National Foster Care Month is winding down, but not before some local kids get a chance to turn up the fun.
Bethany Christian Services and AirTime Trampoline and Game Park are teaming up Tuesday, May 23, to give about 100 kids a night they won't soon forget.
The foster children are being given full access to the 30,000 square foot facility that offers wall-to-wall activities. AirTime opened at Centerpointne Mall in December of 2016 and has been a big hit.
Director of Marketing and Social Media, Melissa Morris, says it is an honor to be able to share the facility with local foster kids.
"It warms the heart being able to give back to the community and reaching out to the community," Morris said. "It really does make you feel good. We do it, not because we have to, but because we love doing it."
AirTime was originally approached to host an event where a smaller group of foster kids could attend. Morris says it didn't take long for them to decide they wanted to do much more. Tonight, the business will open its doors to not only foster children at Bethany, but foster parents and foster care workers.
"It is wonderful to be able to offer this chance for everyone to come and jump around and have some fun together," said Jessica DeJohn, Placement Specialist for Bethany Christian Services. "These kids have been removed from their homes. They've had some tough breaks. They are really going to enjoy this experience.
"It is going to be a lot of fun."
At the end of the day, organizers expected a bunch of tired children with huge smiles on their faces.
Detroit-based AirTime offers wall-to-wall trampolines, a pit filled with 3D graphic-enhanced air bags, a 20-foot rock climbing tower, an American Gladiator-style balance beam with giant pugil sticks, a ninja warrior skill and agility course and dodgeball and basketball trampoline areas. There is also a video game area for those who would rather keep their feet planted on the ground.
"It is very high-energy here. The more people we have, the better," explained Morris. "We like to make people happy. We are all about family, fun and giving back."
Giving is what countless foster parents do every day in Kent County and throughout the country.
DeJohn says one of the goals of National Foster Care Month is to raise awareness about their efforts and the need for more foster parents like them.
"Nationally, there are 400,000 children in foster care each year," she said. "Currently, a lot of the local agencies are struggling to place children within our county. That means we have to look outside the county.
"Roughly 44 children are removed each month from Kent County. So, there is really a need for us to come together as a community to help the children remain in our community."
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