Muskegon High School students build spirit with Mudita Gift

Students in Karli Baldus’s Muskegon High School broadcasting class wanted an activity that could help build community in their school. They had a plan; they just needed funding. That’s when Baldus applied to Extended Grace for a $500 Mudita Gift.

(L-R) Barbara Lee Van Horssen, Extended Grace experi-mentor and executive director; Tyrique Chalk; Armontae Hendricks-Johnson; Charity McClanahan; Keyshawn Crowley; Karli Baldus; Bernard Loudermill, Muskegon High School dean of students.

(L-R) Barbara Lee Van Horssen, Extended Grace experi-mentor and executive director; Tyrique Chalk; Armontae Hendricks-Johnson; Charity McClanahan; Keyshawn Crowley; Karli Baldus; Bernard Loudermill, Muskegon High School dean of students.

The result? The Big Red Bash on March 15 through which broadcasting students hosted lunch, snacks, movies, and activities on a half day when students would not have received lunch provided at school and no activities were planned. 

“When I first learned about Mudita, I loved the idea of looking at ways to help the community and be a part of social change,” Baldus explained. “I brought the idea back to my students, and through this process, I’ve seen so many benefits from the Mudita Gift. My students were challenged to think about the difference they could make, they were a part of a big movement from the ground up, and they provided the opportunity for students to interact with each other outside of class and to enjoy a free event. But something I didn’t realize was all the connections that would be made with my class, within the school, and within and outside the Muskegon community. There is such a great power in building relationships.”

Apria Snodgrass agreed. “With many stigmas in Muskegon, this gave us an opportunity to get all our Big Red students together and prove others wrong. The Big Red Bash gave everyone their chance to come and have fun for free without the hassle of being sad because you couldn’t find money to pay for the party.”

Mudita is a Sanskrit word that means “I rejoice in your good fortune.” Barbara Lee, Extended Grace experi-mentor and executive director, describes the gift as a reminder that what any one person receives is a gift for all and that we need to live in an atmosphere of abundance and generosity rather than one of scarcity, competition, and fear.