The Van Andel Institute's Student Ambassador Virtual Silent Auction is underway and is raising money for the institute's Purple Community. The student program was put in place in 2019 to give real world experience to West Michigan students interested in philanthropy and fundraising.

Students from the following districts are participants in this year's program: Caledonia High School, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Forest Hills Northern High School, East Grand Rapids High School, Holland Christian High School, Cedar Springs High School, Wayland Union, West Michigan Aviation Academy, Otsego High School, Grand Rapids Christian High School, and Grand Rapids Public City High School.

The auction is currently live and you can register to bid, and see the items available, HERE.

McKenzie Hollern, Event and Volunteer Coordinator at Purple Community, tells us about how the program came about and was entirely student led:

The Van Andel Institute Student Ambassador Program gives these students a way to join in on the fight against cancer and Parkinson’s Disease. These students met once a month virtually to plan their fundraising event and felt so empowered to think creatively and figure out a way to fundraise during the pandemic.

They’ve created social media content, a communication plan, talked with local businesses to secure donations and so much more! I think especially during this school year, the students enjoyed getting to meet other students from different schools in a safe and enjoyable setting.

The virtual auction will be held April 19-30, will be the crowning achievement for these students after a whole school year of planning!

The auction ends on Friday at 5pm and has over 40 items from local sponsors garnered by the students. Plus unique adventures like a ride along with the Grand Rapids Police Department, ax throwing, high speed kart racing, and a hot house yoga experience are available to bid on as well.



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ABOUT VAI: Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute is committed to improving the health and changing the lives of current and future generations, through biomedical research and science education.

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