Neighbor Spotlight: Sheena Walls

Meet Sheena Walls. A neighbor, single mother and community advocate, Sheena sits on AGR’s Neighborhood Advisory Committee and was recently sworn in as a member of The City of Grand Rapids Human Relations Committee.

Her incredible journey to community leadership, advocacy and homeownership is filled with twists and turns, “… [but] everything I do is for my kids,” she exclaimed. She dedicated herself to the process of buying a home for her family when the unexpected happened. They faced short-term homelessness after a devasting electrical fire in the house they were renting.

This did not stop Sheena. She could not give up on her dream of becoming a homeowner. Despite the housing shortage on her most recent attempt, she had an offer accepted on a home that she said was, “more than they had ever expected.”

Soon she was informed that the inspector had overlooked two hidden dangers found in other homes in 49507 – mold and asbestos. Both of her children struggle with asthma and she knew this situation could trigger it.

But if you’ve met Sheena, you know she brings a high level of resilience, tenacity, humility and positivity to everything she does. Her combined strengths and willingness to lean on her community ultimately changed everything for her family.

Sheena started searching for ways to remediate the mold and asbestos and found support through the Neighborhood Strong program (a partnership between Home Repair Services and AGR). She is now a proud homeowner and her family is healthy and thriving! Don’t be surprised if you see her giving back to her community, Sheena has a pure heart for others but one that starts with her children.

Thank you for your leadership and unconditional love, Sheena. You help push the community forward!

Neighbor Spotlight: Kiara Baskin

Baby showers usually include a few friends and family members, but a neighbor and business owner, Kiara Baskin, Owner and CEO at Bump to Birth Doula Services, had a dream to hold a community baby shower.

Her idea came to life after she was funded by an AMP The Good grant this past fall. In November, she threw the Bumps and Babes Community Baby Shower for dozens of underserved expecting mothers in the neighborhood.

“The energy [at the event] was AMAZING and if you look at everyone’s faces photographed you can see the importance of centering and supporting our mothers and parenting families,” shared Kiara in a Facebook post.

Other local organizations, businesses and neighbors also came together to help bring the celebration of mothers and parenting families to life by donating gifts, clothes, diapers and more.

“This is community!” exclaimed Kiara. She began her doula business 4 years ago in Grand Rapids. Kiara has a deep commitment to serving all birthing people, especially women of color in which her knowledge and support of these families address persistent racial and social disparities.

If you’d like to learn more about Bump to Birth Doula Services, click here.

Thank you, Kiara. You help push the community forward!