Fundraising event at Winter Park inspired by Michael Franti & Spearhead |

Fundraising event at Winter Park inspired by Michael Franti & Spearhead

The One Step Closer to Younity fundraising event will be held Saturday morning April 22 at the Winter Park Mountain Lodge.
Courtesy photo |

Grand County is a remarkable place with a wondrous natural beauty that is hard to overstate.

But it is not just our alpine meadows and riparian valleys that make Grand County an amazing locale. A deep-seated spirit of volunteerism courses through the county, inspiring hundreds of local residents to get involved in various nonprofits and fundraising activities.

On Saturday, April 22, residents of the High Country will have an opportunity to help raise funds for a pair of nonprofit organizations with a unique event called, “One Step Closer to Younity.” Three local Grand County residents, Nancy Bjerken, Jennifer Hughes and Mara Pacyga, organized the event.

The three were inspired to create the event by musical group Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Franti’s nonprofit organization Do It For The Love.

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“We are really excited about this event,” said event organizer Jennifer Hughes. “This is the first time we have done something like this.”

One Step Closer to Younity will kick off at 8 a.m. Saturday morning at the Winter Park Mountain Lodge, just across U.S. Highway 40 from the Winter Park Resort base. The event is scheduled to run until 10 a.m. and will feature two hours of live music, yoga, Pilates, ecstatic chanting and sacred sound incantations. The event will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m. followed by a welcome period and a room and energy clearing session from local shamanic healer Melinda Besse. Each session within the event will last roughly 15 minutes.

Participants will experience two separate yoga sessions including one led by local yogi Sue Seemann, a Pilates session led by Mara Pacyga, ecstatic chanting performed by Boulder couple Shanti and Scott Medina and live music throughout.

The event will be raise money for Do It For The Love and for the Winter Park based National Sports Center for the Disabled. Most residents of Grand County are familiar with the work of the NSCD but may be unfamiliar with Do It For The Love.

“Michael Franti’s visit to Winter Park inspired this,” Hughes said. “All of the their [Do It For The Love] fundraising goes towards bringing music to kids that are physically challenged.”

Franti & Spearhead will be headlining this year’s Springtopia Concert, closing out Winter Park’s 2016-17 ski season on Saturday afternoon, April 22. Hughes noted that Franti is a well-known yogi himself and while the event’s organizers do not know if Franti will attend, they are hoping he will make an appearance.

Hughes said event organizers already have numerous pre-registrations for One Step Closer to Younity with more tickets left. Numerous community members who will not be able to attend the event have nevertheless donated significantly to the effort, she added.

According to Hughes, the event’s name, One Step Closer to Younity, was inspired by Franti & Spearhead’s song “One Step Closer To You.” For more information about the event, email event organizer Jennifer Hughes at

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