By Carolyn C Coulter
Peace House is a community non-profit organization made up of two families, the DeWaeles (Jen and Mike), the Mechtenberg-Berrigans (Molly and Jerry) and their kids. These two families have been close friends since they graduated from Kalamazoo College in the mid-1990s. The two love duos went separate ways after college to explore the world at their own pace. They came back together. In 2005 with hopes to go back to Kalamazoo Michigan and find work they would all enjoy and would also give back to their community.
In 2006, the pairs came back to the Eastside of Kalamazoo where they rented a home that would soon be one the homes that we know as Peace House. The founders sought out the Eastside of Kalamazoo after discussion with city council member Don Cooney, where they discovered that the Eastside had the best population for their plan and was an area with lower income families which who could benefit from the work Peace House would do.
By 2009, Peace House doors were open to the community. Peace House physically described, is two homes that come together through their joint backyards. The backyard of these two homes is where all the magic takes place. In this very grand backyard, there is a huge playground and deck which the founder built themselves thanks to a grant they received.
In the fall Peace House serves as an after-school program where they help students with homework. In the summer it’s a different game plan, Peace House becomes the communities’ day camp. This year Peace House launched their very first Youth Advisory Council for teens. In this council, the teens discuss positive decision-making skills while also building lifelong relationships with the others within the council. The council members are hired for the summer to assist with Peace House summer adventures.
The RAWK team are so grateful to have partnered with such a great organization who are giving so much to this community. Both the Peace House and the RAWK team encourage you, our readers to do the same. Think about it, you have the power to bring about change in your community, will you?
Photo by Kzoouncaged.com