A man with a plan for a historic, abandoned property at 307 E. Main Street. For Matthew Stafford, renovating the home is personal.
“A lot of my time has been spent in the last year just going over all the cracks,” he said.
Stafford doesn’t own the place. He’s not even getting paid for his work, but he is trying to bring the building back to life.
“It felt like home,” said Stafford.
“When I was 15, I actually used to break into this building,” he explained. “I’d put in two steak knives and jimmy it until I could get it.”
Stafford spent years dreaming about one day owning the building. That dream came true when he met its current owner, Stephen Green.
“We started talking and he said, ‘oh, I really like this building.’ He told me he had broken in before,” Green said. “I basically gave him a really good deal where he could buy the building without any money up front.”
Stafford’s pitch for the space sealed the deal. He said he turned to alcohol after his father died, and police caught him at least five times inside the home.
“It’s amazing that Matt would now take his mess and turn it into a message,” said Bob Ona, executive director of Life Center Milwaukee
Matthew Stafford works on Waukesha building renovation
With support from his pastor and friends, Stafford started Vincent James Mentoring – named for his father. There is hope the building can be a place where troubled teens are mentored. A place where no one has to be alone.
“I should have ended up in jail,” Stafford said. “I think about 15 year old Matthew sitting on those steps, practically every night I’m here.”
In September of 2022, Fox River Christian Church volunteers spent all day helping Stafford get the building into shape. Stafford hopes to open his mentoring center in the summer of 2023.
Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB65YRDfH5Y
Originally constructed with historic Cream City brick in 1877 by Homeopathic physician Dr. Volney Moore, it only seems fitting that the house is now being restored and prepared to be utilized as a place for troubled youth and families to find hope and healing, through Vincent James Mentoring and it’s Crest programs, in Waukesha.
When: September 16, 2023 at 11AM
Where: 307 E Main St., Waukesha, 53186
Tickets: $50 single, $100 couple
“Brick Buy Brick” donation opportunities – As part of it’s fundraising mission to purchase this historic building and to develop the Crest outreach mentoring programs, VJM is offering the opportunity to purchase a Cream City brick from the house itself, at varying levels of investment;
Upon completion of your donation, you will then have the opportunity to have your name (family name, business, or foundation, etc.) engraved on your brick with a badge signifying the level of your donation. Each brick will then be mounted in a lit shadow box and installed throughout various rooms in the house, or in the specific room of your choosing. Bricks may also be purchased, any time, by contacting Matt Stafford directly at Matt@vincentjamesmentoring.com