The Fayetteville-Manlius High School Student Council is gearing up for F-M Day 2011 to benefit the Fayetteville Memory Garden, a setting for reflection that will neighbor the Fayetteville Senior Center on East Genesee Street.
Founder Rachael Ristau, a senior at F-MHS, anticipates a groundbreaking in late May if funds are met in time. Student council members seek to raise about $20,000.
Ristau was inspired to create a memorial for people to remember and honor their loved ones after she herself had to deal with grief over her father's untimely death. She was in seventh grade at the time.
"Grief is not something that exists just on your loved one's birthday or a specific holiday; it's something that can be built into your everyday life," she said. "I have learned there is no true solution to curing pain except to have the ability to know that you are not alone. I want to teach people that it is okay to cry, to grieve and to be happy, too."
Her project took root after the Fayetteville Village Board approved her proposal in 2010. She has organized multiple fundraisers since by holding car washes and promoting the sales of engraved bricks, which will be used to create a ribbon-shaped pathway in the garden.
"The ribbon has come to symbolize hope and courage and that's what the garden is all about," Ristau said. "I envision walking down the pathways and taking a moment to read the names knowing that each brick has a story behind it."
The garden will also feature benches, trees, lighting, pergolas, a landscape wall, a water feature and, of course, flowers. The entire project - before donations and brick/paver sales - was estimated to cost $150,000. Hueber-Breuer, Dal Pos Architects and O'Brien & Gere are among eight business partners.
F-M Day 2011 will take place Saturday May 7 at the F-M High School, 8201 E. Seneca Turnpike. From 4 to 7 p.m., families are welcome to experience the fun of a bounce house, carnival games, sporting events, a dunk tank, a diva salon and candy. From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., a dance will be held in the courtyard for high school students. T-shirts will be sold to high school students for $15, which includes admission to the dance. Middle school and elementary students can buy the T-shirts for $10.
F-M sports teams will also be playing outside that day.
For more details on the garden and ways to make a donation, visit fayettevillememorygarden.org or email Ristau directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.