The remainder of the Marysville Rotary's Marysville-Pilchuck High School Recovery Fund, a total of about $31,500, has been donated to support anti-bullying and anti-suicide measures in local schools.
School Resource Officers at Marysville schools have been working on anti-bullying and anti-suicide initiatives for the last couple of years and the funds will help student-led measures and events to continue that work.
Community members and Marysville Noon Rotary members gathered during the March 20 Rotary meeting to give away the funds.
“The Marysville-Pilchuck High School Recovery Fund was started right after the shooting at the high school,” said Rotary member Gayl Spillman.
“We collected the money in a separate form so that we were able to address the needs of the community right after the shooting,” she said.
Those funds were used for a number of different measures to help students over the years.
“Our mission was to try and make a difference in the community as a result of the shooting,” said Spillman.
They collected a large amount of money from individual donors, businesses and grants that went to the school and community.
As the community continues to recover, there has been fewer projects needed though.
“We haven’t seen any requests for quite some time so we went out and looked into the community for something that would keep with the intent of those who donated,” said Spillman.
The group that handles the fund wanted to donate to something that would help long-term and was in line with the original intent of the funds.
“We are excited to partner with the SRO group from the high school to give the balance of the funds away for them and their projects,” said Spillman.
School Resource Officers Rick Sparr and Angie Fawks were at the meeting to accept the check.
“We’re going to be good stewards with this money. We want to honor the intent of the grants and the donors,” said Sparr.
Local officers began working on these initiatives when two of the SROs went to a conference in Florida and heard two motivational speakers talk about bullying and teen suicide.
“It was moving enough that they brought it back to us here and said ‘we need to bring them here,’” said Sparr.
They were able to bring the speakers here, including for a public speaking event hosted at the Tulalip Resort Casino.
“We had a lot of folks there, a lot more than we anticipated with standing room only,” said Sparr.
Since then the SROs have continued engaging students with anti-suicide and anti-bullying initiatives.
“Our whole goal is to have a positive engagement with our youth and our community,” said Sparr.
Sometimes students have ideas to raise awareness, such as with bracelets or T-shirts, and those ideas have been seen to fruition in recent years.
“Those were student-driven and what these funds allows us to do is to pivot to those ideas very quickly,” said Marysville Police Commander Mark Thomas.
“If it’s a great idea we can support the student body right on the spot,” he said, and thanked the community for supporting the program with the funds.