“The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from The Tree”
Community Building starts from within. The Cody Rouge Community has spent over a decade building from the bottom up. We’ve been blessed to have committed senior citizens in the community leading various efforts of improvement. This week’s Senior Citizen spotlight are my parents Willie Peoples and Maria Peoples.
Willie and Maria Peoples chose to move into the Cody Rouge Neighborhood in the early 1970’s. Since that time they have both been involved in efforts to improve their community. Mr.Peoples began in community work by becoming involved in community work as a block club leader and by leading Alcoholics Anonymous meetings over 19 years ago. Since then, he has been leading meetings multiple times per week at different locations around the city, including Cody Rouge. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Peoples’ dedication to leading those meetings persists.“It’s not about me, it’s about helping others,” he says when asked how he has the energy to keep going. Mr. Peoples is a dedicated church member at New Central Westside Baptist Church on W. Chicago and Evergreen, where he serves as a trustee. His involvement in church is only strengthened by his community work. He has been instrumental in having abandoned homes in the neighborhood torn down, by any means necessary. “I’m downtown at least twice a month,” he exclaims, speaking of his experience petitioning for blight removal in the neighborhood. Mr. Peoples’ dedication is matched by his wife, Maria Peoples.
Mrs. Peoples began in community work as a liaison between Detroit Public Schools, the juvenile detention system and the department of social services. Though never officially a teacher, her work with youth in the school system has long been heralded by students and administration alike. Now, Mrs. Peoples work is as busy after co-founding and leading Senior Connect, an outreach organization for senior resources and education. Though initially trained and employed by Henry Ford Health system as a Community Health Worker, Mrs.People has often been faced with doing the work she does for free. “I like what I’m doing--it’s not about the money,” she states. Even in being faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, she and other Senior Connect members have found ways to impact the community without leaving their neighborhood, conducting wellness checks and providing other members with supplies. Never one to be stopped by adversity, she states “If someone needs something and the other has it, we’ll sit in on the porch and they can come pick it up.”
Willie and Maria Peoples are a force in the community. Doing separate by co-effective work in the Cody Rouge, and unwilling to be stopped any time soon. “I’m a server,” Mrs. Peoples states when asked why she is so committed to the work she does. Mr. Peoples, when asked why he still volunteers tirelessly in the community states, “I know what it [Cody Rouge] was like, so I want to see it come back.” Cody Rouge is great because of the dedicated residents, like Mr. and Mrs. Peoples--residents of 45 years--who never give up on making it a better place to live. Current and future residents can both look to them for inspiration, and thank them for their commitment to community work.