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Dorothy Pintar


School Success Partnership

2375 Gordon Road
Alpena, Michigan 49707
Dorothy Pintar, director of the School Success Partnership at Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency in Alpena, works to make sure all kids have the opportunity and possibility to succeed in school and live out their dreams. 
Michigan Nightlight: What does being a leader mean to you?
School Success Partnership of Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency, Inc. (NEMCSA) Director Dorothy Pintar: A leader to me is somebody who never gives up and really believes in what they’re doing and can influence others to reach the goal.
… my dream is for all kids to have the opportunity and possibility to live out their dreams. 

What is your dream for kids?
I really think overall, as a whole, my dream is for all kids to have the opportunity and possibility to live out their dreams. My hope is they never look to the future and say they can’t do it because of poverty or other circumstances.
What is one concrete thing that could be done to improve the environment for social sector work in Michigan?
The concrete thing that can be done to improve the environment is to really look at the need then the target population and really focus on funding the true need and true target and then focus long-term sustainable funds for those programs – not programs that don’t meet the target or need. The only way to truly make this process work is strategic planning.
How do you know you’re making progress?
The really nice thing about our program is everything we measure is tangible. I could show you today that a student’s behavior, grades, and family life has improved. We can easily measure and prove our program is working.
What are you most proud of?
As director, I’m most proud that over the last 18 years I’ve been able to educate communities on our program. As a result we have gotten community support—financially, but also that they can trust us. Really, it’s the respect the program has earned. It’s a good thing to get the public’s support for the program. Also, because our program is not a federal or state line item we get more support directly from communities. I can get out in the community and show this program works. I’m also proud of the sustainability; it’s all coming from the community. It’s not like applying for a grant. It’s a buy-in from all different funding sources. For a low amount of money you get a high return on investment. The community has bought into it. Now we’re all over Northeast Michigan.
So much of the poverty we have is generational or related to mental health issues. Kids aren’t choosing to live in poverty.

What perceptions, messages, or historical influences create the most significant barriers to engaging Michigan citizens in helping vulnerable children?
So many people, regardless if they’re middle class, upper class, or live in poverty, think people who live in poverty live that way because they’re lazy, and that’s not the case at all. So much of the poverty we have is generational or related to mental health issues. Kids aren’t choosing to live in poverty.
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