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Volunteers are transforming a mansion in Southside Lansing to help at-risk youth

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 16:29:24-04

LANSING, Mich. — Volunteers with Jackson National Life Insurance Company have been working hard to clean out a mansion on Lansing’s south side.

It’s going to become Child and Family Charities' new shelter for at-risk youth. Its new name is Jackson House.

Jackson National Life Insurance Company employee Rob Case says he volunteers to give back.

“For me, it just gives me more confidence in the company," Case said. "It gives me a company where I can mesh my beliefs. Giving back is such a huge part of me and my family, and the fact that we can come together and be proud of the company I work for because they do so much, that is amazing.”

Julie Thomasma is the executive director of Child and Family Charities. She says the insurance company's employees are the epitome of Good Neighbors.

“Jackson underwrote the entire cost to renovate this home, Jackson House. We couldn't do it without them," Thomasma said. "They came out in a big way with their donation, but their associates also donated, and then Jackson matched that. That got us to our goal of nearly a million dollars to make this property shine.”

She estimates close to 1,000 kids in mid-Michigan are at risk each year.

“We have a street outreach team that goes out 24 hours a day to respond to the calls of kids in crisis," Thomasma said. "We also work with schools. Other times people call us and say, we saw a kid under a viaduct.”

The new 12,000-square-foot mansion will allow the nonprofit to house up to 17 kids ages 12 to 21. That’s doubling the number of kids they currently help.

Anthony Izzo, an employee with Jackson National Life Insurance Company, says the need for a house like this is real, and after learning about what Child and Family Charities is going to do with the house, he wants to do all he can to help.

“That was another thing they talked a lot about in their mission and vision is what services do we provide today, and this Jackson house is fulfilling needs now, but they are always talking about what services they will provide in the future to fulfill needs where there are gaps,” Izzo said.

Case and Izzo are two of around 40 employees who have joined in the effort.

“You know that you're making a difference right when you see a horde of Jackson employees show up for any sort of event," Case said. "We always come out strong, and that just shows that the employees of Jackson care.”

Thomasma says having the employee’s support has meant a lot.

“That makes me so excited! It lets kids know we believe in you. The community is walking alongside you. There are a lot of people that are rooting for you, so please know that we want to see you succeed," she said. "We want to see you thrive and be successful in this community, so I think this is just one steppingstone and we're just so happy to be part of that journey for so many youths.”

Jackson House is scheduled to open later this fall.

We want to thank Jackson National Life Insurance Company and its employees for helping at-risk youth throughout mid-Michigan. You are this week’s Good Neighbors.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman

9:44 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Good Neighbors Host

Bob Hoffman