SSHS Student Leadership Class Leads Fundraising Efforts for Make-A-Wish Colorado During Wish Week
Steamboat Springs, Colo. - The Student Leadership class at Steamboat Springs High School has planned a fun-filled week of fundraising opportunities to help raise money for Make-A-Wish Colorado. The events will raise money to help grant wishes for kids like Otis and Eden of Steamboat, a brother and sister with the same critical illness.
Make-A-Wish Colorado's student-led fundraising program, Kids For Wish Kids®, allows students to gain exposure to philanthropy and learn valuable leadership skills while raising funds to grant more wishes for Colorado children with critical illnesses. Most participants choose to host a Wish Week, a spirit week themed around Make-A-Wish. Wish Week is planned and managed entirely by the students, with guidance from an adult advisor. The schools feature a wish kid and center their fundraising activities around that child and their wish, typically including a celebration that the wish kid and family attend.
More than 200 schools across Colorado participated in the 2023 Kids For Wish Kids program, which is the most extensive student-led Make-A-Wish fundraising program in the country. Last year, Colorado students raised enough funds to grant life-changing wishes to 250 Colorado children with critical illnesses. This is Steamboat Springs High School’s first year supporting Make-A-Wish Colorado.
Wish Week begins with a pep rally on February 2 and culminates with the Snowcoming Dance on February 8. The fundraising events will celebrate Otis and Eden and incorporate their interests and personalities.
Otis and Eden will help kick off Wish Week by being guests of honor at the pep rally, where the Student Leadership class will present their plans for Wish Week to the entire school. They encourage each SSHS grade to dress in Otis and Eden’s favorite colors.
Vanessa Avitia, a sophomore, wants to make sure Otis and Eden are represented and honored throughout the week. She plans to be part of the group that welcomes Otis and Eden to the school during the pep rally.
“We want them to feel like they are the stars of Wish Week,” said Vanessa.
The schedule of fundraising events includes:
Friday, Feb 2: Pep Rally (Otis & Eden in attendance)/ Kick-Off (day); Half-Court Shot Contest during halftime - Boys Varsity Basketball Game vs Aspen (evening)
Monday, Feb 5: Co-ed Dodgeball Tournament (evening)
Tuesday, Feb 6: Bring-your-own Board Game night + pizza (evening)
Wednesday, Feb 7: Co-ed Volleyball Games (evening)
Thursday, Feb 8: Snowcoming Dance
Throughout the week, students and staff can purchase Make-A-Wish paper stars in exchange for a donation. These stars will then be decorated and displayed at SSHS. Additionally, all ticket sales for the Snowcoming Dance and all ticket sales from sporting events the weekend of February 2 will go toward Make-A-Wish Colorado.
Ken Vener, who teaches the Student Leadership class, said that the students came up with all the ideas on how to raise money. They aim to raise between $5,000 and $7,000 during Wish Week to help grant wishes for kids like Otis and Eden.
The Student Leadership class traditionally plans the events and Homecoming and Snowcoming each year. The class consists of students in all grades at SSHS.
Gabriela Garcia Armendariz, a junior, is helping to ensure that Eden and Otis's interests are represented in the week's fundraising activities. For instance, she is helping assemble a snack cart with the kids’ favorite foods. The snacks will be sold throughout the week at SSHS as part of the fundraising effort.
“For me, it’s important to be a part of this because it shows high school students have more opportunities to be a part of something outside of school,” said Gabriela. “Being able to be involved with this with the whole community is really cool.”
Make-A-Wish Colorado was founded in 1983 in memory of 7-year-old Jennifer Mazak, who had liver disease. Jennifer loved listening to the radio and dreamed of meeting her favorite station’s mascot, the KIMN Chicken. Her mom, Joan, teamed up with her friends and coworkers to make her daughter’s wish come true! Inspired by the impact Jennifer’s experience had on herself and her entire community, Joan founded the Colorado chapter of Make-A-Wish in Jennifer’s memory. Forty years later, more than 6,350 Colorado kids have experienced the hope and strength of a wish come true.
Laura Milius, SSSD Director of Communications