Laughing Matters

Started by Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids in 2011 LaughFest provides laughs in the Grand Rapids area each March.  Currently proceeds from LaughFest make up 12%-15% of Gilda’s of Grand Rapids income each year, which is distributed among their locations in West Michigan.  The Lowell location is included in addition to being the recipient of Pink Arrow funds each year.  Gilda’s works with individuals and families dealing with cancer in addition to grief after losing someone.   Some of the laughter made its way to the Lowell community last week and continues this week.

And BINGO was His Name-o

A group of approximately 10 students at Unity High School gave back to the community.  Once again they participated in a BINGO event.  This time they not only helped with game play.  They also baked, iced, and decorated cookies and decor for the occasion.  Jacqueline Scherer is a social worker with Gilda’s Club.  She says, “We created a tough stuff program with Unity students.  During this time we invited the students to do a volunteer project at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids – Lowell.  They chose to sponsor the decor and dessert for Lowell LaughFest.”  This is the second year students have partnered with Gilda’s Club.  Their contribution encourages working as a team, using leadership skills, and giving back to the community.

Black and yellow were used keeping in theme with LaughFest colors.  Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were prepared and iced.  Unity Students also made a variety of bugs to top the cupcakes.  Creative wheels were turning as butterflies, bees, and others took shape.  

Nate Pratt-Harris, Lon Tower, Jazzmyne Abron, teacher Sue Sweet, and Dan Reed help during the LaughFest event.

Providing dessert and decorations was only a portion of their contribution.  Four students also attended the LaughFest event at the Lowell location.  Families were invited to come to play BINGO.  A couple of hours of games, dessert, laughter, and fun created a great atmosphere for those touched by cancer to come together, smile, and win some prizes.  Unity students helped with calling numbers, passing out prizes, and playing alongside those participating.

Stand Up Laughs

On March 10 Keith Alberstadt entertained at the Grand Volute.  His comedic style drew in the audience as laughter filled the room.  Proceeds from the event will go toward programs at Gilda’s Club’s Lowell location.  

Josiah McMyler tells a joke to an audience at the library.
Isaiah McMyler entertains at the library.

Saturday afternoon it was the younger generation who looked for laughs.  Meijer and the Lowell Community Fund sponsored the event at Englehardt Library.  Comedian Ben Wilke from Grand Rapids kicked things off before welcoming the youngsters to the floor.  

Nearly 15 kids aged between 4 and 10 stood up and told jokes to the audience.  Five year old Josiah asked the group, “Why did the girl put peanut butter and jelly on the road?”  And his response was, “To go with the traffic jam.”  His younger brother Isaiah asked, “Why did the mouse climb the tree?” to which he replied, “To get away from the cat.”

Get the Last Laugh

You may have missed some LaughFest events in Lowell but there are a few more opportunities.  On Tuesday, March 14 from 1pm – 5pm Gilda’s Lowell location will be offering tours of their facility.  Visitors can learn about how those in the community touched by cancer in some way are offered support, can share stories, and heal.  

Also on March 14 a free Laughter Yoga class is being offered at Gilda’s Club’s Lowell location at 3pm.  Angela Essick Dykes will teach the class.  “Laughter Yoga is a unique concept based on the principle of ‘acting happiness’ – tell your body what to do and your mind will follow.” according to the event information.

Finally, on Wednesday, March 15 at 7:30pm a free event exploring laughter and music will be hosted at the Franciscan Life Process Center, located at 11650 Downes St NE.  Sister Mary Margaret will lead the event.    

Numerous events are also taking place in Grand Rapids.  Check out the LaughFest webpage for all of the upcoming events.  

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