COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Saint Michael's Athletics are continuing partnerships with a pair of charitable organizations. SAAC is benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation through this week's NCAA Division II Week of Wishes, while multiple Purple and Gold sports teams are collecting and assembling Easter baskets for children in local Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) centers.
Through the Week of Wishes, SAAC representatives will be in Alliot Student Center from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day until Friday to accept $1 donations for Make-A-Wish. The names of those making donations will be hand written on stars that will be displayed publically in Alliot. During the most recent Week of Wishes, in the fall, SAAC collected $280 in donations for Make-A-Wish. Since 2003, NCAA Division II has been a national sponsor of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, raising nearly $3.4 million for the global charity, which grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. For more information or to make a donation directly to Make-A-Wish, visit wish.org/NCAADII.
For the seventh straight year, Saint Michael's Athletics is compiling Easter baskets to benefit children at COTS facilities. Women's basketball, women's cross country, field hockey, men's ice hockey, women's lacrosse, men's soccer, men's and women's swimming & diving, and SAAC have all volunteered to assemble baskets, which during past years have included such items as candy, athletic equipment, T-shirts and toys.
The baskets will be transported from the Tarrant Recreation Center next week by Town of Essex resident Jacquie Bolster. She and her daughter, Jessica, are in their 22nd year organizing the Easter basket drive in conjunction with the College's Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel worshipping community, helping coordinate the efforts that volunteers undertake for this cause each year.
The annual endeavor was born two decades ago when Jessica Bolster's third/fourth-grade class at Founders Memorial School in Essex Junction, under teacher Ann Rathbone, learned about homelessness, which included a visit to COTS' Firehouse Family Shelter in Burlington around Easter. That experience led to the first drive, which the Bolsters have continued organizing even as COTS has opened additional shelters and served more children.
COTS provides emergency shelter, services, and housing for people who are homeless or marginally housed in Vermont. COTS advocates for long-term solutions to end homelessness. For more information about COTS, visit cotsonline.org.