Prom with a Purpose returns with in-person, virtual formats

A year after COVID-19 made The Momentum Center’s 2020 Prom with a Purpose impossible, the popular event and fundraiser returns May 21 with both in-person and virtual options. 

“Prom with a Purpose is an important fundraiser, but it has always been more than that,” says Momentum Center Experi-mentor Barbara Lee VanHorssen. “For us, prom is a tangible expression of our mission, through which we break down barriers of separation and bring people from all different life experiences together to enjoy a night out. It is this kind of social integration that will ultimately help us defeat stigma.”

Prom with a Purpose: A Bright Future is a major fundraiser for The Momentum Center. While the past year has been difficult for everyone, it has left mental health needs at crisis level.

Supporting people in need

Funds raised at Prom with a Purpose will help The Momentum Center support people in need, refer those in need to clinical services, and provide a safe community space for connecting, healing, and growing.
Prom with a Purpose will return May 21 with COVID-19 precautions in place.
Masks and social distancing will be required for the in-person event. If the CDC determines it is no longer safe to gather together, even with precautions in place, this event will be held entirely on a virtual platform, with the program and live music streamed to computers and cellphones.

The event is set to take place at Trillium Catering & Event Center, 17246 Van Wagoner Road in Spring Lake. Weather permitting, dinner and dancing will be outside. Guests who choose to join the celebration online will be able to order pick-up dinners. The evening begins at 6 p.m., with the program beginning at 6:30. Prom with a Purpose runs until 10 p.m.

“The year before last, we had almost 400 people,” VanHorssen said of the 2019 event, in comparison to the 2020 prom that was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We had to move to another venue, Trillium, because there wasn’t another place to accommodate the size. This year, we're going to have a hybrid, so the Trillium will have whatever the safe number and then we'll have people connecting from homes, either individually or with house parties. The worst-case scenario is, if everything got shut down, we would still livestream, just to a lot more locations.”

Silent auction returns

Always a popular feature, the silent auction returns with such items as a tour of the Grand Haven Lighthouse, a ride in a firetruck, teeth whitening, a three-hour sailing excursion, a two-hour boat ride for eight, golf for four, and much more. Guests will be able to bid onsite as well as by computer and smartphone.

Tickets for Prom with a Purpose are $25 each and include dinner and a night of music. They are available online at as well as at The Momentum Center, 714 Columbus Ave., and Just Goods Gifts, 1 N. Harbor Drive, both in Grand Haven.

The Momentum Center is a grassroots movement to create a stigma-free community. It does this by hosting community conversations and operating The Momentum Center for Social Engagement, which addresses mental illness, addictions, and disabilities. The Momentum Center also houses the Momentum Café and operates Just Goods Gifts.

Momentum marked its 4th anniversary in April. 

“It’s been really exciting,” said VanHorssen. “The whole idea of the Momentum Center came out of community conversation … about what was needed but was missing.”


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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.