Liam McMahon loves to dance. He’s been dancing since he was 4 years old, and he’s proficient in tap, contemporary and hip hop. He feels most at home on a stage, and most happy when he’s moving to a beat. It was this sense of uninhibited joy that inspired him to use dance as a way to honor his cousin, Colin McGrath.
Colin was killed in a tragic accident in South Boston last year, and since then his parents, Kerri and Brendan McGrath, have established Colin’s Joy Project, focused on enhancing play spaces in the South Boston area as well as supporting various family-centered community organizations like Julie’s Family Learning Program and the South Boston Neighborhood House. Click here to learn more about Colin’s Joy Project and their community partners.
Liam told his mother Katie (Kerri’s sister) that “dancing brings [him] joy, and so [he] thought they should do a fundraiser for Colin’s Joy Project that involves dancing.” Now for many soon-to-be fourth graders, that would be the end of their involvement. They’d be happy to let the adults do the legwork. But not Liam. Coming up with the idea for the fundraiser was only the beginning!
Liam knew that the outdoor space at Kingsland Point County Park would be the perfect location for his event, but there was only one problem- you have to pay a fee to rent the space. But that didn’t deter Liam! Instead, he wrote a speech that he presented at the Board of Trustees Village Meeting in Sleepy Hollow, asking the trustees to waive the fee in exchange for a donation to the Sleepy Hollow Recreation Center...and they agreed! In his speech, Liam said that “[he] feels joy in dancing, and so [he] thought it would be great to do a fundraiser for Colin’s Joy Project called Dance for Joy where [they] can raise money AND kids can find joy in dance like [Liam and Colin].”
As well as presenting at the Village Meeting, Liam went around to community businesses and asked them to make donations to support the event. The local pub, JP Doyle’s, is donating all the food for the event while Main Street Sweets volunteered to donate ice cream for everyone who attends. Additionally, there will be baskets raffled off that include Yankees tickets, a week of soccer summer camp, JP Doyle’s, The Twisted Oak, and Main Street Sweets gift certificates, and more.
In addition to enjoying a huge outdoor dance party, attendees of the event will get to experience choreographed dances by Liam’s dance troupe, the Westchester Dance Artists, including a special dance choreographed by Liam himself. The Dance Artists will take time throughout the event to perform as well as teach kids dances. There will be a DJ, face painting, a Colin’s Joy Project merchandise pop-up shop, CJP bubbles and tattoos, and more.
The event is sure to spread joy to everyone who attends...just like Liam wanted.
The details for the event can be found here. It’s free to attend, although suggested donations are $20 for adults and $10 for kids.