Welcome to the Village Summit

March 29, Village Summit has a New Website donated by the efforts of 'Give Camp' and Jillian Winn

The New Site is http://www.villagesummit.org/
Check out our new site, blog, play chess, and check out our cool links

M. Brown

March 26, 2010  The Ramp is recompleted!  It only needs inspection and Village Summit is back in service! Believe.

PicasaWeb Slideshow

This slide show is dedicated to Ed Brown and his crew who built the ramp for Village Summit in November and improved it in March.
Thanks go to Cindy and Mark Everett who helped us dig twenty 42 inch holes on a cold Saturday morning in November.  Big props go to Dennis McCarthy, Jeff Taylor, Enrique Castillo for helping landscape the ramp.  Gracias, compadre, goes to Prudencio "Rocky" Mora for making me work when I was cold, making me dig when I was tired, teaching me to mix concrete when my back hurt, and for taking charge of the rock wall when I didn't know what I was doing, for believing and most of all for being a friend who said, "Mr. Marcus got work then I got work, too!"  Thank you, Lansing community for your support, advice and donations.  Village Summit will open soon and our children and families will be served.

March 21, 2010

We have to make part of the ramp that is 36 inches into five feet.  Our city approved plan was 'mis'-approved.  This requirement was missed.  We will acquiesce.  So far, we know of two facilities that will be hosting programs for children over the spring break.  The Foster Community Center and the Boys and Girls club will be open over the break and will be able to provide positive activities for vacationing students.

March 15, 2010 Good News and Bad News

We have the bathroom approved!!! Hurray!!! We just found out that our handicap ramp has to be changed.  Grrr! We will comply and try to operate outside of the center during the break.  We are determined to open and realize that 'you can't fight city hall'.  But maybe, we can get city hall to realize our conviction and the need for the services we can provide.  We are trying to remember that progress is made with large and small steps...  We continue to move forward.

March 11, 2010  Impatience...

We have built a handicap ramp, with plans approved the by city, complete with commercial grade postings. (Thanks Rocky for pushing me to dig and clean out holes.)  We have a bathroom with handrails, turn around room, a special handicap toilet, and a toilet paper dispenser set to city specifications.  Now we wait... For city inspections which have to be done in a certain order.  We hope to reopen before Lansing School District goes on break.  We want to provide a fun, positive, constructive and educational activities to children and families.  We humbly wait... Knowing that last year at this time a child died from alcohol poisoning from having access to 'not so positive adults'.  We wait...  Knowing that youth violence is deadly and our mediators and mentors could be having a positive impact.  We wait... For a little while...

February 21, 2010

PicasaWeb Slideshow


MRULE to the rescue, again.  Students came out over the last few weeks and put their proverbial foot down.  They went to the mat and attacked the condition of the floors at Village Summit February 15, 2010.  This slideshow shows the make over they brought to the floors.

PicasaWeb Slideshow

This is a slide show showing the evolution of the bathroom at Village Summit.  We are waiting on inspections and to get a mirror for the restroom.

February 7, 2010

Bathroom is done!!! We just have to get handrails.  We are moving forward and onward.

Village Summit

February 6, 2010

MRULE students from MSU came by and cleaned, painted and removed furniture from the first floor.  We are ready to strip and sand floors.  We can't wait to the doors open again.  City inspection for the plumbing on Monday.

February 2, 2010

The walls, painting and tile in the bathroom are done.  Thanks, J. Barrow, J. Sylar, and P. Torok.  We just need to put in toilet, sink and handrail. We meet with Americorp representative to start work on community garden on Thursday.  MSU students are coming out on Saturday.

January 30, 2010

Breakfast at "Gone Wired"

Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday in support of our Fund Raiser at Gone Wired.  We raised $350 towards operating Village Summit.  We are close to getting the restroom done. The walls are rebuilt and painted.  We are now waiting for the plumber to install the toliet and sink fixture. 

Redemption Center?

