Becoming . . . President of the United States

I am 13 years old and will be the first from my family to go to college. How do I already know I’ll go to college? It’s because of the Asset Building Project, which is part of AFG’s Prevention Program. Through the Asset Building Project, I am preparing financially, academically, and culturally to reach my educational goals after high school. Although I have big dreams, I realize that there are many obstacles that could potentially block me from reaching my goals. The cost of tuition, books, room and board, transportation, food, and the overall transition into a new environment can be overwhelming for anyone.

However, because of the Asset Building Project, I now have the tools and confidence to aim higher. AFG helped opened a college savings account for all of the participants enrolled. My family and I made a commitment to deposit a minimum of $5.00 per week into the savings account. Not only am I learning how to save for college, but we also go on college tours, participate in financial literacy workshops, learn how to apply for scholarships and financial aid and so much more. Because of this program, I am on the path to achieving my dream of becoming President of the United States. One day I hope to be the first AFG participant in the Oval Office!

- Maria

Please donate to Alternatives for Girls. Click here:

*Name and image have been changed to protect her safety

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Share the Love this February

We’re Detroit lovers, and when we hear about other organizations and businesses that share our passion for the community, we can’t help but Share the Love!

This month we got to know our friends at Detroit-based Alternatives for Girls, or AFG, and learned more about the powerful and compelling work they do to help at-risk women in the community. AFG Director of Fund Development Anna Weaver gave us the lowdown on the organization’s prevention, shelter and outreach programs.

How does AFG support the community?

Anna: AFG is a southwest Detroit-based nonprofit organization that has helped homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation since 1987. Our goal is to help these women explore and access the support, resources and opportunities necessary to be safe, grow strong and make positive choices in their lives. Like Avalon, we find value in encouraging and supporting our members to live and explore life to its fullest potential.

Who qualifies to receive help from AFG?

Anna: Our programs are built to help women of all ages, based on their needs and situation. Our prevention program serves at-risk girls ages 4-21 that are susceptible of gang involvement, abusing drugs or alcohol and school truancy. AFG’s shelter program focuses on helping women between the ages of 15-21 by providing housing, counseling and support to help get them back on the path to success. The outreach program lends resources and information to women of all ages to help them understand the dangers of engaging in high-risk activities.

What is the impact of AFG’s prevention, shelter and community outreach programming?

Anna: AFG assists thousands of women in the community each year, based on resource and spacing availability. Our resource center responds to an average of 1,800 crisis phone calls per year, while the community outreach program connects with more than 2,000 women annually. The prevention program educates between 70 and 80 women per year, while our shelter program provides a safe place to stay for an additional 100 to 125 women and their children.

What helps AFG differentiate from similar outreach organizations?

Anna: While some of the other resource centers and groups in the area offer some of the same shelter and outreach services, our prevention program helps to differentiate us from the pack. We offer academic enrichment services, mentoring and financial benefits to help the girls understand that they are bright and able members of society. We place an importance on education and encourage the girls to seek a higher understanding in their areas of interest by helping them to apply for college, save money and all the other steps along the way. We’ve recently implemented college savings programs, and thanks to our generous community donors, can provide an initial deposit and match student deposits up to $500.

How can the community help support AFG?

Anna: There are multiple ways the community can help support AFG and the women we serve. From monetary and in-kind donations to volunteering with our street outreach and mentoring programs, you can make a difference. And of course, next month we’re partnering with Avalon to host the Share the Love campaign, which will provide customers with three fun ways to donate, including:

  • Eat more cookies – All four Avalon locations will be selling specially labeled sea salt chocolate chip cookie boxes with proceeds benefiting AFG.
  • Donate online – Patrons who make a $25 or more donation online via will automatically receive an emailed voucher redeemable at any Avalon location for a free loaf of bread.
  • Dine with your sweetheart – Avalon Cafe and Kitchen in Ann Arbor and the original retail shop on Willis Street in Detroit will be donating a portion of all sales to AFG on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Learn more about how you can Share the Love by visiting

