Sweetwater County raises thousands for Make-A-Wish

Even with a historic winter storm in the middle of fundraising efforts, the communities of Green River and Rock Springs couldn't be stopped as they came together and competed to raise money for the annual Make-A-Wish donation. 

This year Green River raised $26,315.45 for Make-A-Wish Wyoming, and Rock Springs raised $36,214.21, for a combined total donation of $62,529.66. 

"We did really, really well," Green River High School Student Council Supervisor Marisa DeClercq said. "I'm very happy with this year's results." 

As far as the competition with cross-county rival Rock Springs goes, DeClercq wasn't disappointed to lose. In fact, she was excited about how well Green River kept up. 

"It's really hard to compete against a community that is double, if not close to triple, your size in some aspects," DeClercq explained. "I think 26,000 is amazing for us. And I'm just really proud of my kids and the community just being a part of it."

That $26,000 is even more impressive considering the fact that multiple fundraising events planned for last Wednesday had to be canceled.

"That snow day kind of took some of that money away from us," DeClercq commented. 

One of the events canceled due to the blizzard last week was the Make-A-Wish Dodgeball game, which DeClercq said usually raises a lot. 

Still, the high school and the community showed up for the other fundraising events throughout the week. The GRHS student-staff basketball game is a favorite that "brought in a lot of money," according to DeClercq. The high school also hosted events like "Green River's Got Talent," "Music Bingo," and "Dollars for Dares," where students and staff completed dares for certain amounts of money raised - everything from student leaders being drenched in mayonnaise to male faculty members wearing heels and dancing to "All the Single Ladies" by Beyonce. 

Several businesses and organizations in the community also partnered with the high school to raise money, from "McWish Night" at McDonald's to donations of tips from Stellar Coffee to the Sweetwater County Library hosting two book-themed escape rooms. 

All the events and the generosity of the community led to this year's donation being even larger than the last two years. DeClercq explained that the high schools used to do two weeks of fundraisers, but in the last three years they've gone down to just one week. Two years ago Green River raised about $20,000, last year they raised about $24,000, and this year they increased it to over $26,000.

"It's been really cool to see that go up throughout the last couple of years," DeClercq said. 

Over the years, all those donations from Green River and Rock Springs have added up. 

"We've been doing this for a really long time, and the Make-A-Wish people were telling us that Sweetwater County has donated close to a million dollars since we started," DeClercq explained. 

While the high schools are excited to have been able to donate this money to a Wyoming organization over the years, DeClercq said they're thinking of shifting their focus in the future. She said they still plan to donate to Make-A-Wish Wyoming every year, and won't stop doing certain annual events, like the basketball game. 

"I don't know if anybody will ever let us get rid of that," she said with a laugh. 

However, the student councils and their leaders in both Green River and Rock Springs have agreed that they would like to also do more fundraisers for local causes.

"We would both just really like to see some of the money stay in Sweetwater County and give back to the community that gives so much to us," DeClercq said. 

However the money is used in the future, DeClercq is thankful for the opportunity to raise funds that go to a good cause every year. 

"I think it's just really good for the kids to see the community that we live in," DeClercq said. She noted that Sweetwater County is unique, because people and businesses are constantly giving donations and are always ready to help. "I think it's important for our students and kids to see that this is such a giving place, and that no matter where they go in life they got to be a part of that."


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