Eden Prairie High School’s annual Powderpuff games, taking place from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Aerie Stadium, aim to serve a cause beyond just school spirit.
The school’s DECA chapter, which promotes leadership in marketing and entrepreneurship, spearheads the annual Powderpuff games. In this flag football event, female students compete and are coached by seniors on the football team.
This year’s theme, “Huddle to Heal,” is particularly poignant in the wake of the tragic losses of student Aaron Husmann, a junior, and staff member Rob Becker, who was one of the school’s security monitors, last April.
“I know that a lot of other schools traditionally have it on the same week as homecoming, but we don’t do that because our game actually has a charitable aspect to it,” said Raveena Acharya, the chapter’s president.
The games will feature a freshman vs. sophomore matchup from 4 to about 5:30 p.m., followed by a juniors vs. seniors game from 6 to about 8 p.m. Besides the games, there will be a donation raffle, local food trucks, and a band. Principal Nate Gibbs will speak during a halftime show.
Entry to the event is $5 per person. Proceeds will be directed toward The Grief Club of Minnesota, a nonprofit organization based in Chanhassen, and to mental health resources at Eden Prairie High School.
“That’s kind of what we want to do with the game,” Acharya said. “A portion of the money is going to go to the organization itself. But we’ve also tried to raise money to put that back into the school. We are trying to create some resource, whether that’s a space or organizing certain events that surround well-being, stress relief, mental health, that sort of thing. That’s what we’ve been working with the administration on.”
Keerti Tumu, vice president of community service for DECA, highlighted the dual purpose of the event. “As much as it is about celebrating the lives of the two people we lost, it’s also about bringing the community together and making sure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again,” Tumu said.
Pranav Narayanan, vice president of membership, said the school’s commitment to mental health prompted DECA to allocate a portion of the proceeds directly to school programs.
“We had a big realization that in order to make the biggest impact for the school, we can’t just donate to a charity; we want to make an impact in our community itself,” he said.
This year’s event involved Thuy Husmann, Aaron’s mother, in a significant way. She connected DECA with The Grief Club of Minnesota, a support organization for families facing the tragic loss of a child 25 or younger. The club provides free services, including individual and family counseling, peer support groups, and community education.
“We will have a table and resources (at the Powderpuff games), discussing the services we offer and emphasizing the importance of grief work,” said Sarah Kroenke, executive director, grief counselor, and co-founder of the organization. “Because it goes hand in hand with mental health and well-being.”
Narayanan, Gupta, and Sabreen Khanikar, vice president of marketing, had been in a program with Husmann from fourth to ninth grade.
“I was friends with him for a long time,” Narayanan said. “The event is really important to us. We want to make it the best possible to honor his legacy and ensure that we raise money so this doesn’t happen again.”
“We’re glad to help out in any way possible,” Gupta added. “It was a great idea to begin with. A lot of us knew Aaron pretty well. So it’s kind of a good way to bring the community together and support Aaron’s family.”
For more details and updates on the event, visit Eden Prairie DECA’s Instagram page.
Read more about Thuy Husmann’s journey and reflections since the tragic loss of her son, Aaron.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a crisis, please call or text 988, Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or text MN to 741741. Talk to trained counselors who care, 24/7/365.
If you or a loved one is at imminent risk, please contact 9-1-1 and ask for a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officer.
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