From family tradition to community fundraiser Print
Daily News
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 19:05

Women driven by vandalism to Possibility Playground, belief in service invite public to join the ‘1-Z’ fun

    Su Penkwitz Carnes and her niece Maria Penkwitz are hoping to start a new tradition this New Year’s.
    Inspired by a belief in community and service, they are transforming a family gathering this weekend into a fundraiser, 1-Z FundZ, to benefit Possibility Playground in Port Washington.
    “It is so important to be part of the community,” Carnes said. “Our family can just be silly sometimes, and we said, ‘Let’s do something good with that.’”
    It started, she said, with the family’s holiday get-together and an idea of bowling while wearing onesies.
    “Onesies are kind of a thing this year,” Carnes said, noting she saw them in shops throughout the holiday season.
    But after Carnes read in Ozaukee Press  about someone stealing the mallets and paddles from musical instruments at Possibility Playground, she and her niece decided to turn the get-together into a fundraiser to replace them.
    “I have a special place in my heart for the playground and special needs children,” said Carnes, who lives in the Dallas area and works as a substitute teacher for special education classes.
    She stages a musical each year and makes a point of including children with special needs, Carnes said, adding her family is friends with Jeff and Sue Mayer, who helped found the playground.
    Maria, a junior at Creighton University, was immediately on board, Carnes said.
    “I told her, ‘You younger kids don’t realize what an amazing town you live in,’” Carnes said. “We have so many problems in the world, but the solution really starts on a small scale. Let’s do something fun and silly and give back.”
    So they decided to hold the inaugural 1-Z FundZ from 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, until 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The night will begin with family activities and food at the Patio in Port Washington at 6 p.m., then participants will take a bus to Schooner Pub, Riverview Inn in Saukville, Grand Avenue Saloon and end at the Patio, where a DJ will provide music.
    A bus will take the group to the venues to ensure everyone will be safe, Carnes said.
    There will be activities for youngsters at the beginning of the night, Carnes said.
    “We want them to realize that being part of the community, being of service, doesn’t start at age 30 or 40,” she said.
    So far, about 30 friends and family members have signed up for the gathering. There’s room for about 20 more people to join the group, Carnes said.
    Everyone attending is expected to wear a onesie or a festive holiday costume, she said.
    “This is a fun event,” she said.
    She said the family hopes to expand on the event in the coming years, although it will always be held around the holidays.
    “In the summer, a lot of people come back for Fish Day,” she said. “But not everyone can get home in the summer. A lot of people do come home for the holidays, though.”
    And if they raise the needed money for Possibility Playground, they could use the occasion to help with other causes, such as scholarships, Carnes said.
    “This whole thing just took off this year,” she said, so she’s hopeful that will continue into the future.
    Anyone who would like to participate in the event is asked to call Carnes at (972) 569-7300.Daily Press