CanDo! General Meeting Focuses On Basic Needs In March

CanDo! believes that, in our community, anything is possible. Its diverse, welcoming membership creates an environment that awakens the imagination and invigorates a spirit of collaboration and generosity among community members, youth, entrepreneurs and leaders to transform the wonder of small town possibilities into realities. Its goal is to create a space to inspire everyone to engage with the community in an intentional way, to ignite action to create positive community experiences, and to celebrate results.

CanDo! will host its next general membership meeting on Wednesday, March 27 at 7:00am at the Charlotte Community Library. All community members are welcome.

This month, the meeting will focus on basic needs in the community, and will include panelists Denise Cornelius.  Denise is the Executive Director of Housing Services Mid-Michigan where she has serviced nearly 20 years.  She has championed many projects in the region, including bringing more than 100 new Mainstream Vouchers for the disabled, partnering with developers to increase affordable housing options in the County. Denise will be speaking about prevention of homelessness, homelessness, and foreclosure along with special housing options.

In addition to Denise Cornelius, the panel will include Kalli Dempsey.  Kalli has a BA in Family Life Education and is currently working as a Social Worker at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital. Kalli has a vast amount of experience working with low income and high-risk families.  She previously worked as a Case Manager at Housing Services of Eaton County and has experience working with children as well as assisting parents in crisis situations.  Kalli will be discussing how basic needs are met by the food bank within the community. She will discuss who qualifies for services and what they may expect when they visit the Food Panty each month for assistance.

The panel is sure to generate excellent discussion, and the more community members attend, the larger the impact on Charlotte.

CanDo! To Focus On Youth Health And Wellness In Feburary

Each month, CanDo! (Charlotte Area Networking for Development and Opportunity) explores another one of the Seven Elements of Healthy Communities in an effort to incubate remarkable ideas that will help move the community forward. A February 27th presentation by four community panelists will focus on meeting the health and wellness needs of the youth in our community.

Mr. Michael Sparks is the Youth Recreation Coordinator for the Charlotte Public Schools.  The Youth Recreation Coordinator is a new position developed and charged with: Creating a website to house all youth recreation opportunities within the district; expanding and enhancing current recreational programming in the district; creating new programs of interest for local youth; building continuity within local programs allowing for better coordination with varsity-level coaches; and streaming lining communications, sign ups, dates and events, among others.  Mr. Sparks will provide an update on what is currently available for the youth in our community and what will be available in the near future.

Mr. Dan Christian, Aquatic Center Supervisor for the Charlotte Public Schools will discuss how the Aquatic Center has been building and improving programing each year.  He will speak on the success of the swim club teams, Red Cross Lifeguard Training, and swim programs available for children as young as 6 months.  In addition, Mr. Christian will talk about collaborative efforts with Hayes Green Beach Hospital in regards to the use of the exercise pool.  The exercise pool is used daily for therapy patients from Hayes Green Beach Hospital, special needs students and adults, adult exercise classes, personal training and independent water exercise.

Mr. Jake Campbell is the Director of Health and Wellness Services and has been with Hayes Green Beach since 2007.  He will discuss the strength and conditioning program recently created by Al!ve and the Charlotte Public Schools and how this collaborative program is designed for student athletes in order to improve overall strength, speed and agility.

Mr. Dan Stafford, Athletic Director for Charlotte Public Schools will discuss how Charlotte Public Schools are collaborating with local talents to properly train youth and create an environment that is safe for athletes. He will explain the importance of collaboration and give exciting updates on the successes of the High School Sports Teams.

Stafford, Campbell, Christian and Sparks will share a fast-paced presentation highlighting health and wellness opportunities for youth of all ages in our community.  They will provide information and will have time for questions at the end of the presentation.

Those interested in the health and wellness of youth in our community will find something of value in the conversation at this month Can Do! meeting. All are welcome, and there is no cost to attend. Join us for this health and wellness discussion beginning at 7:00 a.m. in the Spartan Room at the Charlotte Community Library at 226 S. Bostwick Street in Charlotte, Michigan.  Coffee and a light breakfast are provided. The program concludes by 8:30 a.m.

January Meeting Features Conversation With Bob Filka and Bob Schroeder

Charlotte Can Do! is a local nonprofit think tank, whose primary purpose is to “incubate  remarkable ideas.” Using a framework of the Seven Elements of Healthy Communities, the group considers a different element each month.  The elements include economy, the arts, education, health and wellness, neighborhoods and communities, basic needs, and environment.

Can Do! meets monthly and invites interested community members to its first session for 2019 on Wednesday, January 23 at 7:00 a.m.  The meeting will feature a conversation with Home Builders Association CEO Bob Filka and Owner of Mayberry Homes Bob Schroeder.  The conversation will focus on how revitalization affects a community as well as what makes a community attractive for investors to develop.

For this year’s programs, Chairman Yvonne Ridge wants to focus on the seven elements of a healthy community and encourages citizens to participate and find ways to help the community move forward to the “next level” of success.  Community participation and input is a priority for Can Do’s focus this year.

The January session with Mr. Filka and Mr. Schroeder  will consider thought-provoking questions about how to harness the opportunities before us. Positive changes in communities sometimes await the transformation that comes from a different way of thinking about challenges and opportunities. How can we ask a different kind of question that helps us to see things from new perspectives? How does the way we lead change our community’s capacity and affect our community?

This session will be a great way to start your day and kick off the year with CanDo! All are welcome to this free and open session, which takes place at the Charlotte Community Library at 226 S. Bostwick Street.  A light breakfast and coffee will be provided.

CanDo! Focus – Youth, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Philanthropy

CanDo!’s general meeting each November is devoted to developing a vision for the community and the organization for the coming year. Attendees this year are invited to share their thoughts and ideas regarding our CanDo! Pillars and Committees.  We will develop a Vision as it relates to CanDo!’s  Youth, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Philanthropy Pillars as well as CanDo!’s  Step by Step and Marketing Committees.

“CanDo! has a long history of nurturing new ideas and inspiring individuals and organizations to act on them,” said CanDo! Vice Chairperson Yvonne Ridge.  “We want to continue to incubate remarkable ideas and need community input”.  Some of CanDo!’s recent successes you may recognize are Charlotte Christmas, Women Giving Together Eaton County, The Art of Charlotte, Lead Leadership Training, five Minute Tops, Charlotte Soup, and many more.

CanDo!’s board of directors has adopted a framework called the Seven Elements of a Healthy Community to guide its efforts in community development.  Examples of the seven elements are arts and culture, health and wellness, education, and economic development.  During the November 28, 2018 meeting, the seven elements will be used as a starting point to generate discussion for each Pillar and Committee.

“CanDo! Board Members are encouraged by the positive energy we are seeing in Charlotte,” Ridge said, “but we know there are always more ideas and more work to be done.  We are looking for a causal discussion to assist in developing a vision for the pillars’ and committees’ of CanDo”.

The November CanDo! meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 28 at 5:30 p.m.  at WindWalker Underground Gallery, 125 Cochran Avenue.  Drinks and snacks will be provided.

Can Do! (Charlotte Area Networking for Development and Opportunity) provides occasions for networking among individuals interested in developing a more vital and prosperous community. General meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month except December and are open to anyone who lives or works in the Charlotte area.

Charlotte Soup Returns October 24

CanDo! will host Charlotte Soup again this month, repeating an event based on a similar idea from Detroit. The concept is simple; citizens come together to share a meal and then generate ideas to help improve the community!

Charlotte Soup in 2017 funded two new attractions in the community. A Charlotte Christmas was held at Camp Frances and featured lighted trails, horse-drawn wagon rides, reindeer, Santa Claus and a campfire. Art of Charlotte took place in downtown with live music, visual arts and local cuisine. Plans are underway to repeat both events.

The CanDo! board of directors is interested in building on last year’s success by identifying new projects to fund. To take part, participants buy a $10 ticket. $5 covers the cost of the meal –soup, beverage and a cookie — and $5 goes into a collection to fund a community improvement project. Participants work in groups to generate ideas, and at the end of the night, everyone will vote on the projects that they would like to see funded. One project will be funded from the money raised by the event and a second project will be funded with a $300 grant from CanDo!

Charlotte Soup will take place from 5:30-7:30 pm on Wednesday, October 24th at the Eaton Area Senior Center, 804 S Cochran Ave, Charlotte, MI. All Charlotte community members are welcome. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the County Journal offices and the Eaton Area Senior Center. Tickets will also be available at the door. The soup is being provided by the Eaton Place, Sidestreet Deli, and the Eaton Area Senior Center. Questions about the event can be directed to CanDo! chairman Gregg Guetschow at