The PSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has worked to raise money for Make-A-Wish, the philanthropy of choice for NCAA Division II, for several years, but this year has decided to ramp up their efforts to raise funds for the national charity.
After the Division II Identity Conference last spring and the first Division II National SAAC meeting, PSU SAAC liaison Heidi Johnson and MIAA National SAAC member Deron Washington came up with some new goals for the Gorillas’ group. The primary goal is to raise the money to be able to grant the wish of a child in Southeast Kansas.
One of the national initiatives through Division II and Make-A-Wish is the opportunity for schools that raise $8,000 or more in a single year to be able to host a Wish Granting ceremony for a local child. The average cost of a wish is $7,500, so the $8,000 is just above what it would cost to grant one wish. The goal is a lofty one for the Gorilla group, as the maximum the group had raised in the past was just over $2,000 and the total raised by the entire MIAA in the last year was only $14,000.
The Gorilla SAAC group set took work early and had already earned $5,200 by the end of the first semester. That amount does not include any online donations that were made through the NCAA’s online donation site.
During the Week of Wishes in October, Pitt State’s SAAC asked all fans to bring just $1 to the Homecoming football game. Student-athletes collected money prior to the game and at halftime. A video stating the group’s goal and reason for the goal played at the football game and was released through social media.
On Nov. 18, the group hosted its Third Annual Gorillas Got Talent. The all-student-athlete talent show featured five acts from women’s track, football, softball and baseball. The women’s track and baseball teams tied in the judges voting, but softball won the event after raising 68 percent of the $2,208 raised.
On Dec. 7, SAAC invited local children for its second Kids Days In. For just $10 per child, parents could drop off their children at John Lance Arena for four hours of fun, games and crafts with many Pitt State Athletes.
At least one more fundraiser, a Spring Fling Dodge Ball Tournament with divisions for kids, college groups and adult teams, is planned.
Persons interested in donating to Make-A-Wish to help the Gorillas reach their goal, may donate through the NCAA’s secure site at ssl.wish.org/NCAADII.