Foreclosed House Becomes Home For Closer Community

A ray of sunshine appears in the gloom that has shrouded the mortgage industry.   A home previously owned by a retired librarian was foreclosed upon last year.  This is a story that is echoed through out America in these days of ‘un-proclaimed’ recession.  (As if not calling it a recession makes this nightmare economy better.)  What makes this house any different than all the other dreams abandoned and vacated because of the economy?  This structure is having its dream quality restored, resurrected and redirected.  Through the efforts of a teacher, a health care professional, Jill Powell of Tito Reyes Realty and an enthusiastic neighborhood, an innovative idea to deal with an empty dwelling becomes a nest of hopes fulfilling the impoverished and improving the quality of life for children in the community.

There is a house on 119 East Barnes Avenue, right off of South Washington.  This large wood frame house is close to one hundred years old and possesses a character and beauty only older homes wear.  This house has lain vacant for the last nine months but is on the verge of giving birth to a gift that will impact all the children and adults in the neighborhood. 

“Micro Community Center!”  Veteran Lansing teacher and next-door neighbor Marcus Brown exclaims.  “Why let some landlord come in and exploit this house?  Why let it get torn down after scavengers steal the copper and the siding?  Why not put it to a purpose that can benefit the children in this neighborhood and become a resource to the adults?  Why not turn it into a ‘micro community center’?  Where children can get tutored and have access to computers and the Internet and parents can work on resumes or get help with finding jobs.  We can invite visiting dentists, doctors, lawyers and counselors on a weekly basis; people without transportation can access support that they could not normally reach.  We could allow officers, on the beat, a mini station to meet people with problems.  There are so many positive things that can grow out of this house and be of benefit to all those concerned: male mentoring, counseling, summer lunch programs, public service satellite…”

119 East Barnes is located in an area bordered by Baker, Cedar, Mount Hope, and Washington.  The residents in this neighborhood are not very diverse in economic background but range strongly in ethnicity and in age.  This area has gone through a number of changes over the years and some of its residents are experiencing issues with unemployment and poverty.  “A resource like this can change the direction the neighborhood is moving in from within.”  (Currently, there are no schools, centers or public service resources located within this area. “We don’t even have a public mailbox!”)

Respiratory therapist, Chitra Pulliam (co-sponsor of the project) says, “A lot of the houses are owned by landlords taking out of this neighborhood. This is a chance for something good to be put back in.  The children in this neighborhood need and deserve a safe place to go to get help.  My husband and I have lived here for close to fifteen years and seen so many children come and go and wished we could do more than loan out dictionaries or give away popsicles.  This is a chance for us to put our money where our mouth is and to invest in our neighborhood.”

Neighbors in the area are excited about the idea of having a resource where children can get help with homework within walking distance.  “It would be nice to have it near; you really don’t want your kids walking all the way to the library by themselves.  It would be helpful (also) to have a place to make copies or get help filling out applications.”  Even the previous owner has expressed support for the idea. 

There is still a lot of work to be done with zoning, code compliance, painting and repairs, but neighbors, volunteers, and local business have pledged to help make this “Micro Community Center” become a reality.  “My wife and I are committed and have put in a lot of hours talking with the city about permits and researching non profit status.  Now that we have the house purchased.  We are ready to put in more hours with clean up and fix up. We look forward to this spring when we can redeem all this work for the children by having a place where they learn to play chess and do homework.  We’ve taken money from our retirement to make this possible and I know there is no way our investment won’t pay off.  We literally look forward to keeping a ‘neighborly’ eye on our investment and watching it grow.  It’s a dream but maybe others will take this idea and do the same with empty houses in their neighborhoods…”

If you have questions, want to help, or would like to donate computers or other resources please e-mail Marcus Brown at villagesummit@hotmail.com . Physical labor, clerical assistance, and contact with politicians would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Friends, Family, and Supporters,

It is with pride and open hearts, we, the Brown and Pulliam Family, announce the grand opening of the Village Summit.  Village Summit is located at 119 E. Barnes, 2 blocks north of Mt. Hope and half a block east of Washington Village Summit will be open and available to community members for Internet and tutorial services.  It is our goal to provide valuable educational and technical resources to everyone in our community.   The center will be run with regular hours and by appointment. 

