Stephen Wade Auto Center holds ‘wish tree’ drive collecting items for at-risk, homeless youth in the community

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — With generous contributions from the community, Stephen Wade Auto Center is supporting three local organizations dedicated to helping homeless and at-risk youth in Washington County this holiday season.

Stephen Wade Chevrolet dealership, St. George, Utah, Sept. 27, 2021 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

Stephen Wade Auto Center has partnered with Switchpoint, Youth Futures and the Washington County School District to collect much-needed items, including blankets, sleeping bags, jackets, gloves, socks, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. Visit the dealership’s website for a complete list. 

“We are so grateful for Switchpoint, Youth Futures and our Washington County School District for recognizing the needs in our community, and we look forward to this time each year to provide a convenient location to collect items to be distributed to the at-risk youth in our area,” said Jamie Bahlmann, public relations director for Stephen Wade Auto Center. “In addition, our community is amazing with donating items, and we couldn’t do this without their help.”

Located inside all of the Stephen Wade dealerships on Auto Mall Drive are “wish trees” with tags that include specific items needed by each organization. Choose a tag from the tree, purchase the item and drop it off at any Stephen Wade Auto Center location. Donations will be accepted beginning Friday until Dec. 17, and the items will be distributed prior to Christmas. 

This marks the fourth year that Stephen Wade Auto Center has collected donation items for these three organizations. In 2020, they delivered a truck filled with supplies to each one.  

Switchpoint, Youth Futures and the Washington County School District provide basic needs for at-risk youth and families in the greater St. George area. The Youth Futures shelter provides a home life setting for youth ages 12-18 that need emergency and temporary shelter. Switchpoint’s mission is to address poverty by providing a comprehensive plan to support families on their journey to self-sufficiency. The Washington County School District collects items that students may be lacking at home and provides the resources to school counselors to distribute as needed.

A Stephen Wade “Wish Tree,” in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Stephen Wade Auto Center, St. George News

“We are extremely grateful for the Stephen Wade Auto Center for their ongoing support of our goals to serve homeless and at-risk youth,” said Kristen Mitchell, executive director of Youth Futures. “They have partnered with us since we opened the shelter home in St. George in 2018. From sponsoring in-kind donation drives to helping manage our transportation fleet, Stephen Wade continues to ensure that vulnerable youth in our community have a safe haven when they find themselves in crisis.” 

According to the Washington County School District, 470 at-risk or homeless youth are currently residing within the district’s boundaries. That’s roughly the size of the entire student body at Heritage Elementary School. Many live in hotels or motels, some live in homeless shelters, and others still live in a car, park or campground. 

“A student living in homelessness has the same basic needs as any other student in the Washington County School District,” Bahlmann said. “If these basic needs are met, the student can focus on learning at school and not whether they’ll have food to eat or a place to stay for the night.” 

Their annual “wish tree” drive is just one way that Stephen Wade Auto Center gives back to the community. The dealership supports youth sports, art and science programs, school athletic teams, local school clubs and other organizations through the Kick4Cash and Shoot4Cash programs. The group also sponsors sporting events, concerts, festivals, medical programs and nonprofit initiatives throughout Southern Utah, including the Washington County School District Foundation classroom grants.

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T •


  • Stephen Wade Auto Center | Address: 150 W. Hilton Drive, St. George | Telephone: 435-222-7605 | Website.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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