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Sharks make wishes come true

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Angelique Smythe
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Many families from the Yigo and Dededo community had their Christmas wishes granted during a big holiday celebration with Team Andersen and other community members Dec. 20.

The second annual Sharks Making Wishes Come True, which took place in Yigo, Guam, received more than $15,000 in donations and provided families with items from their wish lists, such as microwaves, rice and other basic things usually taken for granted.

This program was begun during the 2006 holiday season by a Simon Sanchez High School guidance counselor, Darlene Griffin, coordinator of Sharks Making Wishes Come True, and wife of Senior Master Sgt. Robert Griffin of the 36th Contracting Squadron.

"When I started at Simon Sanchez High School I really built a rapport with the children," said Mrs. Griffin. "But I noticed money was short in the school system and many children didn't have uniforms, books, supplies and things of that nature.

"So one day I woke up and said, 'You know what, it's Christmas-time. We need to do something for these children at Simon Sanchez High School.' So we got a committee together, solicited for money and asked these children what they wanted for Christmas."

The students were asked to list three things they wanted for Christmas. And even though Mrs. Griffin said she knew they'd receive some extreme wishes, for the most part, it wasn't as bad they thought it would be. The lists included simple things such as food, rice, clothes, uniforms, a television, a computer and other day-to-day necessities.

A month and a half before Christmas of 2006, Mrs. Griffin and other committee members asked for and received help from many others in the community.

"We were able to provide pretty much what they asked for last year, so it was such a success," said Mrs. Griffin. "The children and families were so happy and very appreciative; we had to do it again this year."

Sharks Making Wishes Come True began earlier in September 2007, as opposed to one and a half months before Christmas like the previous year. Again, they received much support and donations from throughout the Guam community.

"The 736th Security Forces Squadron Commando Warriors sponsored 25 families; the Andersen's Officers' Spouses' Club donated tons of rice; and the Navy and Andersen's Enlisted Spouses' Clubs donated money," said Mrs. Griffin. "The base and the community came out and really supported us this year. This is something really special to us, and it's really special to the families."

The night's entertainment included a DJ, the Simon Sanchez High School Dance Troupe, cheerleaders, and, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause, who made their grand entrance on a Yigo fire truck to greet and take photos with children. In the end, presents were passed out and the Simon Sanchez High School Sharks made wishes come true.

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