Stillwater Junior High School seventh-grader Cole Fernandez raised $500 for Youth Advantage by hosting the inaugural “Give Me a Shot” 3-on-3 outdoor hockey tournament on his backyard pond in Lake Elmo in February. The fundraising efforts were part of the Merit Project Program at SJHS, which encourages students to complete merit projects outside of the school day.
This project will benefit low-income hockey palyers participating in the St. Mary’s Point hockey program and Stillwater Area Hockey Association, with the money distributed to Youth Advantage clients to help cover fees association with hockey.
Fernandez began his project by contacting Youth Advantage to learn more about how the organization is operated and what the current needs of its hockey clients were.
“Cole contacted me and asked how money he hoped to raise could supplement the services Youth Advantage provides when engaging low-income children into hockey, a sport that Cole clearly is passionate about,” said Suzanne Block, Executive Director of Youth Advantage. “Cole concluded that he
would like to see his funds help kids attend tournaments that their teams were participating in.”
The 13-year-old learned many of the behind-the-scenes responsibilities of organizing a fundraiser and was successful in engaging businesses in the community in supporting his efforts to raise money for Youth Advantage.
“This tournament was a great experience for me. I am thankful that so many people helped the cause, like Dominos who donated pizza and Strauss Skates and Bicycles who donated shirts, shorts, hats, and knee hockey sticks,” Fernandez said. “Most of the Stillwater Peewee AA players participated in the tournament and said that they had a great time and were glad that they could help.”
Youth Advantage is a non-profit organization that provides eligible young people access to activities offered in the School District 834 community through finanical need-based scholarships and load of new or gently used athletic equipment, music instruments or other necessary items.
“The mission of Youth Advantage is to help young people pursue their passion and put them on the path to success,” said Youth Advantage Chairperson Kelly McGrath Petersen. “Cole’s personal passion for hockey coupled with wanting to help others is so encouraging. Much like Cole’s example, our community’s engagement in supporting his event and others that benefit Youth Advantage, such as equipment drives, will have a significant impact on our area youth.”
To learn more about Youth Advantage, visit www.youthadvantage.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 651-342-1266.
To learn more about the Merit Project Program, go to www.stillwater.k12.mn.us and search “Merit Project Program”.