Kenyon McElway Wins $10,000 Michigan First Credit Union Scholarship

West Bloomfield Athletics | By Keith Dunlap

Sacrificing something you love doing is never easy, but Kenyon McElway knew it was necessary in order to fulfill his ultimate aspirations.

A defensive back on the West Bloomfield High School football team last fall, McElway could have pursued opportunities to play that sport in college, and perhaps get some scholarship money out of it.

McElway had chances to play for numerous programs, including Valparaiso, Dayton, Northern Michigan, Saginaw Valley State and Michigan Tech, but eventually realized there was something else out there for him.

“I didn’t want to invest all my time in football when I knew it wouldn’t get me to where I wanted to go,” McElway said.

Where McElway wants to go is to be a successful filmmaker/producer/screenwriter, and an award he just won earlier this month will go a long way in that quest.

McElway won a $10,000 scholarship provided by Michigan First Credit Union, which he will put to good use after he graduates from West Bloomfield in June.

McElway first applied for the scholarship in January, which required him to send in a resume and submit a short video touting what makes his generation so great.

Earlier in March, McElway got the good news that he had been selected the winner of the scholarship.

“I said our generation embraced change better, were more innovative, more tech savvy, stuff like that,” McElway said.

Making a film was right up his alley, since McElway already has a side video production business.

He started off doing video production when he made his own highlight tapes for football that he could send out to prospective college coaches, but through that discovered football wasn’t his best gift.

The filming bug bit him and he has since branched out to doing videos for other students around the school and community members.

“I’ve done two documentaries,” McElway said. “That’s my third income. I also work at Foot Locker and also (Franklin Hills) Country Club.”

McElway said once he graduates, he will move out to California and attend Santa Monica College for two years.

After that, he plans on transferring his credits to another to-be-determined university in California in order to further develop his film career.

“Football would just be taking the time I need to invest to do that,” McElway. “It was going to be hard to focus on football and to focus on my film career.”

Look out, Hollywood. A blossoming star in the film industry is headed your way.

+ Original article

Students eligible to win scholarship up to $10K

Oakland Press |  By Amanda Braniecki

“What do you think your generation does better than any other generation? Tell us why.”

That is the question Michigan First Credit Union, in conjunction with its young adult financial educational program Young & Free Michigan, is asking Michigan high school seniors and college students as part of its annual scholarship competition. With up to $85,000 in scholarships provided by the financial institution, the grand prize winners in each of the three categories will receive $10,000 to help finance their continued education.

The three categories for the competition include high school senior video, high school senior essay and college video. Applicants have until 3 p.m. Feb. 6 to submit their response to the question in either a 60-second video or a 300 to 500-word essay. The top 10 applicants in each category will be determined by online voting, and a panel of judges will choose the final winners.

The top three winners in each category will receive a $10,000 scholarship, and runners up will receive $5,000 and $3,000 scholarships. Additionally, Michigan First will select more than 30 additional high school applicants to receive $1,000 scholarships.

“Being that we were founded by educators, our credit union has always had a unique understanding both of the importance of pursuing higher academic goals and the financial struggles that accompany it,” said Michigan First President/CEO Michael Poulos. “We created our scholarship competition not only to provide the much needed financial assistance, but also to further our engagement with our schools and residents of Michigan. It is our hope that our contribution to students’ education will create a positive impact that will last throughout the years to come as these students graduate and become the future of our workforce.”

Applications will be accepted now through 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6 at All applicants must be high school seniors or current college students, as well as members of Michigan First, but interested students throughout Michigan may join the credit union when they apply for the competition. The public voting for the top videos and essays will take place between Friday, Feb. 10 and 20, determining the top 10 finalists in each category. The panel of judges will determine the winners, which will be announced on or around March 6.

The Michigan First Foundation is a nonprofit founded in 2012 by the credit union with a focus on youth and education in metro Detroit. It funds the scholarships as part of more than $150,000 in contributions to local charitable organizations and students each year. Since the inception of the scholarship competition, Michigan First has given away nearly $1 million in scholarships to Michigan students.

