During the 2011-12 season, the Sharks Foundation established the "Sharks Foundation Community Award," a monthly honor given to an individual, business or group that exemplifies the mission of the Sharks Foundation to enhance the lives of youth and families in our local area. These community all-stars have gone above and beyond to help the Sharks Foundation and assist those in need.
Dubbed the "Lady Sharks," the San Jose Sharks players' wives and girlfriends proved to be a tremendous asset to the Sharks Foundation during the 2011-12 hockey season. Whether it was selling Mystery Pucks on the HP Pavilion concourse or putting smiles on the faces of elderly hospital patients, the Lady Sharks were always willing to lend a helping hand to a good cause.
This season, the wives kicked off a community service initiative to spread their good cheer to deserving community members. Each month, one lady was asked to choose a cause close to her heart to which Sharks Foundation staff and fellow wives and girlfriends could lend their time. The first of these outings was to Los Gatos Meadows Geriatric Hospital. Arranged by Tabea Thornton, the ladies spent quality time with the residents in the facility's activity center.
In addition to their community service endeavors, the ladies also provided assistance to the Sharks Foundation's own fundraising efforts. In addition to selling Mystery Pucks on select holidays throughout the season, the Lady Sharks banded together for the annual "Favorite Things" basket fundraiser. Exercising their creativity, the wives and girlfriends filled baskets to the brim with their significant other's favorite items, which were then auctioned off for charity. This year, $11,000 was raised for the Volunteer Case Aid program at the Bill Wilson Center.
In total, the Lady Sharks volunteered multiple hours and countless smiles to the San Jose community.
What advice do you have for Sharks fans looking to make a difference in the community?
Tabea Thornton: I think we can make a difference in other people's lives every day and it most always starts with a smile. But if you want to get more involved; read to kids, help at pet shelters or spend some time with elderly people. It is always so much appreciated and will make you feel good in return.
Amber Boyle: I think anything fans can do to help the community is great! There are so many organizations that help so many different causes; it makes it easy to make a difference! Contact the Sharks Foundation for volunteering opportunities or visit websites that connect people with opportunities in the area they'd like to offer help. It's always so appreciated when people give their time.
What did you enjoy most about your involvement with the local community during the 2011-12 season?
Tabea Thornton: My favorite parts were our annual "Holiday Assist" event (at which each Sharks player and his family fulfills the holiday "wish list" of a family in need) and our morning spent volunteering at Los Gatos Meadows Geriatric Hospital.
Amber Boyle: There were several things... For me, being directly involved by being on the Sharks Foundation Board of Directors was very inspirational. I feel like I really got to SEE the difference the Foundation makes in the community. But my favorite thing was to volunteer and see how it really enlivened lives! It's so nice to make others feel good!
What does receiving the Sharks Foundation's community award mean to you?
Tabea Thornton: Of course I feel honored but honestly, to see smiles on people's faces is the real award for me.