Changing Gears is a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest. Each week, reporters Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland, Niala Boodhoo in Chicago and Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor cover issues of interest to the Great Lakes region. Changing Gears also sponsors public events and conversations.
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Stories of the Plan B
Whether you think the recession is over or not, it’s been hard on many people in the Midwest and the country. So, our Changing Gears team went out to find some people whose circumstances have forced them make some tough choices that are, perhaps, working out for the better. Here are three stories of the Plan B.
Name: Beth Coats
Lives: West Olive, MI
Plan B: Peace Corps
Beth Coats had worked in a medical practice for years. Divorce, job loss, and foreclosure added up to a bad situation. With little to lose, Coats is hoping to do something she’s been thinking about for decades: the Peace Corps. She loves travel, so why not?
Name: Katlin Petrow
Lives: Chagrin Falls, OH
Plan B: Pooch Parade
Katlin Petrow always loved animals. When her husband’s salary was no longer enough to support the family, Petrow decided to turn her interest into a career. She created Pooch Parade as a full service pet sitting, walking, and care provider. With a growing number of clients, it’s turned into a significant revenue stream for the family.
Name: James Foster
Lives: Chicago, IL
Plan B: “I stay home, my wife works”.
Prior to being laid off in 2008, Foster had been a textbook editor. He and his wife had just had their first child, Harry, and she was planning to stay home with him. They both hit the job market, and she got hired first. While Foster said misses the intellectual stimulation of his career, he treasures the simple everyday moments he has with Harry, who’s now two. “I get to see all the firsts,” he said.
This story is informed by the Public Insight Network. It was produced by Dan Bobkoff with help from Niala Boodhoo, Sarah Alvarez, and Dustin Dwyer.