An unexpected gift gave a half dozen kids at Santa Clara’s Bill Wilson Center a very special start to the new year. Just days before the College Football Playoff (CFP) Championship game at Levi’s Stadium, the center was gifted with eight tickets to the game.
“The chamber received a call from [a woman named] Lauren on [Jan. 3] saying that her parents purchased tickets and were no longer able to come,” said Nick Kasper, President and CEO of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce. “She wanted to find a local youth organization. We went into our membership list and contacted a couple of non-profits. The Bill Wilson Center jumped at the chance.”
Kasper helped connect Lauren with the center and then she donated the eight tickets her parents had purchased.
“I know Lauren was really excited at the cause it was going to,” said Kasper.
“It was a very enthusiastic Monday afternoon when they heard of the event and the tickets,” said Robin Reynolds, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Bill Wilson Center. “They were looking forward to catching the college championships for sure.”
The Bill Wilson Center helps the area’s homeless youth in a number of ways, including the operation of the Safety Net Shelter, a 20 bed co-ed youth shelter that helps kids from ages 11-17. Many of the kids are homeless, runaways, refugees, survivors of human trafficking or other hardships. The center is there to help them reset and, hopefully, reunite them with their family or another stable living situation.
The center chose six kids from the Safety Net Shelter and sent them to the CFP Championship game on Jan. 7.
“When organizations donate tickets for events such as the [CFP], it’s an awesome treat for our youth,” said Reynolds. “It’s a great way to reward the youth that are doing well and advancing their status. It was a great night. The kids and the staff who went had a great time at Levi’s Stadium.”
“It kind of shows how the chamber and our organizations and our members work together,” said Kasper. “It’s interesting, people contact the chamber from outside the city all the time. We do get calls like this a lot, but this one was a little bit special because people don’t contact us to make donations to local charities like that.”
The Bill Wilson Center has served runaway and homeless youth in Santa Clara County since 1973. According to its website, it provides services to more than 6,200 local children, young adults and their families. It also impacts 30,000 more through crisis lines and Street Outreach. The center offers housing, education, counseling and advocacy services.
To find out more about the Bill Wilson Center, including how you can help, visit www.billwilsoncenter.org.