+ Original article

Michigan woman's priceless reaction to advancing in quest to co-host 'Live with Kelly'

M Live | By Benjamin Raven

It's safe to say that Erin Winters is excited about moving advancing to the top 10 for for a chance to co-host "Live with Kelly" alongside the show's namesake, Kelly Ripa, for a day.

Winters, of Macomb Township, shared a video of herself watching the announcement on her Facebook page. The video starts with Winters watching "Live with Kelly" while on a stair stepper workout machine. When she learns the good news, she starts jumping around in excitement and pointing at the screen in disbelief. 

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper joined Ripa in announcing the finalists, who made the cut from 20 to 10 during the Wednesday, Oct. 12 broadcast.

To see the video, see below: 

The video has been shared hundreds of times and is approaching 20,000 views. Over the phone Thursday, Winters said she had no idea if she was moving into the top 10 or not before the nationally syndicated episode aired. 

"I had no idea, which made it much more nerve-racking," Winters said. She added that the support on her reaction video is just "a reflection of the wonderful support from my family, friends, Detroit and Michigan. They want it just as bad as I do." 

After learning of her advancement, Winters said she then had an interview with two "Live with Kelly" team members, which will factor into the judge's final decision. 

Winters said she was asked a series of unexpected questions like what her favorite karaoke song is, biggest fears and the craziest thing she's ever done. While she's admittedly scared of singing in front of people, Winters said she did sing Beyonce's "Check On It" with a friend on a cruise.

Michigan woman one step closer in contest to co-host 'Live with Kelly' for a day

Erin Winters of Macomb Township is moving forward to the top 10 for for a chance to co-host "Live with Kelly" alongside the show's namesake, Kelly Ripa, for a day. 

The top five will be announced on the Friday episode of the talk show. The following week's string of episodes will include challenges and more voting to narrow the field even more. A finalist will be eliminated each day of the week until the winner is announced Thursday. The winner will then have a quick turnaround as they are set to co-host the show the next day on Oct. 21. 

"It's all happening really quick, and there is no time to soak it in or process it," Winters said. "If I win, I'm going to cry on Thursday and I might fall to my knees."

She laughed while asking herself, "how the heck am I going to host the show the next day?" 

Winters currently serves as the "spokester" for Michigan First Credit Union's Young and Free Michigan program, according to a news release from Identity PR. She said the process in making the cut in the "Live with Kelly" contest was similar to how she landed her current job. 

The 22-year-old submitted a one-minute video, at the urging of her father, demonstrating why she should co-host the show.

"I just thought 'they're never going to pick me, but at least try or you'll be mad if you don't,'" she said of deciding to apply. 

After submitting the video on deadline night, Winters said she then had to create another minute-long video after making the top 40. Her second video was a demonstration of home remedy methods on combating colds. 

She said she does have future on-air aspirations, but isn't exactly sure in what capacity. 

"It's an amazing opportunity," Winters said, "and it would be such a door-opener and chance to taste-test being an on-air host." 

For more information on the expected schedule and contest rules, click here. 

To watch one of Winter's videos submitted for the contest, see below:

Metro Detroit native out of the running to guest co-host on 'LIVE with Kelly'


A local woman who made the top ten finalist list in the search for a guest co-host on "ABC's LIVE with Kelly" is now out of the running.

It was a good run for Erin Winters, 22, a Macomb native.  

Erin submitted several videos to earn herself a spot in the top ten. The top five was announced Friday morning. Those top five will then go on to guest co-host with Kelly Ripa for a day.

Erin currently works as a 'spokester' for Michigan First Credit Union's Young and Free Michigan program. She blogs, posts on social media, and creates YouTube videos on a variety of topics.

+ Original article

Metro Detroit woman makes Top 10 on 'Live with Kelly'

Detroit Free Press | By Susan Tompor

"Live with Kelly" rolled out its Top 10 list Wednesday morning for contestants who want to cohost for a day with TV star Kelly Ripa and Michigan First Credit Union's Erin Winters made the cut.

