Gilda’s LaughFest is inviting all schools to be a part of the 10-day festival of laughter that happens March 9-19, 2017. Whether you’re participating in our ‘What Makes you Smile?’ program or partnering with us on bringing seriously funny stuff to the classroom, you and your students will be creating an awareness of laughter as an essential part of our emotional health and well-being.

We’ve provided some activities that your class can easily participate in and are sure to bring a little more laughter and sunshine smiles during the gray months of winter.

All of these events are FREE to participate in!


“What Makes you Laugh?” Writing and Art CompetitionArt Competition

Open to grades K-12 Have your students write an essay, short story, or poem, or create an art piece about what makes them LAUGH. Have them tell us about the time they saw a kid at lunch shoot milk out of their nose or draw a silly portrait of their dog in a tutu or whatever else tickles their funny bone.

Accepting Submissions November 1, 2016 – February 10, 2017.

Art Contest Rules

Writing Contest Rules


“What Makes You Smile?” Program – Open to all grades!
What Makes You SmileLaughFest has teamed up with the Gerald R. Ford Airport to highlight LaughFest and West Michigan area schools, students through the “What Makes You Smile?” program. Students receive an 8×8 LaughFest smile and are asked to write a sentence or key words stating what makes them smile/laugh. These smiles will be on display at the airport in the lead up to and during the 10-days of LaughFest. We provide the smiles; your students provide the laughter.





Seriously Funny Stuff in the Classroom
We’d like to work together to offer some additional speakers/workshops which are available on a first come, first served basis to teachers/classrooms. All programming will be available starting in February. Let us know what fits your classroom from the options below and we’ll bring the funny!


1. Stand-Up 101: Students, with the instruction of a LaughFest comedian, will learn the art of stand-up comedy and joke writing. Recommended Grades: 4th – 12th.2014_03_11- Kids Joke Night-Lowell

2. Youth Improv: An area improv troupe will visit schools to teach students the art of improv. Improv is a form of live theatre in which the story is made up in the moment, usually based on suggestions from the audience. Improv is a great way to improve public speaking skills and to quickly think on one’s feet. Recommended Grades: 4th – 12th.

3. Sketch Writing: Students will learn the art of writing sketch comedy from Grand Rapids’ own sketch writers. What’s sketch comedy? Think Saturday Night Live, Key and Peele, Monty Python, etc. Small vignettes of comedy that make up an entire show of hilarity. Recommended Grades: 6th – 12th.

4. Laughter Circle: Laughter is the best medicine and students will learn during a laughter circle how that’s true. Students will leave happy, healthy and energized. Classes are led by a Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids licensed social worker. Recommended Grades: K – 12th.


Girl Book and Microphone

What do I as an educator need to do?
As an educator we would seriously appreciate you sharing this information with your students and their parents. If any of these activities fit into your planned curriculum, we would love to hear from you.

Questions? Contact Laura Melendez, LaughFest Project Coordinator at 616.453.8300 x116 or email