Mother-daughter duo celebrates graduation by giving back

Glenda Bailey Hayden (right) and Imani Hayden are doing a delayed celebration of their respective 2020 graduations by launching a private celebratory fundraiser for Jumpstart, a transitional housing program in Grand Rapids. Courtesy Glenda Bailey Hayden

A West Michigan-based mother-daughter duo chose giving back over receiving gifts for themselves in celebration of their respective graduations from doctoral and college programs.

Glenda Bailey Hayden and Imani Hayden, a mother-daughter duo in greater Grand Rapids, are doing a delayed celebration of their respective 2020 graduations by launching a private celebratory fundraiser called “Loving Life.” They are raising money for Jumpstart, a transitional housing program in the Richmond Park community of Grand Rapids. Jumpstart has provided many families during the past 21 years with affordable housing.

This Labor Day, Sept. 6, at Mackay Jaycee Park, Imani Hayden will celebrate earning her B.S. degree in business administration from the historically Black college and university (HBCU), Florida A&M University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida, and her mother, Glenda Bailey Hayden, Ph.D., will celebrate earning her doctorate of ministry in Christian counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

After having to postpone their graduation and celebration a full year due to the pandemic, the duo said they “adopted a new perspective on life and decided to ‘party with a purpose.’”

They decided to ask friends and family to support the local transitional housing program Jumpstart in lieu of gifts.

Several local businesses and individuals latched onto the women’s vision and agreed to donate their services for the fundraiser:

  • Fatirah’s Designs by Sheena, owned by Sheena Brown, contributed event planning and decoration services. (616) 322-9743
  • Quality & Love Grill, owned by grill master Lynn Lightfoot, will provide catering services. (616) 375-7737
  • King’s Table Cakes & Dessert LLC, owned by pastry chef Michael A. Jackson, gifted the sweets. (616) 272-2668
  • DJ Hitlist-Jameison Walker III, also a FAMU alumnus, will bring the musical entertainment.
  • John C. Smith lent his marketing expertise.

Imani Hayden is no stranger to altruism, the pair said. In 2015, in honor of her late maternal grandmother and the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, she led a Blue Jean Go Green Denim Recycling communitywide campaign that collected over 200 pieces of denim for survivors in one week.

Founded in November 1999 as a program of Acts Gospel Outreach Ministry in Grand Rapids, Jumpstart’s mission is to provide women and children safe housing for up to 24 months and life skills such as personal finance and spiritual and parental guidance. Over the past 21 years, the program has helped 65% of the participants reach permanent housing.

Jumpstart will break ground in spring 2022 on a new facility to expand its current four-unit building to 11 units open to men and women in the greater Grand Rapids area. It also will house retail space to support the program’s mission.

Jumpstart is funded solely by donations. Those interested in supporting the Hayden women’s fundraiser can send a donation to Acts Gospel Ministries online or by mail to 950 12th St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.

For more details, contact the leaders of Acts Gospel Ministries, Pastors Moses and Diane Alexander, at (616) 451-9950.

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