This summer, hundreds of volunteers have already partnered with our neighbors to invest time, money and effort along 5th and 6th Streets from Houston Avenue south into Muskegon Heights. The project activities have provided effects similar to that of a facelift, rejuvenating the existing physical built environment of our core city neighborhoods. These activities are lifting the spirits of those living in these neighborhoods as well, and allowing neighbors to show-off their amazing gifts of hospitality!
"I just had the greatest group of girls and guys helping me," says Ms. Barb Heskett who had volunteers from Catholic Heart Work Camp help on her home projects. The volunteers worked on painting foundations and adding window wells to the basement windows, fixing broken steps and painting her porch. They also gardened and edged the lawn. "My house, garage, shed, and the yard looks beautiful. The flowers were an added touch, which I will enjoy all summer!” Ms. Heskett, a senior who has lived in her neighborhood for more than 25 years, would not have been able to do the work herself and qualified for the home face-lift through funds that came to Community enCompass through Muskegon County Senior Millage.
Another neighbor and senior who participated in the face-lift project was Ms. Ann Craig. Ms. Craig has recently received the “Citizen of the Year” award from the City of Muskegon, and her efforts in leading the facelift project showed why. She helped spread the word to her neighbors about the project and got many signed up. “I just care about my neighbors. Been caring for 50 years and I’m not going to stop now. Many of them are seniors like me, but are all by themselves. They can’t do this kind of work on their own. This was a great opportunity for all of us. You know when your neighborhood is kept up it makes you feel better about living here!” Ms. Craig moved into her 6th St. home in the 60's and plans to live out the rest of her life at home in Nelson. Volunteers from around the Midwest with Youth Unlimited's Project Serve helped Ms. Craig with some overdue help. "I showed them what I wanted doing and they got to work. I got some things done I wouldn't have been able to do myself".
The Neighborhood Facelift is about more than just fixing porches and painting fences. It's an opportunity for creating new relationships and building community. As Ms. Craig put it "We had lunch together, and just kinda had a family relationship. Invited my neighbors for lunch, as well! We really enjoyed having them around."
The Neighborhood Facelift is continuing through the summer with over 50 homes directly effected, and more than 200 homes benefitting from lawn edging. Volunteers both local and national will be coming through to help neighbors reinvested in their homes and neighborhoods, again back to neighbor Ms. Ann Craig, "I want my neighborhood to look like the way it looked when I first moved in. I want things to look nice and beautiful again in this neighborhood."