Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Where fun meets generosity

Staff Writer | October 27, 2022 1:06 AM

A penny here, a dollar there.

Every cent guests generously donated on Silverwood Theme Park's train ride this summer contributed to the $100,000 gift the park donated to Children's Village on Tuesday.

"These are dollars that will serve so many kids," said Vanessa Moos, Children's Village executive director. "It's a really big deal."

This season, the historical Steam Engine No. 7 transported passengers not just around the park, but back to the year 1915. Led by first-season train guides Luke and Wendi Yellin, shows included skill-matching shootouts between characters, staged robberies, Sasquatch adventures and scenic Silverwood tours providing passengers with information about the park's history.

The Yellins included information about Children's Village in each show. Newcomers to North Idaho as of spring 2022, they made their first visit to the nonprofit early in the season and saw how these funds make such a difference in the lives of the kids and teens Children's Village serves. Children's Village is a trauma-responsive safe haven for children and families who experience abuse, neglect or are in crisis.

"The work they're doing here is really incredible," Wendi Yellin said. "We just wanted to be some small part of that to contribute and make it as good as it could be. We love Silverwood and are so excited to partner with Children's Village."

Jordan Carter, Silverwood's marketing and entertainment director, said almost $37,000 was gathered from patrons on the train and from donation cups. Silverwood founders Gary and Jeanne Norton more than matched that amount and contributed the rest to bring the total to $100,000.

"It's just really exciting to see all the donations people are loving to give to support such a great cause," Carter said.

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