Snohomish boy raising money for Tillicum Kiwanis Park
SNOHOMISH - A young man is following his father’s footsteps into a family tradition of giving back to the community.
Eight-year-old Jonah Urie was at the dinner table with his dad and six-year-old brother when he announced his idea to his family. The equipment at Tillicum Kiwanis Park, next to the Snohomish Boys & Girls Club, was in need of an update and he wanted to help with a fundraiser.
“He said, ‘Dad, I’m getting bigger, and my friends are getting bigger, and we need bigger stuff,’” Jonah’s father Andrew Urie said. “He said that he wanted a merry-go-round and a water park for the summer, and asked if he could talk to the (Boys & Girls Club managers) about it.”
That was just about a month and a half ago, Urie said. Since then, his son has been diligently working on his project from one to three hours almost every night.
Jonah is selling homemade friendship bracelets and cookies to anyone he can.
Jonah came up with a business plan completely on his own, Urie said. He suspects, though, that Jonah picked up on Urie’s sense of giving by osmosis. Urie works for a nonprofit and Jonah has witnessed his dad’s fund raising efforts before.
“He has a fascination with fundraising activities,” Urie said. But the family also has regular family discussions about ways to give back to the community, such as donating old toys.
Soon after, Jonah and Andrew Urie met with Boys & Girls Club director Marci Volmer and Jonah unveiled his fundraising ideas, again over dinner.
“He said, ‘Dad, I want to make things so we can sell them so people can buy them and take that money and use it to buy equipment,’” Urie said. “And he came up with that concept all on his own, too. He said he wanted to make friendship bracelets, so he did some researching, and found some ideas online.
Urie joked that he’s become somewhat of a business manager for Jonah.
“Last night he said, ‘Dad, do I have any new orders?’” Urie said. “At first it was: ‘Let’s just raise a lot of money,’ and now we figured out that we need to talk to people and figure out what we need to make that will sell.”
Urie even assisted in making a Facebook page for Jonah’s project: “He tells me what to put on there. I just write it out for him.”
Jonah has been telling anyone and everyone about his project, Urie said. When the two got supplies at Michaels in Everett, the store manager was so taken by Jonah’s story that she got the store to donate $50 worth of materials and then bought the bracelet off Jonah’s wrist to help support the cause.
Club director Volmer is in full support of Jonah’s efforts. She will be arranging a meeting with Jonah, Snohomish city parks and recreation director Mike Johnson, as well as other city staff, to hear Jonah’s vision for the park.
“In the meantime, we’re totally supporting this little guy,” Volmer said.
The group will also get down to brass tacks: Jonah has been bringing in a hefty chunk of change by selling bracelets and cookies to anyone that is willing to listen to his story.
“He brought me a Ziplock bag full of money the other day,” Volmer said.
Jonah had carefully collected $38 by peddling his wares, taking orders for bracelets, and getting friends and family to help him fill them.
In total, Urie said that Jonah is up to about $55.
“He collects the money in a locking box at home,” Volmer said. “But he insisted on giving me the key, so that only I can open it.”
Volmer said she has no idea how much Jonah’s dreams of a merry-go-round and other park equipment will end up costing, and it’s possible that not every piece of equipment that Jonah has on his wishlist will make it in the final plan.
“But even if we can put one little thing in, that could be his project, something he could have made and be proud of,” Volmer said.
Jonah’s dad keeps a basket full of Jonah’s goodies for sale in his car, so should you see an eight-year-old who seems wise beyond his years, be sure to pick up a friendship bracelet.
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