“I just wanted to say that this was one of THE BEST fund-raiser and educational events that we have EVER attended! I didn’t even know that it existed!” Our annual “Taste & See” Event marks the transition between these two seasons, and as such, we want to take one last look back, to savor what was tasted and seen at this year's event.
A few decades earlier the southeast corner of Terrace and Isabella had 7 homes on it, rentals and family houses, but years of neglect, white flight, and disinvestment left the homes empty abandoned and decaying. Then one day the city decided to take them all down, and there was nothing. Grass and weeds started to grow up, the trees began to fall down, and Tom was left wondering “What if?! What if we took over the lot?” Tom would often mow the lawn and pick up trash and do whatever he could to keep it as tidy as possible, but on his own couldn't get much done.
Internships are hugely important in any students’ life. They set the foundation for future careers, enhancing soft skills such as time management and professional rapport, as well as work ethic. Internships help to build confidence and experience while learning new trades and skills, and Colleges place huge importance on internships when reviewing applications, giving YEP’s an extra push in a competitive market.
When our board and staff attempt to identify the reason why Community enCompass exists, we end up with phrases like “Neighborhood Transformation,” and “SHALOM in the City.” Lofty dreams for a rag-tag team of people who are often stumbling towards good. The year-end process of digging through data always makes me wonder..... how will we know once we’ve arrived? How will we know when our neighborhoods have been transformed and we taste SHALOM?
Dozens of neighborhood teenagers spent their summers doing internships through the Youth Empowerment Project. The PAID internships created an opportunity of high school students to gain experience in the fields of youth work, agriculture, construction, and gardening, building interpersonal skills and developing their resumes
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!
19 sleepy teens are climbing into vans in the parking lot. It’s dark, cold (and probably snowing), but there is an edge of excitement because they’ve worked hard to be here. It’s the start of the 6th annual YEP College Tour, and within minutes 19 high school youth will be on the road to Kentucky, visiting 5 colleges over 3 days. Two YEPs reflect on their experiences.
For many years, a group of our neighbors has sought to provide high quality, new toys, and gifts for hard-working families in the core city Muskegon neighborhoods at an affordable price. Every child sees the same commercial yet Muskegon County’s ALICE population (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed) struggle to afford basic household necessities.
This was my first time at the “Taste and See” Tour of our core city neighborhoods and Community enCompass. Wow: I am so very impressed with the awesome programs that Community enCompass has their hands in, rebuilding our community. Love IS what Love DOES & Community enCompass is doing much with Love. A great variety of amazing things are growing in our community as Community enCompass ministers through growth.
Phew: What a summer! So much work has been done. One of the highlights this summer has been our “4th Street Facelift” Project. Community enCompass was 1 of 10 organizations across the state to be awarded a $50,000 grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for neighborhood enhancement projects. Competition was hot with 36 projects across the state applying, and the grant was a catalyst for neighborhood organizing in a powerful way.
One of the greatest joys in neighborhood development work is seeing young leaders growing up to take positions of influence and responsibility in the community. This summer a large number of our emerging leaders (YEP’s) were thrust into positions of significant responsibility that stretched their abilities and tested their faith. They worked as farmers with McLaughlin Grows Farm, as camp leaders with CATCH Camp, as crew leaders with Royal Edge (our new and improved lawn care social enterprise!), lot beautification under the direction of Sprinkler Works, and with our Home Rehab and Construction program at our current “home redemption project” on 4th street. The internships have ended, they are exhausted. And have significantly matured.
June 18th, Father’s Day, will kick off the 9th year of CATCH Camp, the summer day camp in McLaughlin Neighborhood. Summer camp is about more than fun-packed weeks of adventure trips, kickball games, and character lessons. It’s more than forming life-long friendships. It’s more than strengthening character and self-esteem. It’s all of this, to be sure. But it’s about something more.
Summer camp is also about building leadership. It is the time when young people (our YEPs!) who have been maturing socially and spiritually over the past year(s) get the opportunity to exercise their leadership before younger watchful eyes. Nothing builds one's confidence like having others follow your example and aspire to be like you.
One of the greatest joys in neighborhood development work is seeing young leaders growing up to take positions of influence and responsibility in the community. This summer a growing number of our emerging leaders will be thrust into positions of significant responsibility that will further stretch their abilities and test their faith. They will work as farmers and mentors with McLaughlin Grows Farm, as camp leaders with CATCH Camp, as crew leaders with Royal Edge (our new and improved lawn care social enterprise!), and with our Home Rehab and Construction program at our newest home redemption project. By the summer's end, they will be exhausted. And significantly matured.
We need your help. We have the work for the kids. We have the staff to train and supervise them. What we need is the money to pay the kids for their work. Our goal is to hire 30 kids throughout the summer, awarding them $650 upon completion of a summer of job training!