Concert Thursday raises money, awareness for Grand Rapids charity



The ability of a small group, or even one person, to make a difference in the world is a powerful thing.

An RPL 430: Planning Recreation Programs and Events class learned this Thursday night at Hunter's Ale House, 4855 E. Bluegrass Rd., as the group raised $947 for Grand Rapids-based charity Women At Risk, which rescues women from all over the world from sexual slavery.

"Creating awareness is just as important for this event as raising money," Port Huron senior Eric Harrington said.

As a member of the group who put on the event, Harrington said as he learned more about the organization, he wanted to become more involved even after the event's conclusion.

"As far as the awareness, its opened my eyes," he said. "That's the first step. The possibilities are endless."

Along with musical acts Ben Schuller Plus Three and Mark Daisy as well as Grand Rapids band Bennett, the event included a silent auction of jewelry made by women rescued by the organization and gift card donations from local businesses including Endurance Fitness, 4855 E. Bluegrass Road and Meijer, 1015 W. Pickard St., among others.

Schuller donated all of the proceeds from his merchandise sales that night to the group's cause.

The RPL group also sold pre-sale wristbands in the Bovee University Center during the week and promoting their event and the cause.

"When we were sitting at the table during pre-sales, we had people come up to us and they'd learn about it," Waterford junior and event organizer Stephanie Collar said. "They didn't even know what human trafficking was."

Detroit graduate student and performer Mark Daisy said he loves performing at events such as this because of the ability to learn about a cause along with listening to music.

"I love the fact they took something that isn't exactly mainstream and put it out in front of people who might not have any idea that it happens," Daisy said.

Daisy, who has opened for national touring acts Ryan Cabrera and Rookie of the Year, said he enjoys performing at events such as this.

"They have a better purpose," he said. "You always know it's for something bigger than you are."

Marine City junior Micah Dewey said she learned a lot about human trafficking and how it affects her daily life by reading information given out at the event.

"I think it's interesting that it goes on, not only around the world but here, too," Dewey said.

Hillary Karbowski, a Three Rivers junior, said human trafficking is something people don't expect to happen and that we're all connected to the slavery of others whether we know it or not.

"I think it's great this organization gives women who were oppressed for a majority of their lives an opportunity to express themselves through art and craft," Karbowski said.


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