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Changemakers

The Changemakers We Need

The holiday season is a time of hope, remembrance, and celebration. But sometimes, this season of joy is interrupted with reminders of our long to-do lists, news cycles of violence, and the pain of hope unfulfilled. When this happens, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and believe that the small things, like meeting a new neighbor or joining a neighborhood group, aren’t what makes a difference. 


At Great Lakes Urban we see everyday that this isn’t true. It is exactly the work of connecting, caring, and collaborating together to make a brighter future for all. When neighbors come together, it has the power to create resilient communities, one neighborhood at a time.


Over the past year, we’ve captured the stories of how Neighborhood Connectors champion hope, dignity, and belonging. We’ve seen relationships that took years to cultivate begin to move forward, showing that in our era of immediate results, slow movement is what produces lasting change. Catch a glimpse of these stories below.


Click here for an overview of connecting work in West Michigan.


"I've seen neighbors choose to do things together and be a part of each other's milestones of life and celebrations, and that's been beautiful to me."



Watch this story where a Connector in Bates Place is mobilizing neighbors to grow food, belonging, and hope.


“We got involved in the garden program and it really feels like everyone truly cares about each other.”



Watch this story where a Connector organizes mural festivals in the Eastcore neighborhood.


“The whole goal was for people to come here and feel together. Everyone is welcome here right in Eastcore.”



Watch this story where a Connector turned an abandoned home into a center for connection and community.


“We don’t just want this to be a neighborhood you live in, but a family you’re a part of.”



We give thanks to Amy Mares and Raul Garcia with Westcore Neighbors, Lori Appeldoorn and Jake Norris with 3Sixty, and Jerry Baker, Annika Shante, Tecca Jones, and Wayne Squire with Bates Place Neighbors for inviting us into their neighborhoods and connecting work.

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