Playing drums and raising funds for West Elementary

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --  A fundraiser was held at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill on Saturday to support students at West Elementary in Wyoming.

Dozens of families including children, parents, and those working with the school took part in fundraiser, where a special concert by Cabildo was put on.

The goal was to raise $600 to help create a sensory room for elementary students, as well as raise money for an emergency fund for families in need of assistance.

Erika VanDyke is the community school coordinator for Kent School Services Network (KSSN) at West Elementary. She said adding a sensory room would be beneficial for students having a hard time sitting for long periods of time.

"We found if they have the opportunity to engage in sensory stuff, some of our kids, maybe for example that have autism, and they have sensory needs where they need to feel supported like physically, they need to be squeezed, we might have resources for that," said VanDyke.

The sensory room would provide students with a number of resources. “Sometime it’s a swing, rock climbing wall, inflatable tunnel things, ball pits," said VanDyke. "Really anything that gets them back in touch and grounded.

VanDyke said creating a sensory room would allow them to move their bodies when needed, something she said helps in a various ways.

“I think the mental health is really big because we know that having the ability to sit all day is a struggle," said VanDyke. "Especially for younger kids that have experienced trauma, all these things that have affected them, it’s really important that they have the ability to just take a break sometimes and we know that can improve academic outcomes.”

 She said for families struggling to get by, profits from the fundraiser will also go towards a family emergency fund.

“It can look like, I got an eviction notice. It can look like I got this bill, a utilities bill, a heat bill for the winter and I don’t know how I’m going to pay this," said VanDyke.

If you'd like to make a donation to help students and parents at West Elementary, contact Erika VanDyke at

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