Making a wish to give back at SUNY Plattsburgh


It’s not a sweet-16 party for Alyssa Fenton even though she recently turned 16…so, why the limo?

It’s to recognize what she wanted to do through Make-A-Wish to give back to the Third Age Adult Day Center in Plattsburgh and the people it serves.

“Some of them love being outside, love gardening, sitting out there, and with what they have now, they just can’t,” Alyssa said. “It’s all grass, so with a wheelchair or walker, they’re just stuck.”

Make-A Wish Northeast New York is solving that problem, donating $8,000 to the center in Alyssa’s name for an improved courtyard. Alyssa volunteers at Third Age, where she says its clients inspire her.

“They’re always just positive, no matter what. They could be having a bad day, but you won’t know,” she said.

Alyssa’s mom, Jessica Fenton, works at the center.

“I thought how special she is and how she’s just the most selfless person I know,” Jessica said. “I’m real proud of her and I’m just glad she got today to be honored.”

Make-A-Wish says only about one in every 100 kids that they work with has a wish to give back to their community.

For the last few years, Alyssa has battled nephrotic syndrome, a kidney ailment. It might affect her for life, but at least for the moment, treatment doesn’t take up too much of her time.

“Lately, it’s just a doctor visit here and there, but sometimes, when I go for treatment, it’s more like an all-day thing,” Alyssa said.

“She deals with it one step at a time, and we do, too,” Jessica said. “It’s the only way we can do that, and we just take it as it comes.”

One step Alyssa wants to eventually take with her life — attending SUNY Potsdam or Clarkson University to eventually become a psychologist.

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