Chillin' out for charityEast Ridge High School students will be taking a big, cold plunge next month.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
East Ridge High School students will be taking a big, cold plunge next month.
They will be participating in the March 3 Polar Bear Plunge at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. The event is a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations and businesses to help raise money for the Special Olympics organization by jumping into frigid Minnesota waters.
In order to take the plunge, each participant must pledge $75.
Each team also fundraises independently.
The East Ridge Plungers currently has seven jumpers.
The Polar Bear Plunge consists of 16 different events that take place across Minnesota during the coldest months of the year – from January through March.
“It’s a place where people can come together for a good cause,” said East Ridge sophomore Amanda Henderson. “It’s cold, but it’s fun to do.”
Plunging for a cause
Henderson, a Special Olympics athlete and a member of the Special Olympics Youth Activation Committee, said she decided to organize an East Ridge team for this year’s Polar Bear Plunge because she has many friends who have participated in the past and it was for a good cause.
“It was a challenge that presented itself and I just said, ‘Let’s do it,’” she said.
Henderson said raising awareness, and money for the Special Olympics, is a great cause because it helps decrease the tensions and misconceptions associated with disabilities.
“It shows that if you have a disability, you can turn it into an ability,” she said.
The East Ridge Plungers are currently raising the money for each individual plunger through fundraisers at the school.
The East Ridge National Honor Society is selling Special Olympics merchandise to support the East Ridge Plungers.
Any additional money raised will be added bonus, Henderson said.
“We’re hoping for as much as we can raise,” she said.
One popular component of the Polar Bear Plunge is the costume contest; teams are encouraged to dress up for their jump and the teams with the best costume are awarded prizes
Henderson said the East Ridge Plungers will not be dressing up this year, but they will all be wearing T-shirts that read “Spread the Word to Stop the Word” – which is another campaign of the Special Olympics.
“I guess that’s a beginner costume,” she said. “We’ve been more focused on the actual plunge and raising money than creating a costume.”
Henderson said the East Ridge Plungers are still accepting more jumpers – hopefully even some teachers.
If this year’s plunge is a success, Henderson said she hopes to make it an annual event at the school.
“I’m really looking forward to doing the actual plunge,” she said.
If you would like to donate to the East Ridge Plungers, visit their Polar Bear Plunge page at http://www.plungemn.org/team/eastridgeplungers.