Photo Credit: Sam Nichols
On Saturday, January 30th, The Avenue Cafe in Lansing will host a special fundraiser for a local nonprofit organization, Ele’s Place. The Avenue, along with Local Tattoo and promoter Further Frequencies will be collaborating with bands and artists in the area to raise money for the children, teens and families that benefit from the healing center.
Doors open at 8 PM and participants will be charged a $10 entry fee. All proceeds go to Ele’s Place. The event will be hosted by the local comedian and emcee NE LOVESLIFE and an Ele’s Place Ambassador will be the guest speaker. The evening will include a silent auction featuring several artists from the greater Lansing area including Craig Horky who is based in Lansing and specializes in illustration and design. Local musician Uriah Baker, and artist Jay LS from Local Tattoo in Lansing, will also be donating their art to the cause.
These local bands, like the artists and other businesses, are donating their services to support Ele’s Place and the individuals and families they work with.
Kate Powers, Interim Managing Director of Ele’s Place in Lansing explains a little more about what the organization does, explaining that they provide “a healing center for grieving children and teens. We serve those ages between three and eighteen, and their families. These are children who have lost a loved one that could be a parent a sibling, a grandparent, a family friend, any sort of death a child has experienced.”
The children and teens, who come from many communities including East Lansing, receive help through on-site programs at the headquarters in Lansing, peer support groups and school-based programs. “We work with guidance counselors and social staff there to run a program with children that self-identify as grieving" says Powers.
Ele’s Place is the only organization in Lansing that provides these services. It was founded 25 years ago in the name of Ele Stover, who died in 1989 at the age of eleven months. Seeing her other children grieving after this loss, Betsy Stover, along with members of the Junior League of Lansing, traveled across the country to find out more about grief support, then came back to Lansing to start Ele’s place.
The organization does not charge families to attend programs or receive other help. They do not receive grants or other financial support from federal or state governments, and are completely funded through private donations. “It costs us about 500 dollars a year to put a child through family-based, on-site programs...one in twenty children will lose a parent by the time they are twenty” says Powers, “so there is a great need for our services.”
In order to make sure people receive these services regardless of their financial situation, Ele’s Place relies on events such as this week’s fundraiser. The proceeds go towards programming, on-site and in schools, but Powers notes that “a fundraiser like this doesn’t only raise dollars, it helps raise awareness about Ele’s Place. It's the best way for families to know that we are here.”
“We are always grateful to groups like these willing to support Ele’s Place," she adds, “we rely on the kindness of individuals in our community to help us do the work that we do.”
For those who cannot attend, more information on getting involved with Ele’s Place can be found at http://www.elesplace.org/getinvolved.
The Avenue Café is located at 2021 E. Michigan Avenue, in Lansing.