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'Stolen' funds help young adult program

| November 11, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Every year hundreds of thousands of guests visit Silverwood Theme Park to ride the rides, play in the water park and see a show, including Silverwood's signature train ride.

As part of the Bungling Bandits Train Ride guests are informed that any change given to the actors posing as train robbers will be donated to charity.

"This year Silverwood's guests were more generous than ever, giving $45,557.24," according to a press release.

The gift is appreciated, said Tinka Schaffer, with The Coeur d'Alene Children's Village.

"We are so grateful to Silverwood Theme Park for this amazing funding to help a vulnerable and often forgotten population and we want the world to know how valuable Silverwood is to our community in so many ways," Schaffer said.

Silverwood owners Gary and Jeanne Norton have been longtime supporters of The Children's Village, but this year they were approached about providing the funding necessary for a new program, Serving Adult Foster Youth.

The SAFY program is aimed at helping young adults who have spent 90 or more days in foster care, many of whom have experienced neglect and/or abuse in their lives, to gain the resources and skills to support themselves to their full potential in adulthood.

After assessing the new program, not only did Silverwood provide more than $45,000 from the train ride, but an additional commitment of $1,000 per month for the coming year to help sustain the program.

That's an additional $12,000 directly from the park.

Silverwood's train ride has operated since the park opened in 1988 and has become one of the park's most beloved attractions. Owner Gary Norton's philosophy is "We are not an island; it's our responsibility to help out our neighbors."

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