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Stolen Stars- A fundraising success in the midst of a global pandemic

When we were told our Upper Supper benefit dinner for The Upper Room in Placerville was canceled, the youth board was devastated. We had worked so hard getting sponsors, donations, planning decorations and much more. This especially hit hard for graduating seniors, because this was our last opportunity to organize a youth board fundraiser. Alyssa Countryman, Incoming Youth Board President shared, “Our team was devastated that our hard work and dedication we put towards our dinner would not be shown...however, we were ready to put our creative minds to work”.

About a month after receiving the news that our Upper Supper was canceled, the youth board reconnected over a Zoom and decided that a global pandemic was not going to hinder our efforts to help those in need, especially when they need it now more than ever. After brainstorming ideas for virtual fundraisers, we settled on the idea of an online escape room and virtual shopping cart.

The Stolen Stars Escape Room was a great way for people to donate and solve a fun puzzle all from the safety and comfort of their home. The virtual shopping cart allowed people to “buy” certain food items that were greatly needed at the Upper Room, which allowed donors to be in control of their donations.

We may not have been able to host a benefit dinner with a raffle and cake auction where I would have gotten to make one of my last speeches as Youth Board President, but I am proud of what we were able to accomplish in such a short time, especially given the circumstances. We were able to organize a two-part virtual fundraiser -- over Zoom and for the first time-- in a little over a month and one-hundred percent of the donations received will go towards the Upper Room. With the sale of 91 tickets for the Stolen Stars Escape Room and the “purchase” of approximately $601 worth of food items, we raised $1331 with our virtual fundraisers. We are adding that to the $375 from the Carriage Rides we hosted in Town Center in December for a grand total of $1,706, all going to help the Upper Room Dining Hall in Placerville!

The youth board is all about empowering and developing the future leaders of our generation through the service of helping others with empathy and compassion. Although we did not reach our goal, we never gave up on our commitment to support the Upper Room and that is what we are most proud of.

Mary Matlack, Youth Board President and Graduate of Union Mine High School

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