Above, Alan Steinman, Dave Alexander, and Roger Spoelman are regular Ride United participants.
Walking and Riding with United Way of the Lakeshore
BY CHRISTINE ROBERE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, UNITED WAY OF THE LAKESHORE
Take a walk, meet a neighbor!
This summer, three neighborhoods in Muskegon Heights, Michigan will have a flood of fluorescent green shirts parading down their streets and knocking on their doors. These individuals are coming to “Light Up The City” of Muskegon Heights, by engaging their neighbors with conversations centered around neighborhood safety.
“Light Up the City promotes public safety by bringing awareness to the role individuals play in observing what is going on in their neighborhoods to aid in deterring crime,” says Amanda Grover, Program Director of the Muskegon Urban Safety Corps.
The mission of Light Up The City is a collaborative effort of several groups and organizations in our community. Consumers Energy has taken the lead in the organization and planning of Light Up The City, recruiting partners such as the United Way of the Lakeshore, the Michigan State Police Department, the Muskegon Heights Police Department, the City of Muskegon Heights, the Muskegon Urban Safety Corps, and several community members in the Muskegon Heights area to help make it happen.
Rich Houtteman, Consumers Energy’s Lakeshore Area Manager says “Consumers Energy cares for the communities it serves and Light Up The City is a great platform to coordinate an effort with other great local agencies to connect with Muskegon Heights neighbors.”
On July 10, Light Up The City volunteers will be meeting at Bethlehem Park, located at the southwest corner of Summit and Park, at 5:30 p.m., to inform volunteers about the route they will be walking, go over talking points to touch on when discussing safe neighborhoods, and hand out resource bags to give to every household during walk. These resource bags include a light bulb for exterior lights to add to neighborhood safety, 2-1-1 cards to access services, prescription services cards and more. The group will then set out on their walk to spread the word on how we can all work together to create a safe community.
If you are interested and would like to find out more information, please call the Muskegon Urban Safety Corps office at (231) 724-6154 or go to the Light Up The City Muskegon Heights Facebook Page for updates. Additional walks will take place July 24 and August 7 at 5:30 p.m. (locations TBD). Past walks include a June 19 walk through the Westside neighborhood, and three walks during the summer of 2018.
8th Annual Ride United – no rain and lots of smiles!
The 8th Annual Ride United event was held on June 15 with 150 participants riding six, 25, 50, or 100 miles. Several days of rain made marking the courses a challenge, but it cleared up in time for our riders.
The event raises funds for United Way of the Lakeshore programs; this year riders were able to choose a focus for their individual fundraising, from Health, Income Stability, Education, and the new Bike Share program. Mark your calendars for next year’s ride: June 20, 2020.
Above, Christine Robere on the bike share program bike.
Ride United started as part of the One in 21 Healthy Muskegon County initiative. Over the past several years, hundreds in our community have worked at improving their health through smoking cessation, healthier eating, and more physical activity.
One of the programs that United Way funding supported was The Health Project's Lakeshore Lung free community smoking cessation classes. These classes, called “Freedom from Smoking,” were offered to the community through referrals from the Johnson Cancer Center, the Mercy Heart Center, and local pulmonary doctors.
Tom is a prime example of the success of this program. He had tried every treatment available to the community, in a desperate search for something that fit his needs. He attended the Freedom from Smoking class on two separate occasions and has been successful in cutting his two pack a day habit down to two to four cigarettes per day. To most this would not be a success, but to Tom this means the world. Program leaders are sure that as he gains confidence in his success, he will continue to work on becoming a non-smoker. In the class, Tom learned what his triggers were, had a plan developed that would work for him, and got set up with skills to deal with slips and relapses.
Above lower right, United Way's Oceana Director Barbara Sims with some happy bike riders.
Day of Caring: the biggest volunteer event in Muskegon County needs you!
For 26 years, Day of Caring has been the day we work together with hundreds of volunteers giving their time and talents to improve our community. This year’s Day of Caring will be on September 6 with projects focused on our ALICE population in three different ways.
We are helping Daycare Providers that care for our at-risk populations, single parent households, and our honorable veterans. Projects include minor outdoor home repairs/improvements, landscaping/yard work, creating care packages, building playground equipment, and working at local parks.
In order to make Day of Caring a successful for our local families, many volunteers are needed in a variety of roles throughout the day. To learn more about the opportunities available, visit our Get Connected online volunteer center here.
United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at (231) 722-3134. Learn more about United Way of the Lakeshore at UnitedWayLakeshore.org, like the organization on Facebook and receive up to date information from Twitter at twitter.com/uwlakeshore.