Big Friends” preschool mentoring program continues into 2021 and beyond. This program has placed over 100 trained mentors one-on-one with preschool-aged children in Ypsilanti, in-person pre-covid, and online from 2020 to the present. Our strong and ever-growing network of volunteers comes through partnerships with the University of Michigan, Concordia University, Eastern Michigan University, and our communities. Click here for more info and to volunteer.
  • Over 100 book-readings and other educational videos, recorded by college and high school volunteers are now available here on our website.
  • Our “Act Me a Story” program is now producing videos of book readings by professional actors of color from around the country, in partnership with “PlayZoomers” of Boston, Mass. See the program here.
  • A 2021 $35K grant award from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund supports the learning-through-movement program, “Bob-a-loo”, allowing Ruth Habrecht and Washtenaw Promise to bring the program to Beatty Early Learning Center, Ford Early Learning Center, and BottlesNBackpacks Child Development Center. To learn more about Bob-a-loo, click here.

  • Our unique Teacher Wellness Program, addressing the stresses of preschool educators completed the first course with teachers from Beatty Early Learning Center. More to come!
  • Our Sponsorship of the “Imagination Library” in partnership with the Dolly Parton Foundation, is providing one book every month for over 800 children in the Ypsilanti community under the age of five.
  • In partnership with Willow Run Acres, we are now supporting the development of the Watch Me Grow Community Gardens at Apple Ridge Park. To learn more, click here.
  • As fiduciary on a 2021 $10,000 grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics, we support the current development of an Anti-racism toolkit for preschools.
  • We have recently been honored with an invitation from Washtenaw Intermediate School District (“WISD”) to serve on the select committee to update the Community Needs Assessment for 2021, and we’re proud to serve earlier this year as the community representative on the self-assessment team to evaluate Early Head Start programs in Washtenaw County.

An important initiative for 2021 and beyond, includes our planning and design for a cradle-to-career STEAM education, family empowerment, and career opportunity facility for Ypsilanti communities with low access to resources. This facility is planned to include: unique opportunities for public school students to gain education in the technical fields which lead directly to quality jobs of today, as well as a family empowerment center that focuses and coordinates community resources, career technical education, and entrepreneurial opportunities. For two years, Washtenaw Promise has played a key role in the development of this idea, and we have great expectations for its’ future. More news coming soon.

Tim Wilson,
Founder and Executive Director