Local comedian organizing event to help undocumented children being brought to Michigan

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As thousands of undocumented children continue to pour into the U.S. over the Mexican border and Congress continues to debate how to deal with it, one West Michigan woman is jumping into the mix to offer help of her own.

Comedian Danielle DeVelasco wants to help children being brought to facilities in Michigan through laughter, which is why she is planning an event she's dubbed "Comedy for a Cause," which will take place August 21 7-9 p.m. at The Landing Lounge, 270 Ann Street NW in Grand Rapids.

"I feel like I have a lot to give back to the world," DeVelasco said. "I've seen all the stories, and then you guys started covering it, and I realized we'd be housing them at the facilities here in Michigan and thought, 'Wow, that's so close, I can actually do something and get hands-on involved.'"

While national and statewide protests continue over the highly contentious issue, DeVelasco is using her event to raise money for the Border Kids Relief Project, a group that partners with other organizations to provide relief work and resources for undocumented children. She says if people don't feel comfortable giving money, donations like clothing or books will also be accepted. The Border Kids Relief Project has a list of most needed items here.

"It's just an opportunity for people to come and be in a lighthearted atmosphere," she said. "And maybe we can change the hearts and minds of a few people who are looking at these kids and seeing them as a problem as opposed to what can we do to get in there and help."

Coming from a Hispanic background -- her grandfather who was an immigrant -- the issue hits close to home for DeVelasco. She says she's prepared to deal with backlash from those who don't see eye-to-eye with her on the issue.

"I've already gotten a lot of 'Why are you doing this, you should be spending you're time helping people who deserve the help,'" she said. "(The kids) just want a chance, just like everybody else. This is what America is about."

The event will feature local stand-up comedians Chase Nelson, Jermey Clymer, and DeVelasco. The Chicago-based band The Dead Woods will also be performing.

DeVelasco says all of the donations and money will go to the Border Relief Project, and she's requested a majority of that go toward undocumented children specifically being brought to Michigan.

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    • Danielle De Velasco

      Oh good! With a screen name like “FOUNDING FATHERS” I’m not sure you would get the comedy anyway. We want only positive energy anyway! And be sure not to be late for your tea party…. ;)

  • GoodChristians

    What a wonderful idea! I hear this is a good country built on Christian values, time to practice what is preached everyday. I believe in helping your fellow man because after all isn’t that what you are commanded to do?

    • Questions

      Oh blow the “good christian” crap out yerass.
      The LAW is the law….or can I come to your house and take what I want ?

      • Danielle De Velasco

        The reason “Christianity” was brought up was because we claim to be a country based on “Christian Values.” Which from what I see on a daily basis is more and more untrue. But people still want to claim it, and in bringing up that point, the commenter was trying to get people to think about what they say, and also carry out the actions to back up their words. It sounded like you were a bit confused, so I thought I would clarify that for you. ;)

  • Janice

    they are illegal, send them back and donate to the citizens that are here legal and need help. Why should they come before the people that have applied to come here the legal way? So you feel that they cheat and lie to get here and it’s ok?

    • Danielle De Velasco

      There are already plenty of programs in place to help the citizens of our city. No one is putting anyone before anyone else. They’re not cheating and lying to get here. They’re CHILDREN. They are running from horrific violence and corruption, and some have parents who have sent them here to try and save their lives. What if that were your child? As a woman I’m sure you understand! I’m not sure I understand why it is so wrong to try and help some children have a chance at a good life. I’m also not sure where you got the idea that they were cheating and lying their way into our country when many of them a) can’t even speak English, and b) are too young to understand what’s even going on. And the ones who are of an age of understanding are terrified for their lives. Why so much anger towards children who don’t have any control over their situation?

      • Jerry Watts

        There is a finite number of dollars available to help the needy kids who live in this community legally. It is a limited resource. That means tough decisions need to be made regarding who gets access to those resources and who does not. There is no way to prevent there from being losers in that regard. As unfortunate as that is, that is the reality. Not everyone who needs a lung transplant gets one. Not everyone who needs an education gets one. Not everyone who needs food gets it. Not everyone who needs shelter gets it. That is the way of the world we live in sadly. With that reality in mind, where a person is located should have no bearing on their need. However, whether they are in a location legally most certainly does, and should. No one would argue that if I needed a lung transplant and some hacker (with the best of intentions, and without my knowledge) put my name up at the top of the transplant list illegally, that upon discovery I would be removed from the top of the list and sent back to my proper place in line. This is no different. Yes, these are kids in need. But they are here illegally and there are kids in need who are in line ahead of them.

        This is a misguided, unfair, and unAmerican effort, despite a good caring heart being behind it.

  • Jax

    We can’t even care for the children already here LEGALLY , how the hell our we going to absorb even more? I’ve seen where people out of ignorant compassion take in stray animals,, thinking they’re helping them. But the animals proliferate and breed disease and become ill, overloading the resources of the “caregiver” and they end up just spreading more disease and death. I know we’re talking about human beings and not animals, but it’s the same principle. There is an end to our resources, though you’d never know it by talking to the libs. And of course I know you bleeding hearts out ther are going to squeal about greedy and selfish I am. Why don’t YOU take some of these children to YOUR house and provide for all their needs, basic and otherwise, since I know you will want to provide them with all the wonderful things in life that you provide for your own family. Oh, that’s right, you’d rather get the government to force the rest of us to fund your idea of compassion. After all, many pockets are much deeper than one!

    • Danielle De Velasco

      Oh, poor Jax. Don’t be so angry! No one’s asking you to do anything. That’s why I’ve taken the task on; to try to bring a little good to the world. That way, you don’t have to! Isn’t that nice? Remember, children are precious, no matter where they come from, or whom they belong to. I don’t mind you call it “ignorant compassion,” and choose to compare animals to human children. It proves my point, really. After all, “ignorant” compassion is better than none at all, especially when it comes to children. Have a great day!

  • Sarah

    I think this event is a wonderful idea. I’ve been really embarrassed of the venomous protests and hate speech coming from other Michiganders. It’s great to see that there are other people in the state I love who care about these kids. They need us. Thanks for putting on this great event! I’ll be there. :)

        • Danielle De Velasco

          Well, aren’t you just the angry little guy, huh? I have a fiancee, and don’t sell my body for sex, which is the technical definition of the slang word, “whore.” But thanks for trying! Perhaps one day, you’ll come to realize that all children deserve a chance at a good life. They are our future, after all! Research where your family came from, and how long they’ve been here, and what they were running from, and maybe you’ll feel a little compassion for what these children have been through. So, in closing, Bob, I hope you continue to have a wonderful, fulfilling life, hating things, and being really angry at everyone. Cheers! :)

  • Sue

    How embarrassing to say that you are from Michigan. Such cruel remarks towards children. You must have been the bullies on the playground that no one liked, and still don’t. Thank you Danielle for what you are doing to help the kids!!!!