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Eliminating Barriers and Improving Outcomes for Families in Southeast Michigan

The Metroparks belong to all of us. Our parks and our programming are geared toward enhancing the quality of life of Michiganders and driving equity throughout our service area of   Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. While millions of people throughout Southeast Michigan experience the Metroparks and its services every year, we are committed to increasing our impact and touching communities and families far beyond our park’s borders. That’s why we are launching Metroparks & Me.

Metroparks & Me is a multi-year initiative geared towards breaking the barriers that limit access to essential health, wellness, education, and quality-of-life opportunities. By focusing on two pivotal areas—science education and swimming—we aim to empower individuals and communities, fostering a deeper connection with the natural world and promoting water safety and learning.

Metroparks & Me has two core goals:

●       Increasing access to and the number of free water safety and swim lessons regionally.

●       Ensuring students who attend schools in under-resourced communities can access Metroparks’ rich educational programs in their classrooms and parks free of charge.

To expand their impact across Southeast Michigan, and reach thousands more children, Metroparks is looking to raise $2.4 million over three years: $1.8 million for the supplemental science program and $600,00 for the Everyone in the Pool program.

Reversing the Trend: Expanding the Everyone in the Pool Program

Drowning is an epidemic that hits low-income families and children of color the hardest. Seventy-nine percent of children in households with annual incomes less than $50,000 do not know how to swim, and studies have shown that 70% of Detroit children have little to no swimming ability. The reality, however, is that many in our community still lack access to lessons and water safety opportunities. That’s why Metroparks has set an ambitious goal to support free water safety and swim lessons to 6,000 students annually by 2028. Learn more about the Everyone in the Pool Initiative and our partners.

By raising $600,000 in three years, the Metroparks and its partners can provide free water safety and swim lessons to more than 12,000 adults and children and expand opportunities for lifeguard certification and staffing infrastructure needed to host these lessons.

Bringing the Parks to More Classrooms: Increasing Access to Science Learning

Every child deserves an opportunity to experience the wonder of the outdoors and learn about nature, but for far too many children, that opportunity is out of reach simply because their schools need help to afford it. The Metroparks is committing to expanding its innovative Supplemental Science program so more students in Southeast Michigan can explore our state’s natural resources through science education and explore career opportunities they might not have otherwise thought possible. To expand the program into one additional school per year, the Metroparks must raise $1.8 million in three years.

Metroparks’ first Supplemental Science program kicked off in the 2022-23 school year with fourth, fifth and eighth graders at John R. King Elementary in Detroit. Under the program, Metroparks interpretive staff work closely with teachers to create customized, hands-on learning opportunities that align with the existing curriculum. Interpretive staff visits classrooms multiple times per week for the entire school year to create lasting relationships and foster a love of science. During the 2022-23 school year, Metroparks’ interpretive staff spent nearly 4,000 hours across 59 school visits, engaging with hundreds of students and their teachers. Data from evaluations with students and teachers at the end of the engagement found that nearly 90% of all eighth graders who participated in the program reported an increase in positive outlook for science, demonstrating the success of the program and excitement from students.

Get Involved

If you are interested in partnering with, or providing funding support to, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Foundation to expand impact through the Metroparks & Me Initiative contact Danielle Mauter, Chief of Marketing and Communications, at


A Press Conference will kick the initiative off on March 11 and updates to funding goals will be provided here along the way.

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