"I was watching the show and found out with the rest of the world!" said Winters, 22, of Macomb Township. "They did not contact me beforehand."

Winters, who graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in May, works at the Lathrup Village-based credit union to encourage young consumers to feel empowered about their finances.

She blogs at, posts on social media platforms and creates YouTube videos on financial tips, young adult issues, and fun things to do around Michigan.

There are more steps to go along the way in this "Live with Kelly and You" cohost search. The Top 5 finalists and the winner of the contest get national TV exposure on the show. But they aren't competing for a full-time job to replace former cohost Michael Strahan.

Winters will have a video chat with the team at "Live with Kelly." Now the “Live with Kelly" show wants to hear viewers’ feedback – whether that be writing a comment, sharing their favorite on Facebook or tweeting about them on Twitter.

The morning show will announce their Top 5 finalists during the show Friday.

The Top 5 will be treated like celebrities and travel to New York City next week, as the contest continues on TV -- with another round of voting to follow. The winner will join Ripa at the co-host desk on Oct. 21.

+ Original article

Live With Kelly & Credit Unions? Yes, If Enough CUs Cast Votes

Erin Winters, a member of Michigan First Credit Union and the Young & Free Michigan spokester, has been named among the 20 finalists to co-host an episode of Live With Kelly! which is hosted by Kelly Ripa.


“If she wins, she’ll be talking credit unions on national television,” said Michigan First.

Winters is now among the Top 20 finalists, and voting is on to narrow the list to the Top 10. Winters was selected after submitting a video to the contest, following encouragement from her father.

The credit union is urging other CUs to rally behind Winters and to cast a vote for her video so that she can co-host for a day.

Voters can vote once per day visiting or The winner will co-host on the Friday Oct. 21 show.

Winters’ video entry can be found here.

+ Original article

Macomb Township resident amongst finalists for Live with Kelly co-host spot

Oakland Press News

Erin Winters, a resident of Macomb Township, is one of the top 20 finalists in the contest for the public ‘Live With Kelly’ co-host spot. Winters currently is serving as the “spokester” of the Young and Free Michigan program through Michigan First Credit Union. Kelly Ripa is looking for someone to co-host the nationally syndicated talk show ‘Live With Kelly’. Voting to narrow to the top ten finalists runs through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. The short videos created by the finalists can be viewed and voted on once a day at At the end of the voting period the 10 individuals with the most votes will move one step closer to co-hosting alongside Rippa on her Friday, Oct. 21 show.

+ Original article

Howard University Alumna Erin Winters Is “Live With Kelly” Finalist

HBCUBUZZ | By Brittany Ireland

Howard University Class of 2016 graduate Erin A. Winters is excited to be closer to her dreams, and one of her next steps is joining Kelly Ripa! Selected from a pool of applicants across the country, Erin has made the list of the top 20 finalists all aiming at the chance to join nationally syndicated broadcast, “Live With Kelly”, and host a show with Kelly Ripa.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Literally. These types of chances don’t just come. As a recent Howard University graduate from the School of Communications, I’ve had the opportunity to do some amazing things from reporting at the White House State Visit, moderating a live interview with the President of Howard University, and talking to amazing Black students and entrepreneurs. But once you graduate things change. The comfort of school is no longer there and you’re in the real world where opportunities aren’t posted on a bulletin board."

Winters shares that the communications field is very competitive and that she is merely one of thousands who want to be on television to use their voice and spirit to inspire people all over the world. She, like many, has envisioned pursuing this career path since she was a young child.

Vote for Erin!

Voting ends Sunday, October 9th at midnight and you can vote once a day. Winters has made it to Phase 4, and looks forward to going all the way. VOTE NOW

+ Original article

Live with Kelly & Erin? Macomb Township resident is contest finalist

Detroit Free Press | Susan Tompor

(Photo: Erin Winters)

(Photo: Erin Winters)

A 2012 grad of the International Academy of Macomb in Clinton Township is trying to snag votes to make the Top 10 finalists in a co-host search on "Live with Kelly."

