Hardwick, Vt. -
Since opening it's doors in 1989, Make-A-Wish Vermont has helped more than 700 children throughout the Green Mountain State. On average, granting a wish costs $10,000 to plan, coordinate travel, and find organizations to partner with. It's why they rely on public donations for support. Two young students in Hardwick are working to make sure every child's dream can come true.
"If a child can wish it, we want to be able to provide it," said Casey McMorrow. For many children, dealing with a life threatening illness, three words can provide hope and inspiration. "It's all about granting a child some hope during a really difficult time. It can also be great for their families and their communities," added McMorrow, a member of Make-A-Wish Vermont.
The organization aims to provide special trips and experiences for kids and families, a time to forget about the bad and focus on the good. But it's a mission that requires significant community support. "Our science teacher who recently went on maternity leave really pushed us to do something that was really going to make a difference," said Riley Brochu. She and Alleigh Gabbaree are seventh graders at Hazen Union in Hardwick. As part of class work, the two were challenged to create an event to benefit the community. "We chose Make-A-Wish because those kids are really inspiring, because they've gone through so much," added Gabbaree.
Riley and Alleigh used their love of basketball as inspiration to create, plan, and host a charity game between the school's varsity boys team and alumni athletes.
The April 30th game was a success. With help from the community the girls raised $1,000. Math teacher Monica Morrissey was more than impressed, "You say every penny matters, but every kid matters in this world. Some kids don't always have it so lucky, so every kid matters. We need to take care of everyone," she said.
"Riley and Alleigh have been two absolutely great girls. They put together such a fabulous event. The amount they raised goes quite a ways towards being able to provide a wish for a child," commented McMorrow back at the Make-A-Wish headquarters in Burlington. For McMorrow and Make-A-Wish, this donation goes a long way towards helping the group grant the remaining wishes it has planned for this year.
"It's really satisfying. When we do projects in school we always try to help, but sometimes it doesn't end up going the way we want. But one thousand dollars makes you feel like you did a good job," stated Riley.
Both Riley and Alleigh hope to have their charity basketball game become an annual event in Hardwick. With proceeds continuing to benefit Make-A-Wish Vermont.