Boy still dreaming big with Tillicum Kiwanis Park fundraiser
SNOHOMISH - Elementary school student Jonah Urie, 8, is still working to fulfill his dream of making his favorite park bigger and better.
His efforts are centered on his beloved Tillicum Kiwanis Park behind the Snohomish Boys and Girls Club. One of his first goals is restoring the park with upgraded equipment.
Jonah’s original vision for the park remodel was extensive. As most young boys do, he dreamed big. He’s now working with the city parks department to form a realistic plan.
He has an online fundraising webpage through GoFundMe.com and is doing many things to raise money.
Jonah began selling friendship bracelets and cookies late last year, and met his initial goal of $1,000; however, Jonah learned he will need three times that amount in order to restore the park with upgraded equipment.
“As of today, he stands at $1,100,” Jonah’s dad Andrew Urie said last week. “We have gone to all the service clubs in the city. The Snohomish Kiwanis Club and the Snohomish Lions Club have been great supporters.”
In Janurary, Jonah went before the Tillicum Kiwanis Club and Mayor Karen Guzak to give a presentation to gain more support.
“He reached his initial goal, but after meeting with the city, he was told that the actual cost is at least three times that amount,” Marci Volmer, Snohomish Boys and Girls Club area director, said. “He is still plugging away. I think it is awesome that he has kept at it and is still committed to seeing it through.”
Jonah goes to the Snohomish Boys and Girls Club regularly.
According to his dad, Jonah developed his own business plan and has been at it for months.
Jonah is currently making up to five or six bracelets each weeknight, averaging 30 bracelets a week, before going to bed, Andrew Urie said.
“He’ll just sit there and work at it before going to bed,” Andrew Urie said. “I was surprised that he came up with the idea, but I’m not surprised he’s still working on it. He’s always been the type of kid that once he puts his mind to something he does it. One thing I tell my kids is you don’t have to be the best, but to do your best, and I think he really understands that.”
Andrew Urie helps his son manage the money, Facebook account, and buy bracelet supplies from Michaels craft stores. Even Jonah’s school friends have joined him a few times in producing bracelets. At one point, around Christmastime, they had an assembly line going to keep up with demand. He couldn’t be prouder.
City parks director Mike Johnson has helped guide Jonah with his plan.
“(Mike) did a great job in explaining to Jonah that although these are awesome ideas, there are limitations in space,” Andrew Urie said. “Mike sent us pictures of equipment ideas that would fit into the space, and Jonah printed out the pictures and picked the top four that he liked. He then brought them to school, and to the Boys and Girls Club, to show his classmates and friends, and the kids voted on their favorite piece of equipment.”
The popular choice was “The Vortex,” a colorful piece of play equipment that costs around $3,500.
Jonah has a GoFundMe.com page, called “Snohomish Park Project,” and the city set up an account called the Jonah Urie Park Project.
Donations can be sent under the name ‘Jonah Urie Playground Donation’ to City Hall at 116 Union Ave., Snohomish, WA 98290.
“As a parent, knowing that he’s been in that park since he was three-and-a-half years old and he has those memories, now he’s taking that part and making it come together,” Andrew Urie said of his son. “I know Jonah gets excited. For me, it’s all about community. I’m just thankful to everybody for the support.”
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