We are a non-profit organization and rely on community support and volunteerism.  (We are always looking for volunteers.)  If you need help or want to help, please contact us with your information.  Additional services planned to begin soon include: a tool loan program, poetry night, movie night, and we are looking for someone to lead a book club. 

Free books, teaching of chess, basic computer skills and the potential for music lessons will be available soon.  Seniors who live near the center are invited to share the harvest of tomatoes, peppers, and greens from our garden.  It is our goal to make this center a place where everyone feels welcome and useful services can be supplied.  If you have any ideas want a tour or would like to help out in any way please feel free to call or email us.  We can be reached at 517-575-5749 or at villagesummit@hotmail.com. 

As an additional service available to teachers, educators, poets, artists, and writers a free ‘atelier’ will be available. Supplied with books, music, peace, snacks, and hopefully a muse for contemplating, reading, writing, composing and creating.   (Fax, copy, and scanning services are forthcoming.)
On June 13th, at 12:00 please join us for our grand opening and share our hope for the future.  Bring the kids.  There will be a book give away and music.

Looking forward to seeing you,

Chitra, Marcus,
Marcus Jr., Alexandra, Andres, Tariq and Maya

It takes a village…

Save The Children (written after death of Chicago youth)

Another child dies…  We can’t blame his affiliations or his socio-economic status…  We can’t say that he did not have a wise and intelligent family to care for him… We can’t use the traditional excuses that ease our minds and puts a secure distance between this child and our own. This child was, by all accounts, the child we all want: positive, well mannered, intelligent, good, and respectful. Who do we blame- when an honor roll student: involved with the church, who wrote affirmations and who tried to move forward- dies; beaten by other children?  Should there be an ‘indictment-charge-them-as-adults-no-bail-throw-them-under-the-jail’ push for justice; so we can sigh, forget and put this behind us - until the next child dies?  Does this solve the problem?  How have we gotten, here? Babies making babies to child killing child, is this a sign of our times or have we become so callous and pessimistic as to turn our back on children? 

There is a song by Marvin Gaye called “Save The Children” : (I just want to ask a question…Who really cares? To save a world in despair… Who really cares?) This song keeps running through my head along with the grandfather’s comment about anger in children’s hearts and praying for their forgiveness. (There'll come a time, when the world won't be singin'… Flowers won't grow, bells won't be ringin'… Who really cares? Who's willing to try to save a world… That's destined to die.)  I’m a grown, ex-Marine, hardened by the streets of Detroit and numbed by years of seeing tragedy, while teaching in urban schools but I feel my eyes water, when I think about the plight of our children today.

Do we really need to be so direct as to have a ‘Save the Children’ movement?  What does that say about us, when we have to be motivated; as if we’re saving trees or keeping litter in its place? (Can you hear that verse again? --"Who really cares, who's willing to try".)  We... Are... “Human...” And it is counter intuitive to think that we have to persuade ourselves to save our children.  Maybe this disproves Darwin... Or maybe we are headed for extinction and Armageddon.  I cannot see how any adult, black or white, liberal or conservative, rich or poor cannot be touched by these events or see that something is skewed with our world.  Out of self-survival, we have to realize that what happens to one group does not occur in a vacuum or fishbowl but has the potential and the history to spread from Detroit in the eighties to Columbine in the nineties, from crack to meth, from ‘those’ kids to Our babies. Compassion, empathy, and charity are really selfishness to a greater ‘us’.  It is really looking out for number one by looking out for everyone. ("Save all the children, save the babies, save the babies.")  Something needs to change, not just in our world or our schools but also in our hearts to make us want to change the plight of our children.  We must each take some small or great challenge and make it ours, change things for the better.  Even if its just keeping an eye on children as they wait for the bus or pushing politicians to support education, we must do something different and more to save all “our” babies, to save all our souls. ("Yes, to save a world, yea, save our sweet world.")

 Marcus E. Brown, Villagesummit@hotmail.com

At 42:53, I speak about Village Summit shut down.


At  1:56:00, I speak about fundraising and city support


This is article about J. Collins that brings up Village Summit.


this is the article about mom cited by state for watching kids before bus comes.


Derrion Albert, Chicago honor student slain.


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