Freedom Outdoors: A future-focussed MLK celebration emerges in a park setting

Saturday, Jan. 18, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Martin Luther King Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE
On Saturday at the city’s Martin Luther King Park on the southeast side emerges a fresh event that is sure to turn heads as well as raise the heart rate of those who attend … and all of this in a good, healthy way. 

As one reads the description for this event, while it is not directly a celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Freedom Outdoors with its selection of the MLK park just two days before we nationally celebrate the work of Dr. King, creates a thrilling next generation experience for our community’s school children grades five through 12. 

From my decades of walking our city parks and as one who has lived in the neighborhood where MLK park is located, our parks provide a necessary place for civility to rise. 

On my journey within our city parks, I have found that often within emerges neighborly dialogue that produces a byproduct of feeling — a connection to others, and also creates an opportunity for community-building to take root within those engaging in dialogue or activities.

Freedom Outdoors, created as a collaboration between Thrive Outside, the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department, and our Grand Rapids Public Schools, will offer three hours of activities  that include:
  • Snowshoeing
  • Fat-tire biking
  • Scavenger hunt/geocaching
  • Yoga
  • Free food and giveaways
And while this event is free to attend, organizers request that you sign up in advance at or call 616.456.3696. They will be registering folks on the day of the event, but if you can perform this in advance, please do so as space is limited.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said at his iconic speech delivered at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” 

I still believe in the power of building bridges as we tear down the walls that have been created to keep us apart. There is real power in this park-centered event that I believe has the power to transform our youth, and ultimately our city through interactive experiences within our parks like MLK that shape and positively assist in building a better society into the future ... and for all. 

This is an outdoor event, so please dress accordingly!
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