Sophia: It’s quiet and safe here

Sophia has lived in the Westcore Neighborhood since 1997. Originally from Texas, she’s the mother of four girls and knows most of the people on her street. When asked what she likes about the neighborhood, she said, “It’s quiet, safe, and in a good location to get to schools, parks, the library, and Tulip Lane.”

She also noted that neighbors here help each other out. “I bought my house when I was young and people here looked out for me, made sure I was alright.”

Being a good neighbor, to Sophia, is simply being friendly to each other. And who’s the role model in the neighborhood? Pastor Jonathan, from New Community/Fourth Reformed Church. “He knows everybody and everything,” said Sophia. “I’ve never seen a pastor out in the neighborhood like him. Everybody knows him. He’s the Mother Theresa of our neighborhood!”

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Genevieve: A place where you can depend on your neighbors

Genevieve is comfortable in her house. Originally owned by her father, who bought it in 1960, she bought it from him in 1990 and has lived here ever since. A retiree who likes to read and crochet, Genevieve enjoys the quietness and security of Westcore Neighborhood.

“This is a place where you can depend on someone when you’re in trouble. If something happens, you have neighbors to support you.”

Genevieve learned the importance of relationships in the neighborhood after noticing a dog loose in the street numerous times. Concerned that it would get hit by a car, but not knowing whom it belonged to, she called the police. Pastor Jonathan of New Community/Fourth Reformed Church knew the story of the loose pup—and its owner: Sophia, who lived down the street. One day Jonathan and Sophia stopped by Genevieve’s house and he introduced the two women. Even though Sophia wasn’t too happy that Genevieve called the police, she realized that Genevieve was only trying to help. They have been friends ever since.

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Charlie: It’s all about timing and patience

If you asked Charlie what’s special about the Westcore Neighborhood, he’d tell you a “God story”—evidence of how the Spirit moves in the neighborhood.

A recent Hope College grad who attends New Community/Fourth Reformed Church and lives with Pastor Jonathan Brownson and his wife, Jeannette, Charlie was attracted to the house on West 15th Street that will soon be our community center.

He and his friends had approached the church, which owns the house, with a proposal to fix it up if they could live there. But the church had no resources for renovation. Charlie learned how critical timing is: People tend to want to rush into things and get tasks accomplished. “But God’s timing is different,” he says. “It’s incredible how many people are now involved in fixing the house up. It’s way cooler than if we had done it two years ago.”

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Arthur: The people are friendly and good to me.

On summer evenings, you’ll find Arthur sitting on his porch watching the world go by. He brings a bit of Southern hospitality to Westcore Neighborhood.

A Mississippi native, Arthur has lived in Michigan since he was in the service. Upon arriving in Detroit en route to California, he learned that his grandfather passed away. After visiting his widowed grandmother, he never left Michigan.

Why come to Holland from Detroit? He first heard about it years ago in a mail order catalog. Eventually he made his way here through a network of friends.

When asked what he likes about living here, Arthur said, “The neighbors are real nice. People are friendly and good to me.”

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