In Muskegon County, the rate of eviction is 4 times higher than the national average! In response, community leaders have come together to address this community issue, creating the Eviction Prevention Program (EPP). Started as a pilot project a year ago and supported by funding from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, EPP gives families facing eviction the possibility of an “out”, the hope for stable housing
“It seems that we continue to learn that one of the fastest ways to create a family out of new acquaintances, is through food. In my experience, I haven't seen anything that creates community faster than getting a new group of people involved in the hands-on process of cooking from scratch.
“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.
Throughout the summer (through the generous contribution of many of you), the YEP’s have been employed as paid summer interns. Each YEP chose the project they wished to invest in, determining the skills they would learn, and how they would give back to their community.
Kimi went in expecting to find some good wood, maybe some useful cabinets, possibly a piece or two of original trim, but what Kimi found blew her mind. “We have to save it!" Kimi said in awe as she wondered around this pristine example of a 1920’s craftsman's house. “It was stunning, to say the least.”
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.
By hosting multiple volunteer organizations and having a free food forest open to the public, the farm strengthens relationships. Most importantly it functions as an educational platform for various youth programs to learn more about the food system, environmental stewardship, and fresh produce.
Community enCompass has been presented with the unique opportunity to save this gem of a home by relocating it from the Nims Neighborhood, where it is slated for demo in 3 weeks, to Downtown Muskegon, where there is currently a push for more homes.
The one thing Perry does not know how to do is sew, but being a good teacher is often paired with being a good learner. Perry saw a need within his community for a sewing class and he wanted to be able to provide that.
After what feels like an eternal winter, the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the grass is growing back from beneath the snow. The birds are out singing, people are back out in the streets, and we’re looking forward to many great things!
Send our YEP’s on College Tour - Research shows that regardless of gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, youth who take education trips and college tours have 59% better grades, 95% high graduation rates from high school, 63% higher college graduation rates and greater income 12% higher annually.
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?
Monday, Sep 24th saw the accomplishment of Community enCompass’s 7th Annual Taste & See, a progressive dinner and tour through Muskegon's core city neighborhoods. Taste & See is both a fundraiser and an opportunity to showcase the great work happening in the core city neighborhoods and the best the culinary talent downtown Muskegon has to offer.
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
Nina has bounced from house to house for over a decade, taking the initiative and engaged the services provided by almost every social service organization in the City---food assistance, substance abuse programs, parenting classes. She’s rented a place before, but the rent was higher than what she could afford—sometimes 70% of her total income, and she always ended up evicted.
We are proud to announce through a partnership with AvaSure, a health care company, our 3rd farm site is being developed. A new 13,000 square foot farm will be ready for production come next spring at 1161 W. Southern avenue in Muskegon, on the former site of Nims School grounds. “As a community-based entity, we will align with, support & grow established & sustained community-based organizations that inspire four values
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!
The purpose of Reading Buddies is to not only help the students at Nelson School build confidence in reading but also to provide opportunities for volunteers to share their time and attention towards helping the children of our future succeed. More than 30 volunteers give an hour or more a week, dedicating themselves to reading with an average of 60 students weekly.
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.
“When we look at a house like this we see history, we see story, we see family, we see value and hope. We see good bones.” A house like this makes no sense to any real estate investor. It’s not a house you can flip for profit. The current real estate values in Muskegon's core city neighborhoods don’t make a house like this profitable in any way. It took close to $60,000 in materials and necessary contracted work to bring this house back to life, and that's not accounting for the countless hours of volunteer work that have been put in.
15% of Muskegon County residents have a certified disability, 25% higher than the national average. 41% of Muskegon county residents live at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty level, 22%* higher than national average. These numbers alone are sobering, so this month we are taking the opportunity to educate ourselves about the links between poverty and health, health and poverty.
AmeriCorps Week is a celebration of all things AmeriCorps – the people and programs who have committed to "Get Things Done" in thousands of locations across the country. We are taking this opportunity to highlight the AmeriCorps who help keep our programs running and to say a big THANK YOU for the work that they do.
We have shared some of our favorite ideas below in the hopes that you will be inspired and encouraged to get involved and live into the reality that we OWN (create, shape, mold) our community and neighborhoods of Muskegon
Redlining is the historical practice of denying services to residents of certain areas based on the racial or ethnic composition of those areas. Redlining in Muskegon resulted in some neighborhoods being underdeveloped, buildings being abandoned, businesses failing, increasing social problems and the removal of any incentives to invest.
Despite the heavy snow, spring always comes early at Community enCompass bringing with it the promise of opportunity. The opportunity to bring our fresh organic produce to more of our core city Muskegon neighbors. The opportunity to engage children and families in our learning garden. And the opportunity to help more people transform their lives through our farm-based job training program for core city youth.