Helping hands from friends, neighbors brighten life of Village Green resident

Suzanne Piasecki spends most of her days hunkered safe inside her Village Green mobile home. The world outside is overwhelming for the woman who said she is bi-polar and also suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. When a recent inspection of her home revealed a list of repairs needed to be done within 30 days, Piasecki said she started to panic. "I live on $668 a month and lot rent is $385,' said the 51-year-old resident as she cuddled her dog, Scruffy. Once she pays off the rest of her bills, Piasecki said she is left with about $2.
Becky Vargo
May 24, 2011


So coming up with the money — or even the energy to do the work required to keep her home in the park — was almost more than she could handle.
Piasecki said it wasn’t always this way.

Piasecki often leans on her good friend, Robin Smith, who also lives in the park. And it was Smith, in a conversation with another friend, who revealed the problems that Piasecki faced.

Through that conversation emerged a friendly, although unknown face — Mike Kellison, another resident in the park. A painter by trade, Kellison has worked on several homes in the park. Facing hard times of his own, due to the economy, Kellison said he didn’t want to see someone else lose their home because of financial problems, so he offered to help.

In late April, Kellison power-washed the single-wide trailer that has been Piasecki’s home since 2003. Kellison also contacted Jeff Verwey, resource coordinator for Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, to see if there was any way the local organization could help. Verwey said the timing couldn’t be better.

Recently, the local Habitat group received a $91,000 grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation to fund a program called “A Brush With Kindness.” Verwey said painting the trailer and repairing the steps were just the type of project which would fit into the program — so he had Piasecki fill out an application and, on Saturday, a group of volunteers from the First Reformed Church in Grand Haven descended on the property and went to work.

“It’s a great way for groups like First Reformed to connect with Habitat for Humanity and do projects around the community,” said Julie Klaassen, a member of the church and a board member for the Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity.

Verwey said the Brush With Kindness program has funds for nine or 10 more projects. Anyone interested in filling out an application should call the Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity office at 846-1505.


To read more of this story, see today’s print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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