Affordable family fun available for special needs children

May 10, 2012 // 0 Comments

Low-cost, low-stress events, activities designed for families of children with special needs Every family needs opportunities to relax and have fun together, and that’s especially true for families of children with special needs. Finding venues and activities that are suitable can be challenging and expensive. Family Hope Foundation has created a calendar of low-cost, low-stress activities and events perfect for families of children with special needs. From movies to family days at various venues, each is designed to provide families of individuals with special needs with affordable, disability-friendly, low-stress, fun activities that they can participate in as a whole family. One of the events is movies at Celebration! Cinema North, 2121 Celebration Dr. NE, 
Grand Rapids, the last Saturday of every month. Families often give up on seeing movies in a theater, but Family Hope Foundation has partnered with Celebration! Cinema North to offer a movie showing specifically for families of individuals with special needs. Movies are at 10 a.m. and are $5 per ticket. The next few movie dates coming up are Saturday, May 26, “Pirates! Band of Misfits”; June 30, “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”; July 28, “Ice Age: Continental Drift”; August 25, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.” On Saturday, August 18, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., the Visser Family YMCA, 3540 Fairlanes SW, Grandville, will host a free Family Night including dinner, swimming, basketball, rock-climbing and more. Please RSVP at (616) 530-9199 by August 14. Events and activities for the upcoming summer and fall are being added to the calendar. The best way for families to stay informed about what’s on tap is to sign up to receive e-mails about upcoming events and community resources at or follow Family Hope Foundation on Facebook. Family Hope Foundation is composed of 16 board members from the West Michigan community who are committed to providing support to children with special needs and their families. Family Hope Foundation invests in children with special needs through family support, engaging community experts, advocacy through collaboration, and financial assistance to provide access to therapies. More information is available by visiting Family Hope Foundation’s website

Heart of Belmont a family, life celebration

July 28, 2011 // 0 Comments

Blood drive, free activities highlight many merchants  by BETH ALTENA “Remember when I said to expect this group to do big things in the community? This is one of those big things,” said Tony Griffin, owner of BC Pizza in Belmont, referring to his great expectations of the Belmont business community, which he believes is a unique and diverse group that will surprise many. Participants in a first Heart of Belmont family festival and blood drive on Saturday, August 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. should prove his point. Activities take place on the closed street of Belmont Center Drive and in and around the nearby businesses. Although Belmont seems a smallish business community, its members collectively are impressive, and over a dozen merchants and service providers will pitch in to make a day of fun for those who come out to see what Belmont has to offer. Participating stores, salons, restaurants, medical and dental care providers and others will have free giveaways to anyone who donates blood through the Michigan Blood bus. Michigan Blood, in turn, will donate $10 for each donor to local Boy Scout Troop #283. Participants can also be on the National Bone Marrow registry. For those who choose to donate or not, the day has something for everyone, from free health assessments by Snap Fitness, to a car show located at Milestones Child Development Center and organized by Belmont Grocery. All car show participants receive a free small pizza from B.C. Pizza. Invited to sign up ahead of time or at the 10:45 registration are owners of old cars, classic cars, race cars, fast cars and just plain cool cars. Trailside Treats, a seasonal gem tucked away a short jog from the White Pine Trail, will provide music with the live band Retrospect. A bounce house provided by the Blast Factory Eccentric Entertainment will keep the little ones hopping, and massages—free to donors or for a dollar a minute to others—will soothe adults. Griffin said he admires all blood programs, but is really excited about Michigan Blood, because all donations stay in the area. He also explained that donating bone marrow also has the potential to save the life of another person, an amazing gift to be able to […]

Families invited to free day of fun, food

June 16, 2011 // 0 Comments

              The Izaak Walton League Summerfest is coming up on Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the club’s conservation facility and property at 5641 Myers Lake Road, just north of Cannonsburg Ski Lodge. There will be all types of outdoor activities, such as kids’ fishing, nature trails, archery, a scavenger or treasure hunt, birdhouse-building, kayaks, plus a rainbarrel workshop and information on natural shoreline preservation, and gardening with native ecology in mind. It’s all free, including lunch! The Dwight Lydell Conservation Club is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving our natural resources and a love of the outdoors. This is an open, community event and a good chance to look around. They would welcome new members, too. If you would like to help by volunteering for a couple of hours, or need more information, call (616) 773-2850 or (616) 560-2895.  

Visit Santa in Rockford

December 9, 2010 // 0 Comments

Why go to the mall to see Santa? He is right here in town at the Rockford Sportsman’s Club, 1115 Northland Dr., from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 12. Visit with Santa—don’t forget your camera—and enjoy cookies and cocoa, Christmas stories, craft time and cookie decorating! For more information, call (616) 866-4273.

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