GRAND HAVEN, Mich — While many schools are having to rethink prom in 2021, one community organization is bring theirs back this year.
The Momentum Center in Grand Haven is hosting their hybrid Prom with a Purpose on May 21.
For a group that focuses on mental health, inclusiveness, and connection their signature event is more important than ever.
The center is celebrating fpur years of serving the community and looking forward to throwing the best prom ever next month.
“The first one, I think, we had 14 people show up," said Barbara Lee VanHorssen, an "experi-mentor" at the Momentum Center for Community Engagement. "We were brand new. No one knew us. No one knew where we were. But it didn’t stop us from having an incredible evening. The last time we had it a few years ago, we had 383 people.”
VanHorssen said the night is all about community and bringing people together, no matter where they’re from.
“We make sure it’s accessible to everybody," VanHorssen said. "Tickets are only $25 apiece, and we have a program where you can pay for someone else’s ticket who maybe couldn’t afford the $25.”
The hybrid outdoor and socially distanced event will be hosted at Trillium in Grand Haven at 6 p.m.
For members, its a chance to connect with dinner and dancing, said Judy Muchmerhuizen, a member and volunteer at the center said of past events. “We dressed up, and they did our hair, and makeup, and nails and stuff; things that we don’t do every day.”
Having a place to meet others is important, especially in the time of COVID, Muchmerhuizen said. “I like coming here to interact with other people to play games, play pool, watch movies, and we have dinner night.”
VanHorssen is especially thrilled after having to cancel last year’s event. “When we actually had to close, it was a true gut-punch. When the only reason you’re around is to provide community for people and then you have to close your doors and tell people to go home, it’s really really painful."
She added that it’s an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health so people realize it truly impacts everyone. “We know that 60% of people who have mental illness never seek any treatment at all, and the biggest reason for that is stigma. In fact, 58% of people with mental illness say the stigma is actually more difficult to navigate than the mental illness itself.”
Prom with a Purpose also features a silent auction and grab-and go-meals for those who wish to take part virtually.