50 Years of Peace

With 50 Stories & Snapshots

As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary, we are excited to share a collection of stories and snapshots that highlight the ways Peace has transformed thousands of lives.

1 Bonnie Billups, Jr.

Over the last 50 years, Peace has changed thousands of people’s lives—including mine. I’ve been at Peace most of my life. I will never forget my first introduction to Rose Martin, and all that I learned from her no-nonsense approach and steadfast commitment to helping people.

2 Rose Martin

Rose Martin, Peace Neighborhood Center’s longest serving Executive Director, left a lasting impression in our community and helped save hundreds of people’s lives. Her life’s work and philosophy continues to inspire us at Peace, and is central to our approach to helping people work to overcome extraordinary obstacles in their lives.

3 Snapshot from 1983

Executive Director Rose Martin touching base with Nondi Orazi, who served as Peace Assistant Director for 4 years.

4 ➧ 2020 Peace Parent of the Year

A dedicated and devoted parent, Aisha embodies the vision of Peace Neighborhood Center and all the hopes we have for our families.

5 ➧ 2020 Peace Outstanding Youth

We help young people find their greatness and celebrate their accomplishments. A model of positivity, hard work, and resilience, we know Blessing is poised to do great things.

6 ➧ Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson credits Peace Neighborhood Center with helping him find his voice and life’s purpose as an educator, mentor, and father. A “Peace Kid” and former Peace Program Director, he currently serves as a Program Manager for the Houston Health Department, where he develops curriculum for public school teachers on how to create a healthy environment that promotes positive behavior and helps prevent crime.

7 ➧ Nayan K.

As she starts a new career in a new city, a recent college graduate from Central Michigan shares her appreciation for the continuing support she received at Peace throughout her childhood and education, which made it all possible.

8 ➧ Kevin Hudson

Many of the lessons Kevin Hudson learned while working at Peace Neighborhood Center years ago still translate to his current work supporting students as a Class Principal at Pioneer High School.

9 ➧ Nicole Perry Banks

Nicole Banks, an Associate Dean at U-M, is grateful for the consistent investment Peace Neighborhood Center made in her at each level of her growth and education. “Always a Peace kid,” she has fond memories of the experiences that opened up new worlds to her, and credits the life lessons and values she learned at Peace, including fairness and a responsibility to the greater community, in helping to shape her career, “which is fueled by the values of access, diversity, inclusion and service to larger communities.”

10 ➧ Dee Burris

Thankful for the support she received as a young girl at Peace Neighborhood Center, Denis “Dee” Burris continues to stay in touch with Peace and Bonnie Billups. She also pays it forward professionally, working as a social worker with the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Washtenaw County Child Protective Services.

11 ➧ Peace Summer Day Camp

Established in 1976, our Summer Day Camp is Peace Neighborhood Center’s longest-running program. Over the years, 1,703 young people have participated in our camp programs, where they have enjoyed a range of fun summer experiences, including: games & recreational activities, a variety of enrichment groups, and local field trips to zoos, parks and museums. All have opened up a wider world of new possibilities and experiences for youth they otherwise would not have the chance to explore.

12 ➧ Snapshot: Peace’s Ninth Grade Academy (est. 2014)

Helping Peace youth get to college starts early—by building a culture of academic expectations and achievement from 1st grade through high school and on to college.

Introduced in 2014 as part of Peace’s summer programming, Peace’s Ninth Grade Academy helps our 8th grade graduates successfully transition from middle school to high school, ready to succeed. During the summer, rising 9th graders are introduced to Peace’s College & Career Prep Club, where they learn specific study skills, what classes to take, academic expectations, extracurricular opportunities, and more. They also develop leadership skills as Peace’s “Counselors-in-Training”, where they have the opportunity to lead Summer Day Camp activities and mentor younger Peace youth. The ultimate goal: to ensure Peace 9th graders start high school ready to succeed academically and can participate in extracurricular activities—all so they have a well-rounded high school experience. One that positions them to succeed in college.

13 ➧ Peace Summer Camp seeds long-term friendships and future careers

Anabel Cruz and Raven Vawters first met thirteen years ago at Peace’s Leadership Development Camp (LDC), our summer program for middle school students. They both have fond memories of their time as teen camp counselors and the skills they learned. Today they both serve as Youth Program Coordinators at Peace and are looking forward to another fun summer at Peace—as colleagues.

14 ➧ Transformational Road Trips

An important component of Peace Neighborhood Center’s summer programs is the opportunity for youth to explore new places beyond our local community. In previous summers, a select group of older Peace youth have had the opportunity to take an extended road trip across our country. Beyond fun, these road trips offer young people transformational experiences that have a lasting impact in helping to shape their identity and future.

Share your favorite Peace memory!

Over the last 50 years, Peace has impacted thousands of people’s lives—not only the youth, adults, and families we serve, but also hundreds of volunteers, interns, staff members, board members, donors, and community members. 

We’d love to hear from you! Please share a favorite memory or your own connection to the Peace Neighborhood Center Family via the link below—whether you support us annually, volunteer, or have participated in Peace programs. We would love to collect at least 50 special moments and messages to share on our website and social media.

If you have a photo to share, please email your image to info@peaceneighborhoodcenter.org with “Peace 50th Anniversary” and your name in the subject line.

Invest in Peace's future and the people we serve

The impact Peace has had in thousands of lives would not be possible without the continuing generosity of supporters like you. Please consider supporting Peace’s 50th Campaign. Your gift will enable Peace to make important long-term investments in our programs, staff, and the young people and families we serve. Together, we can make our community better and break the cycle of poverty—one person, one family at a time.