Top Afterschool Leaders Earn Statewide Honors

LANSING–Michigan’s best and brightest professionals working in before-, afterschool and summer programming were recognized this month at a conference in East Lansing, honoring the work being done to boost achievement among youth statewide.

“When it comes to motivating students, helping them improve their achievement and get on track for college, career, and life, there’s no substitute for skilled, caring adults,” said Erin Skene-Pratt, executive director of the Michigan Afterschool Partnership. “The people we honored this year have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of youth, and are building legacies of strength for generations to come.”

This year’s award recipients included:

Community Engagement Award Winner: Erin Horton, Marion

Horton works with her entire community to engage youth in experiential learning. Working with external organizations, she has focused on composting, gardening, and environmental issues in ways that have created sustainable spaces that are enjoyed across her region.

Impact Award Winner: Pharlon Randle, Flint

Randle and his organization, Bangtown Productions, have been working with Michigan youth since 2006, helping them explore and find their own voices through music. Because of his experience, knowledge, passion and patience with students, young people are able to use their voices to express themselves and change the world.

Mary Sutton Leadership Award Winner: Patricia “Patti” Wagner, Bloomfield Hills

Wagner sits on multiple statewide committees to ensure local afterschool programs can support local economies by ensuring healthy supplies of local talent. She leads professional learning at both the local and state level to grow staff skills and promote youth development and voice. Furthermore, Wagner serves as a mentor and leader among project directors. She has helped plan opportunities at the Capitol so young people can share their own stories of determination and growth and allowing families to illustrate the positive impacts quality OST programs have made.

Rising Star Award Winner: Mori Anderson, Detroit

Anderson spends more than 30 hours each week helping Detroit’s youth improve their literacy skills. She brings unmatched energy and patience to the Center for Success classroom at the Durfee Innovation Society. She gets the kids—already exhausted from a full day of school—excited learn and ready to pay attention.

Michigan’s afterschool providers have been working to ensure all youth have enriching, supportive opportunities to learn and grow. According to the newest data, there are hundreds of thousands of Michigan children waiting to access afterschool programs. Unfortunately, the number of programs available statewide isn’t enough to meet the level of need that exists.

“We have been working to communicate the value of afterschool to policy makers and the public,” Skene-Pratt said. “The excellence of these award winners makes it possible for us to share true stories of highly effective programming in ways that can make a real, lasting difference for youth. I am so proud of these professionals and can’t wait to witness the impact they’ll continue to make on the lives of their communities for generations to come.”

Information about MASP can be found at

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