Children, Families, and Individuals
affected by social and economic problems
Thank you for helping Peace strengthen our community and provide pathways to healing
— one person, one family at a time!
Absolute Bliss. Just how often in life have you found yourself experiencing such a thing? I know that in a world seemingly filled with pain, it can be easy to miss or forget about those moments. They may get drowned out by bad news, worry, or the stress that can often invade our everyday existence. It can be easy to lose sight of our blessings, leaving us feeling lost or overwhelmed by a world we can’t control or understand.
That is why I feel honored to be a part of what happens here at Peace Neighborhood Center. Every day, I get to witness moments of absolute bliss, growth, and grace—understanding how important those moments are to each individual I have the privilege to know.
One example that comes to mind happened last summer on one of our Transformational Road Trips. These trips take Peace youth on a journey to a place they otherwise might not be able to go, offering them experiences and a view of the world beyond what they previously thought possible. When we finally got to Florida after traveling 1,400 miles in the van, nine boys got to see the ocean—many for the first time. And one of those moments of absolute bliss came roaring to life. These boys, who often try to act older than they are, poured out of the van, kicked off their shoes, and raced across the sand to play in the surf. All with gigantic smiles. When I think of all that we try to accomplish on these trips, I can’t help but think back to the pure joy of that moment shining on those young faces. Absolute bliss.
What about closer to home? Here at Peace, I also get to witness moments of grace and real growth in all the lives we touch. In our new Wellness Program, we help address a lot of trauma and pain, by giving parents the space to open up and heal within a caring, supportive environment. Even there, with all the heartache that’s addressed, we still witness moments of grace, as parents listen to and support one another. And recently, when a much-loved six-year-old girl passed away unexpectedly, we witnessed so much grace in our community’s response—including the many ways our own Peace families stepped up to wrap a grieving family with love and caring support.
So when friends try to remind me that this world is a dark place, I cannot agree. I’ve seen moments when our kids experience true joy; witnessed too much growth; and been moved by the grace and strength among our Peace Family to be entirely pessimistic about the world or its future. At Peace Neighborhood Center we always seek to find the greatness in everyone and to be present every day—to capture those moments when someone’s smile or their offer to help says it all.
As I look ahead, I see more great things on Peace’s horizon—more lives touched and more souls healed. We have the opportunity to invest in a new initiative and footprint in Ypsilanti Township. It’s a unique opportunity to bring the Peace model and our 51 years of experience to an underserved area of Washtenaw County—and partner with other local agencies to help Ypsilanti residents take steps toward their own transformational journey. While big news for Peace, helping to bring about change for more families in our wider community is an inevitable step in the legacy of growth and service that Rose Martin helped steer this organization toward decades ago.
Peace Family, we are so thankful for your continuing support of all that we do. Countless moments like the ones we share here are possible because of your continued commitment and investment in our work. We could not do it without you. And that is my bliss, my hope—that by working together, we have the power to change lives. Thank you!
Bonnie Billups, Jr.
As we face the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to work with our youth and families—many of whom have experienced extraordinary hardships. We continue to prioritize programming, as well as invest in new initiatives:
- Academic support for youth, including investments in early literacy and child development
- Expanded food distribution and emergency assistance
- A new wellness program to improve our youth and families’ physical, nutritional, and mental health
- Transformational road trips that give older youth extraordinary learning experiences beyond our neighborhood
Please consider a gift to Peace Neighborhood Center through the secure link below. With your continuing support, Peace can continue to change lives. Thank you!
helped through Washtenaw County
in youth service
60 young adults
guided into college