Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

June 30, 2014

Bake sale supports Down syndrome community

Geri Valentine, a member of the board of the Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Michigan, is pleased with the results from fundraising events the group held on World Down Syndrome Day in March.

Fundraisers were held at The Village at Bay Ridge Retirement Community and Moomers Homemade Ice Cream, with more than $3,000 collected for education, advocacy and awareness efforts for families touched by Down syndrome in the community.

Moomers coined the phrase “Get the Scoop on Down Syndrome” for the celebration, offering a 10 percent share of profits for the day’s sales to the DSANM, in addition to a contribution jar on the counter for patrons, raising more than $500.

The Village at Bay Ridge residents and staff rallied behind the effort with a bake sale, supporting the wider Down syndrome community, as well as Geri’s 4-year-old daughter, Carmella Valentine.

The Bay Ridge community, where Geri has worked for 10 years, has supported the local association with bake sales for the past three years. This year’s sale was the most successful, earning more than $2,400.

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Jennifer Jay, director of communications for Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, wrote to say it took dozens of guided hikes, hundreds of hours of staff time, a huge garage sale organized by former Girl Scouts, and nearly 500 individual donations and four challenge grants to secure the match for a $2 million grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Just days before the June 30 deadline, with nearly $900,000 donated, their goal to permanently protect the Timbers Recreation Area has been met.

“There are many heroes in this campaign,” said executive director, Glen Chown.

“From the Oleson family who made this possible with their early support, to the former campers and staff of the Timbers Girl Scout Camp who lifted this on their shoulders from the beginning, to the leadership of the Long Lake Association and the Long Lake Foundation, to all the neighbors of the property, it has really been a broad community effort and that’s what we are most proud of,” he said.

The more than 250-acre property, planned to include a parking area and trail running through forest and fields and along frontage of three inland lakes, will be turned over to Long Lake Township and open to the public by the end of August.

To learn more about the Timbers Recreation Area visit www.gtrlc.org or call the Conservancy at 929-7911.

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