As part of our commitment to Metro Detroit, we encourage each of our employees donate 5 hours a month to a charity or nonprofit cause of their choice. Over the years we have volunteered for organizations like Gleaners Community Foodbank, Playworks, the YMCA, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, and Detroit’s Rotary Club, among many others. It struck us recently that one program in particular has been a staple in our portfolio of volunteer efforts: Cornerstone Schools Partner Morning Program.

Partner Morning is a unique, quarterly program that gives young people in the Cornerstone Schools an adult mentor and friend for the school year and beyond. In many cases, these relationships span the entire K-12 progression of a child! As our CEO, Matthew Morin, said “I can still remember going to my first Partner Morning 10 years ago, at the Nevada campus. It was clear to me then that Cornerstone had created something truly special. Connecting the community and the school’s supporters directly to the students who benefit from that support represents a true double bottom line.” The commitment for adults is so simple, yet so impactful. I can say from experience that the kids light up when it’s a Partner Morning and the classrooms buzz with excitement. But don’t take it from us, listen to actual participants share their experience with the program:



The format of Partner Morning stays consistent from visit to visit. Each morning features an update from the hosting school on their academic quarter, and (most importantly) a musical or dramatic performance by the students. Partners then get a chance to spend a class period with their student(s), participating in a teacher-led lesson plan in support of the Partner Morning theme.  The theme differs for each Partner Morning. These experiences give students a fun, casual venue to practice their communication skills and develop a bond with their partner. Over the past few years these session have included an opportunity to participate in:

  • Science experiments
  • Music lessons
  • Art projects
  • Public speaking practice

And much more. No doubt, the cornerstone of the program’s longevity (pun intended) is in the relationships. Kids and adults always walk away with a smile and a good story. We have also come to appreciate how accessible Cornerstone has made the program for working professionals. The program always starts and ends on time (8:30 – 10:15 am), and the geography of the campuses provides multiple dates and locations to participate as options. Starbucks coffee and breakfast pastries are served.

We encourage you and anyone you know to step into one of these programs this or next school year. For questions or to get involved, contact