The Park City Foundation, a group of philanthropists, nonprofits and financial advisors, created by and for the people of the greater Summit County area, are coming together to support a community across the country, and they're bringing students at Park City High School along for the ride.
Last month, Park City resident, Kate Sullivan, approached the foundation as a volunteer and proposed an effort to help first responders, educators, students and other workers traumatized by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place in Newtown, Conn., her home town, at the beginning of the year.
The foundation supports a wide variety of local causes and issues by growing endowment funds from local donors, helping nonprofits and other community programs. According to Katie Wright, program manager for the PCF, this was an effort perfect for the foundation to tackle, along with the students at PCHS.
"The students at the (Park City) high school have a great culture of community service already installed and we knew they'd help us keep the ball rolling," said Wright.
A $5 contribution from each of the nearly 400 tickets expected to be sold for this year's PCHS Senior Prom, will be donated to a fund created by the PCF, through the idea brainstormed by Sullivan. Money raised will be used to help 26 families, neither the students or foundation member have ever met, spend a relaxing vacation in Park City.
"This was a great opportunity for the foundation to make a difference for a community across the country," said Wright. "I love the idea. I heard of people in the community doing this for fire fighters and police officers affected in New York during 911."
When the foundation first approached the Honor Society at the school, the idea to incorporate students help to raise money was determined, but how was still uncertain. Tommy Brown, PCHS student body president, along with the student council stepped up to the plate to organize the school's efforts for the cause.
"The Park City Foundation got the ball rolling on this. We're just glad we can keep the momentum going on something as important as this," Brown said. "The idea to use donations from prom tickets was just good timing, but we're also thinking about making wrist bands that we can sell around the community during May."
Prom is taking place Saturday, at the Zermatt Resort located in Midway. In order to organize the largest group possible, the PCHS student council has been preparing all month for the big event.
"We held a candlelight vigil for the school after the tragedy, but getting the opportunity to do something like this has been really important to the senior class. Mostly because we're actually touching these people's lives," Brown said "Prom gets a good turnout every year, but we're hoping to exceed our expectations this year."
According to Wright, cash donations are being accepted, along with support from local restaurants, hotels and community members to help fund and support the 26 families who will be visiting the Park City area for a week of rest and relaxation.
"As a tourist town, we can give these families a vacation they will never forget, but we need help from the community to make this happen," said Wright. "Thanks to the students we will be off to a great start."
To help PCHS and the PCF fund drive for the Newtown families, contact Trisha Worthington at 214-7475, or visit https://pcnewtown.com.