Students Launch First Make-A-Wish Club
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2013 15:09
Boston College will become the first institution in Massachusetts to boast a self-sustaining program of Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island as Wishmakers On Campus BC makes its debut at the Student Involvement Fair on Friday. The club, founded by Lauren Gray, A&S ’14, and Chelsea Healey, CSOM ’14, hopes to kick off its first year as a Registered Student Organization (RSO) with a series of fundraisers and other programs to support Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Make-A-Wish, established in 1980 after an Arizona 7-year-old diagnosed with terminal leukemia expressed the wish to be a police officer, describes its mission simply: “Make-a-Wish grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.”
With the help of volunteers, donors, and fundraisers, the organization seeks to grant the wishes of young people diagnosed with such conditions. Inspired both by this mission and by their own experiences with Make-A-Wish, the seniors decided to do more to support the foundation here at BC.
“I interned in the summer of 2011 with one of the chapters of Make-A-Wish in the Hudson Valley, and I saw that BC didn’t have a branch,” Gray said. “I was put in touch with Chelsea, and we’ve been working together ever since to start one.” Healey’s experience with the foundation. “In high school, one of my friends was granted a Wish, which is how I got involved,” she said.
Once back at school, the pair worked to turn their ambition into a reality, although the process has been a long one. “We are a service organization, so we started the organization with the assistance of the Volunteer Service Learning Center,” Gray said. “They really helped us to get off the ground. The organization was just approved this summer, but we’ve been working on it for two years. So this project has been a long time coming.”
Right now, the club consists only of a seven-member editorial board, but Gray and Healey hope to expand. “At the Student Involvement Fair, we’ll have a fountain for people to make a wish into,” Gray said. “It’s a cute way to publicize the organization, and hopefully get some spare change. All of it will be sent to Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island.” Wishmakers BC hope especially to recruit freshmen, even reserving an E-board position for one. “We want to make sure that the club continues after we graduate,” Healey said. “Aside from fundraising, we want to raise awareness of Make-A-Wish at BC.”
According to Gray, they already have a busy year planned. “We have several events planned for this year,” she said. “We’ll have a speaker, a BC alum, and we’re hoping to have a Wish family come. We’ll also have a powder puff game in November—that will be our big fundraiser. We’re also hoping to participate in the Walk for Wishes, which is one of the biggest fundraisers of the Make-A-Wish foundation. We would need transportation, since there isn’t one right in our area, but if enough people were interested in attending, that would be really exciting.”
Gray and Healey emphasized that all of their work will support not only Make-A-Wish, but specifically young people in the area. “We’re connected with Make-a-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, so we need to work with them to get approval for our fundraising ideas and other projects,” Gray said.
“I want to stress that the branch that we are connected to is Make-a-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island,” Healey said. “So all of the kids we help are in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. Right now we’re looking to sponsor a Newton kid.” She said that the goal of the club is to raise $7,500, which is the average cost of a child’s wish.
“Usually how it works is a fraternity or sorority, or some other pre-existing organization, contacts a Make-A-Wish chapter and puts on specific events to support a wish. We are a little different in that we are a self-sustaining club—all of our proceeds go toward Make-A-Wish,” Healey said.