Franciscan Life Process Center to Host Beggar’s Bell Bash on June 12

We received the following press release from the Franciscan Life Process Center.

Lowell, Michigan, May 20, 2024 – The Franciscan Life Process Center will host its biannual Beggar’s Bell Bash Wednesday, June 12 to support its Environmental Education and Counseling programs.

Community members are invited to attend for a night of food, music and fun at John Ball Zoo’s Bissell Treehouse, 1300 Fulton St. W, in celebration of the individual gifts of each person in West Michigan.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. and include a delicious dinner catered by Kangaroo Kitchen as well as an open bar serving beer and wine. Guests will also be able to enjoy live music from the Joe LaJoye Quartet throughout the evening, participate in a silent auction and hear from guest speaker Domenic Franconi, principal of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic School.

The Beggar’s Bell Bash is titled in remembrance of St. Francis, the patron saint of the Franciscan Sisters’ order, who would beg for funds to support those in need. This year’s goal is to raise $100,000 for the nonprofit’s Land and Counseling programs.

“Throughout history and across cultures, people in need have often used a beggar’s bell to encourage bystanders to become aware of their undiscovered gifts,” Development Director Sister Jeanne d’Arc Paquette said. “The Beggar’s Bell Bash celebrates awakening the potential of each person the Franciscan Life Process Center supports, thanks to the continued generosity of donors.

“Proceeds from this fun event will help ensure we can continue to provide invaluable services that support the education, healthy behavioral development and cultural enrichment of our community.”

The Land Program, one of two programs that will directly benefit from the fundraiser, offers a myriad of nature-based experiences for individuals as well as corporate, church, school and professional groups. This includes the notable Environmental Education Program for fifth-grade students from area Catholic schools. Participating teachers and their students travel to the Center in Lowell for three weeks out of the academic year – one week each during fall, winter and spring – to incorporate educational concepts specific to the environment.

Learning is supported through written and visual material, as well as movement and hands-on activities, such as hiking, animal care, art creation and outdoor journaling. In addition to incorporating the required curriculum expectations of the classroom, students are educated on the systems of the environment and how to be good stewards of God’s creation, closely following the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Center offers area schools a 50% match in order to provide the Environmental Education Program, amounting to $4,500 per school year. If the Center is unable to raise enough money to meet this match, it will not be able to offer this esteemed program to the schools. Domenic Franconi from Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic School will speak on the impact of this programming during the event.

“More than 1,000 individuals of all ages benefit from our Land Program annually, including six schools in the Environmental Education Program,” Center Director Sandy Koteskey said. “Since we rely heavily on the generosity of donors and support of volunteers in order to preserve our 230-acre working farm and provide environmental education to the community, a successful Beggar’s Bell Bash is critical to the Land Program’s continuation.”

The fundraiser will also support the Center’s Counseling Program, which provides individual counseling, couples counseling, family counseling, group counseling, play therapy, services to school populations, crisis intervention and consultation services. Because insurances do not cover the full cost of each counseling session, the Center must raise approximately $90,000 per year in order to ensure it can continue to provide this service to all who would benefit from it.

“It’s important to us to work with clients who need financial support to ensure everyone who would like to receive counseling can,” Koteskey said. “This includes both clients with insurance and those who are uninsured or underinsured. Unfortunately, most types of counseling are only partially covered by insurance, often no more than 70% of the rate, leaving 30% or more for the Center to cover. Ongoing fundraising is necessary for us to be able to recoup those costs.”

Event registration costs $100 per ticket or $1,000 to sponsor an 10-person table. Cocktail attire is encouraged. More event information is available at

The Franciscan Life Process Center also offers Art and Music Therapy programs. Individuals can make a tax-deductible donation to support the Center, which is a nonprofit with 501(c)3 status.

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