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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Our Parks Initiative in Muskegon

 

Going back to our very beginnings of this blog which has grown to become so much to so many is always the most satisfying experience.  If you remember, we began with only a GoPro camera and and this free Blogger program from Google because it was all we could afford.  We really didn't even have a proper direction at first until we realized through Andrea Rosema and her gang of merry makers that we could build and grow people by simply giving them a platform.  It seems to have worked.



It's still an honor beyond imagination when we find groups that are taking the bull by the horns to meet challenges that their neighborhoods are faced with.  We have found challenges in every corner of the county.  While they might be unique to a neighborhood depending on the location, they are common in the fact that we all share issues and concerns and it's in the knowledge of what's happening here or there that we can build and grow as a community.  So where you might not think that what's happening in Norton Shores has no effect on what's going on in Egelston, it's simply the furthest thing from the truth.  We are all unique to our neighborhoods, but we are one when it comes to Muskegon.  We have a lot to be proud of as one.  So, with that reflection let's move on to todays' story.  


Join Our Parks on Facebook

The Our Parks Initiative in Muskegon is a group coming together to improve the grounds and the experiences of our kids in what's offered in the parks with both equipment and programming.  It's a project that's been in the works for a couple years on the East side of town and of course, like everything everywhere when the pandemic hit, it got slowed way down but never went away because of the beliefs of the people organizing it and the purpose in which they are working to improve the quality of life for younger people and families who want to utilize the parks.  It's not only their purpose to beautify and improve the parks, but to help bring back some of the togetherness that they remember as a kid when everything seemed to circle around the park, the ball game and the friends and neighbors all keeping up with one another. As we've grown into an age where anyone can be face to face digitally, it's truly needed for people to come together and talk minus the ability to communicate through a keyboard and harkening back to a simpler time once in a while...well, there's an awful lot of good that can come of that for kids along with all the modern conveniences.

There's been some fundraising going on.  Real boots on the ground stuff.  Can drives, some business have contributed to the beginnings of things.  A group of volunteers are handling the work as it comes and trying to recruit others.  One area where the modern things meet the traditional sense of neighborhood togetherness is working in tandem well is the use of social media.  The Our Parks Initiative has been very good at recruiting through Facebook and as awareness grows, so too will the efforts.  While focused on the East side of things in town now, they hope one day too to be able to extend that into other areas that need help and where they find people who don't mind getting a little dirty in the renovation of a park that adds so much to their neighborhood.

I met up with the group organizer Pete Mosher and one of his committee members Darcie Pace at the Dog House Saloon on their patio to learn a little more about the work and purpose, take a listen.   


This is how we grow as a community and how we work together to find a solution.  All it takes is the spark of an idea to get the ball rolling and a little elbow grease to find others who are looking for a chance to get in on it.  In the process, a lot of things happen.  We find new community organizers.  Those who pitch in find a purpose.  Those who benefit might not notice right off the bat at how something has changed for the better, but in time, they will see by example what a group like the Our Parks Initiative has begun and maybe they too will find a mission and repeat the steps taken here.  The is the fabric of Muskegon and this is why we love highlighting the amazing work of others!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Meet James Coffee - A Man With a Strong Message From Within

 

Life for any of us brings change.  For some of us change happens when least expected and for others, change comes with age, experience and some trial and error.  It's the one constant for everyone this thing called change....and there's no avoiding it.  It's how we make use of that change and where we take it when it happens that matters and in the case of James Coffee of Muskegon, that change is being spoken loudly to hopefully help others on their path.





James is a Muskegon guy, born and bred, his life has taken him all over though.  Places like Flint, Detroit. Cleveland and more.  He's gone to his fair share of "tough city's" and he's gone through some "dark times" like most any of us.  While elusive on the "dark times" to a degree, which is perfectly ok, the message today is pretty clear that no matter the circumstance that got James where he is today, a remarkable transformation has taken place within him and he's taken to a unique way of sharing what's happened by using his internal thoughts as a message to other young men and hopefully, his message of being broken and retuning to hope resonates. 

Mirror Talk Vission on Facebook

Mirror Talk Vission is what James shares with the world.  He finds places that others "don't dare to go" and he speaks to himself on camera about the real world situations that are being faced.  Guns, drugs, gangs, killings....they are very real not only here in Muskegon but anywhere.  Through James discussions with himself as if he's looking in a mirror, he's discussing consequences, reality and the overly frightening thought of the loss of young people who have really not even been given a chance to let life begin yet.  It's done in the hopes that if just one young person hears the message and walks away from the choices they face when it comes to their involvement with gangs and greed....it's a life saved and that's a step in the right direction.  James' talks on social media are very candid, they are very honest and to the point and they are a resonating cry to youth to stop the senselessness of violence that plagues parts of any community.


We met up in Rowan Park in Muskegon Heights to hear a little more about James story and why he's out there crusading to help others and dig themselves out of a situation before they can no longer.  Take a listen to this passionate young man and his desire to being change.  


We all come to crossroads in life.  We all take dramatic turns and we too all can pick and choose what to do with those changes as they come.  With James, it's a quest to share his life experiences to younger people and help them avoid some mistakes that can be made along the way, and there's not only his past experience that leads into this, he's got others very close being effected directly.  Change is seemingly difficult.  Change for some is impossible and to others it's an insurmountable task...such a hill to climb, most don't even try.  James, is trying.  It's the efforts on one that can lead to change and if that work leads to the safe harbor for one other individual, it's a mission that was on task.  I invite you to follow James and learn more about his message.  Click on James photo above to follow him on Facebook.