For more information on AFG’s assistance programs, please visit

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Detroit Lover Amber Poupore Talks Vegan

Tell us about yourself:

Amber Poupore is synonymous with vegetarian cuisine in southeastern Michigan, having worked over a decade at the premier vegetarian restaurant Inn Season Cafe, opening her own businesses Cacao Tree Cafe and The Clean Plate as well as her former role as an integral consultant for reputable GreenSpace Cafe in Ferndale, which is owned by renowned vegan cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn.  Her passion for providing well balanced, enriching and nourishing foods is representative through her involvement and commitment to her clientele and the community.  Amber is involved with educational and instructional classes throughout southeastern MI and is the exclusive caterer for the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group (PBNSG).  She has recently been featured in the full length documentary Eating You Alive and has appeared frequently on Fox 2 News, Channels 4 and 7, as well as numerous articles in local publications.

How Long Have You Been A Vegan?

Plant based 19 years

What made you choose a vegan lifestyle?

Educating myself and becoming aware of the effects of animal product consumption on a mass scale.  The dangers to the environment and health, physical and mental.  Realizing that all of the modern chronic disease we are suffering from is directly related to the consumption of animal products and processed foods.  I encourage people to support only local farms if they are choosing to consume animal products.  The environmental effects are greatly reduced and the majority of animals actually live a meaningful and comfortable life.

How Long Have You Been A customer at Avalon? What brought you there? What keeps you coming back?

16 years.  I discovered Avalon shortly after their inception when I moved back from the west coast in 2000.  I had recently become vegan and was overjoyed at the vegan dessert options and baked goods Avalon offered.  I always feel at home when I enter the Willis bakery, as it reminds me of a quaint west coast style small business.  It is always warm, inviting and welcoming.  The artwork and creativity that is expressed has always been impressive to me.  The signage is fun, creative and ever-changing.  I feel nourished when I eat Avalon bread, I feel the love that goes into every single loaf of bread.  The creative combinations and light fluffy texture have always been the perfect compliment to any meal, especially soup, salad and sandwiches, which I basically live off of.

What is your favorite product there?

sweet: peanut butter chocolate chip cookie
savory:  sourdough farm bread

What books/resources have been the greatest influences on you?

I enjoy reading information that has been scientifically researched by doctors which has evidence supporting it.
Dr. Neil Barnard (, Program for Reversing Diabetes, Power Foods for the Brain, Breaking the Food Seduction
Dr. Esselstyn, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Engine 2 Diet
Dr. T Colin Campbell (, The China Study, Plant Pure Nation film
Dr. Greger (, How Not to Die

If there is one thing about the plant based lifestyle that you would like to share with Avalon vegans and non-vegans alike, what would it be?

A plant based lifestyle is not deficient in animal products, it is featuring all of the incredible and creative applications in which you can use plants in a natural, practical and sustainable manner.  From food to clothing and housewares to fuel, you can harness the energy of our natural surroundings and live harmoniously without causing harm or damage to any beings.

What would be your advice for “plant curious” people as they explore a plant-based lifestyle?

Educate yourself and then make the best and most informed choices for you.  There is a wealth of resources available from medical books, cookbooks, documentaries, websites, blogs and smartphone apps.  Always consult your doctor before implementing any serious dietary changes, especially if you are on medications.

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I have always been someone who stays away from labels like vegetarian, vegan and raw.  I love to recommend others to refer to "plant based" because if you eat primarily plants you can maintain an optimum state of health combined with healthy physical and mental activities.  This encourages others to focus their diet on plants but have some breathing room for the reality of life's special occasions and inconvenient situations.  If considering being plant based, always be patient and forgiving with yourself.  Change doesn't happen overnight, create subtle changes and set yourself up for success rather than failure.  Create a new lifestyle, not a temporary diet.  Participate in local support groups like PBNSG and Chickpea & Bean, surrounding yourself with others who are on a similar journey.

Posted in Avalon, Detroit, Guest Blogger, Health, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, featured | Comments Off
share this