LAKE STEVENS — Donations poured in from around the world.
People from more than 100 countries have pledged to help the Lake Stevens Boys &Girls Club build a new teen center.
It’s all part of a fundraiser in which film actor Chris Pratt has offered fans a chance to win a trip to hang out with him on the set of “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.” The fundraiser ended Tuesday night, but the club likely won’t know how much money was raised for another two to three months, club director Mike Wetmore said Wednesday.
The winner of the trip is expected to be announced within a week. The cost of the trip and advertising for the fundraiser need to be taken out of the total before the Boys &Girls club will know how much it’s getting, Wetmore said.
Pratt is famous for his roles as Star-Lord in “Guardians” and Owen in “Jurassic World.” Both films were record-breaking blockbusters.
“I left Lake Stevens in 1998 and when I graduated high school there was about 7,000 people,” Pratt said in a video produced by the fundraising website Omaze. “It’s ballooned up to over 25,000 people now. There’s not as much to do. There’s kids getting in trouble. The community center was where I went to stay out of trouble and I loved the idea of using the influence I have to create a space for kids to go have clean, healthy fun.”
The former community center at 1609 E. Lakeshore Drive was turned into the Lake Stevens Boys &Girls Club in 2004. A gym was added in 2005. There haven’t been any major improvements since, Wetmore said.
There are 2,100 members and about 300 kids come in each day for sports, clubs or child care. Roughly a third are middle or high school students.
“Our child care and kindergarten through fifth-grade age group has grown so much in the club that it’s essentially forced the teens out of the club and out of their space in the current facility,” Wetmore said.
The goal is to build a center where staff and volunteers could host teen programs, such as cooking classes, resume workshops, leadership clubs and community service projects.
Planning started two years ago thanks to a 10-member volunteer committee made up of local families, Wetmore said. They’ve been working hard to rally support. They’ll be able to do more detailed planning and set a timeline once they know how much money the fundraiser brought in.
The club still is collecting donations. People can call 425-377-0250 for more information about how to donate.
“The community’s done a great job,” Wetmore said. “This fundraiser was a huge help but we’re still going to try to raise some funds to help cover our big wish list.”
Along with the teen center, the rest of the building needs a new roof, floors and paint.
The club set a fundraising goal of $550,000: $400,000 for the teen center and $150,000 for other renovations. Additional money would mean a bigger, better teen center, Wetmore said. Construction costs also have gone up over the past two years.
Construction could start as soon as this summer.
Pratt is confident the fundraiser will give the Boys &Girls Club the boost it needs.
“I think we’re going to do it,” he said in the video. “I think there’s going to be an awesome place for kids to go play in my hometown.”
The video was filmed in early April, when kids at the Boys &Girls Club built a play spaceship out of cardboard, recyclables and craft supplies. They made up super powers for themselves and climbed inside. Then Pratt surprised them with a video chat from the set of the Milano, Star-Lord’s spaceship. A screen was set up above the kids’ makeshift control panel, where colorful letters on a bright green background proclaimed their ship “The Viking,” a nod to the Lake Stevens High School mascot. Round white push lights served as triggers to “fire the rockets” and “blast off.”
Kids screamed or clapped hands over their mouths when Pratt appeared on the screen. They laughed at his jokes and won some laughs from him with their made-up super powers, such as firing gum balls from their belly button or growing carrots out of their body.
Pratt told them to push the red button in their spaceship and they did. From openings in the cardboard walls, bowls of ice cream were passed in.
The movie star told the kids from his hometown that they all are official guardians of the galaxy. They cheered and grinned and threw their arms into the air.
“That was the best part about it,” Wetmore said. “That’s why we do it.”
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.