Erin Winters, 22, has one of those bubbly, mile-a-minute ways of talking that make you know she's going places. The big question everyone on her Facebook feed wonders: Is Erin really heading for a spot on the set of "LIVE with Kelly" in New York?

The 2012 graduate of International Academy of Macomb is the hip "spokester" for the Young & Free program that targets the 18-to-25 crowd at Michigan First Credit Union.

Kelly Ripa (Photo: Rob Kim, Getty Images)

Kelly Ripa (Photo: Rob Kim, Getty Images)

She has been named a Top 20 finalist in the "Live With Kelly and You" contest that promises the winner a one-day shot at sitting next to Kelly Ripa, the host of the morning talk show.

Winters, who graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in May, works at the Lathrup Village-based credit union to encourage young consumers to feel empowered about their finances. She blogs at, posts on social media platforms and creates YouTube videos on financial tips, young adult issues, and fun things to do around Michigan.

She also travels around Michigan to college campuses, talking to students about money and the credit union's scholarships and contest giveaways.

"I get to use my voice to inspire young adults to be better at managing their money," she said.

Her favorite tip: "Pay yourself. Fund your dreams."

Her dream is to be in broadcasting. So when her father heard about the contest to be a co-host, he called his daughter with the big dreams.

"I'm like 'Dad, there's going to be thousands of people who want to enter,'" Winters said.

But she sent in her one-minute video clip anyway. She called it "Erin's Air-Out" where she was "airing out" reasons why Erin Winters should be a co-host with Kelly Ripa. Some of the reasons Erin gave? She knows how to work the camera. She is always camera-ready. And she loves a challenge. Her favorite quote: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

Erin Winters made the cut. To take the next step in the contest, she sent in another fun, active how-to video — featuring Erin in a stunning, red wrap dress talking about how to make home remedies for a cold, such as homemade vapor rub.

Then, she made the Top 20.

"My Facebook is going absolutely nuts," she said.

"My mom, she freaked out when I told her I made the Top 20," said Erin, who lives with her parents Mark and Andrea Winters in Macomb Township.

Initially, she entered the contest without telling her current employer. Later, she worried that the folks at Michigan First wouldn't be too happy as she progressed in the contest.

"I did it for me, honestly," she said.

But she said Michigan First has outdone itself and encouraged its 125,000 members to vote for her so that she can make it to the Top 10.

She's hoping to snag more votes between now and Sunday. Why should people vote for her?

She'd like to get a "taste test" of her dream. "A dream that I’ve envisioned and literally felt while practicing in the mirror with my brush, or in front of my camera," she said.

"This is my chance to take a huge step that could change the trajectory of my life ... and of course, have fun with Kelly. Detroit has always had my back. And I can't wait to showcase the greatness that this city breeds."

Once the Top 10 are selected, the contest will move to naming the final five contenders. The five finalists will travel to New York City the week of Oct. 17 to compete live on the show. The winner will join Ripa at the co-host desk on Oct. 21.

Voting runs now through Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. The top 10 finalists will be announced on Wednesday.

You can vote by going to or “LIVE’s” Facebook page.

+ Original article

Michigan woman finalist to co-host 'Live with Kelly' for a day

M Live | By Benjamin Raven

Erin Winters, of Macomb Township, has made the top 20 for a chance to co-host "Live with Kelly" alongside the show's namesake, Kelly Ripa. 

Winter's nationally syndicated dreams hang in the balance of a public vote, which is open through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. The vote will determine a top 10, which will then be cut to five, four, three, two and then the winner. 

While the contest is not a full-time gig to replace former co-host Michael Strahan, it's an opportunity to co-host the nationally syndicated morning talk show for a day. 

The 22-year-old made the cut among thousands by making two video entries and an essay, according to the contest's rules. Winters currently serves as the "spokester" for Michigan First Credit Union's Young and Free Michigan program, according to a news release from Identity PR. 

"Erin is responsible for promoting smart financial decisions among those ages 17-25 through daily blog posts, weekly videos, the management of the Young & Free social media channels and participation in community events," the press release reads. 

To watch one of Winter's videos submitted for the contest, see below: