DPS launches citywide Detroit Public Schools Alumni Association

Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-4546

Detroit Public Schools is expanding its efforts to reach out to alumni with the creation of the Detroit Public Schools Alumni Association, which is dedicated to serving alumni of all DPS schools.

“With all the great things happening in DPS, now is a wonderful time for alumni to get involved,” said Alumni Manager Gloria Cunningham. “The academic plan is raising the level of achievement in our schools, but teachers and principals need the support of a strong alumni body to provide tutoring, mentorship and even financial support to their alma maters.”

The DPS Alumni Association also will provide scholarships, field trips and other enrichment for DPS students, while supporting and working with existing school alumni associations to benefit students.

The need for a citywide group is tremendous, Cunningham said, because only about one-quarter of DPS schools have alumni associations, meaning many alumni have nowhere to channel their efforts. The group will work closely with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting Detroit students. Their mission is to raise, manage and steward funds and other resources to support value-added programs and activities for the benefit of the Detroit Public Schools and its students.
“The DPS Alumni Association is a great option for people whose alma maters don’t have alumni groups or for those who attended several DPS schools and want an easy way to give back to all of them.”

Alumni and supporters can sign up online at www.detroitk12.org/alumni or download a membership form that can be mailed with appropriate dues to: DPS Office of Alumni Affairs, 7333 Second Avenue, Detroit MI 48202.

Dues, which will help fund scholarships and programs at schools, are as follows:
Students: $10
Alumni and Friends: $25
Reunion Committees: $50
Alumni Organizations: $100
Small Businesses: $250
Corporations: $500
To bolster membership in the fledgling association, DPS is challenging every graduate to support their school by registering on or before Friday December 3, 2010. The winning school will receive a prize that will be announced in coming weeks. DPS alumni or supporters who sign up before Oct. 29 will be entered to win two VIP tickets to the upcoming advance screening of “School Pride,” which will benefit the DPS Foundation and Communication and Media Arts High School. The event is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 3 in the Ford Theatre at Detroit School of Arts, 123 Selden.

Last November the district reinstated its Office of Alumni Affairs, which had been dormant since 2000. The goal is to create an alumni presence in every school throughout the city and to bolster communication between the district and its alumni.

The needs throughout the district are tremendous, and alumni can be invaluable in helping to provide goods and services that the district has had to limit due to funding cuts, Cunningham said.

Among the areas where help is needed: funding for field trips and college visits, funding for students whose families are going through financial hardship and uniforms for underprivileged students. Among the volunteer opportunities are helping teachers in classrooms, serving as hall monitors and lunch-room aides and being a visible presence to inspire students.

Cunningham, who founded the office in 1998, serves as a bridge between the schools, the district and the roughly 30 active alumni associations. She is working to create alumni associations in schools that don’t have them and to coordinate the disparate fund-raising efforts for various schools by reaching out to alumni, community groups, the Detroit Public Schools Foundation and others.

For more information about getting involved, call the DPS Office of Alumni Affairs at (313) 873-4317 or e-mail dps.alumni@detroitk12.org or get updates at twitter.com/dpsalumni. Learn more at www.detroitk12.org/alumni. For more information about the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, visit www.detroitpsfoundation.org.

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