A group of students in Grand Haven High School’s Pay It Forward class is arranging Connecting for a Cause, which is aimed at integrating the community with students with special needs and abilities.
The event is set for 5-7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at the Spring Lake Fitness and Aquatic Center. Admission is $5 a person, or $20 for families. Participants are asked to RSVP no later than May 5 by emailing [email protected] or [email protected]
Proceeds from the event will go to Gracious Grounds, a non-profit organization aimed at providing a friendly and safe place for people with unique abilities to live and be involved in the community.
Connecting for a Cause will include swimming, face painting, open gym, music and food. While all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend the event, children younger than 13 need adult supervision, said GHHS senior Makenzie Fairfield. Participants will receive a form to fill out about allergies and emergency contact.
Fairfield said they chose the Spring Lake aquatic center as a place that would have many activities for people to enjoy.
Earlier in the school year, students in the Pay It Forward class toured the places where Gracious Grounds residents live — at 1515 S. Despelder St. and 1028 Ohio Ave. in Grand Haven. Fairfield said the class then decided to find a way to benefit the local nonprofit because everyone in her group has a connection with the special-needs community.
Gracious Grounds Executive Director Sandy Baker said it has been “amazing” to see what the students are doing with their planning for the benefit.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to watch this whole thing blossom and bloom,” she said.
The group also reached out to Spring Lake, Holland and West Ottawa with invitations to the event as a way to bring the communities together, Fairfield said. And the GHHS National Honor Society are volunteering to help run the event, Fairfield noted.
When people attend Connecting for a Cause, Fairfield said she hopes they meet new friends, put aside differences and make others feel included.
“I hope that they take away the fact that we might have differences, but we all like to have fun and hang out the same ways,” she said.
For information about donating to the event, email [email protected]