MAKE-A-WISH GREATER LOS ANGELES INSPIRES A NEW GENERATION OF PHILANTHROPISTS WITH FIRST SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WISH WEEK AT BEVERLY HILLS HIGH SCHOOL
Five-day program spearheaded by Kids For Wish Kids student fundraising group serves as a model for developing student philanthropy in schools across the city
Los Angeles, CA, February 3, 2016 – Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles (MAWGLA) is holding its first Wish Week in Southern California at Beverly Hills High School, with a five-day series of unique in-school activities designed to build awareness for Make-A-Wish and raise funds to grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Wish Week is a part of MAWGLA’s Kids For Wish Kids (KFWK) program, which creates opportunities for local schools and youth organizations to engage in philanthropy and service activities. The Beverly Hills High School event is a unique collaboration between students from the school’s Service Learning Club and the Associated Student Body (student council), and is also aligned with the California Association of Student Councils.
"At Make-A-Wish, we believe that philanthropy is a life-long value and pursuit," said Dr. Ramin Baschshi, COO and Interim President/CEO of Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles. "Our Kids For Wish Kids program helps build this value among young people by promoting community service, leadership, volunteerism and teamwork. And what better way to inspire a new generation of philanthropists than by encouraging student leaders to organize events like Wish Week. Their heartfelt enthusiasm and commitment is the foundation for engaging friends, classmates and the entire school community in the fun, excitement and sheer joy of helping other kids."
"Wish Week promises to be one of our best projects this year--and I believe it will consistently be for many years to come," said Jamie Marrs, Beverly Hills High School’s Service Learning teacher. “Our students are busy, overloaded, and looking for relevance. They are also curious, caring, and thrive on connection. Wish Week is an opportunity for all of us to slow down, focus on a common cause, reflect on our own circumstances, appreciate our good fortunes, or to find hope and inspiration from the examples of brave Make-A-Wish families. The school community has come together in a natural, fun, compassionate way that is hard to match with other events we have. Make-A-Wish is universally adored and respected, and more people than ever are eager to be involved in the week's events."
A major highlight of Wish Week’s launch at Beverly Hills High School is the relationship between students and faculty to a local wish kid and her family, which serves as the heart of the campaign. Lillibeth, 13, who is battling kidney disease, recently had her wish granted to go to DisneyWorld. The moving story of her wish experience and its impact on her health and her family is representative of the hundreds of other children who have experienced the power of a wish, and serves as inspiration to raise funds for others who are patiently waiting for their turn.
"When I first heard about Wish Week I was intrigued because I felt like bringing the school together for a common cause to grant someone’s wish could really make a big difference,” said Aaron Barzi, Beverly Hill High School senior and organizer of the event. "I hope to unite everyone in working towards reaching our goal, and to be motivated for next year to make it an annual event on campus." Aaron is a Service Learning student and member of the California Association of Student Councils.
Highlights of Wish Week at Beverly Hills High School include: a "Miracle Minute," during which students have 60 seconds to donate coins and change; a dodge ball tournament; "Disney Day," when students will come to school dressed as their favorite Disney characters; and a staff and faculty karaoke fundraiser.
Wish Week will culminate on Friday, February 5 with a basketball game against Lawndale High School, during which 100% of food truck proceeds and 20% of concessions will be donated to Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles. A donation check will be presented to Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles at half-time.
“Make-A-Wish does something unique by providing hope for kids who need it the most. I’ve been fortunate enough in my own life to not have ever had to go through something like that. I cannot even imagine what it feels like. Make-A-Wish gives those kids something to hold on to and also helps their entire families. It’s great for our school community to come together to support something that is bigger than all of us and I hope it brings positive change on campus,” said Shawn Ahdout, senior at Beverly Hills High School, President of California Association of Student Councils, and Associated Student Body Member.
Wish Week will roll out at other schools in the next several weeks, including: Pomona Catholic High School, part of the Archdiocese School District (2/28-3/4); LaSerna High School (April 11-15), L.A.’s top fundraising school in 2015; and Glendale High School (date TBD). There will also be a Wish Week challenge between two Burbank schools, Jordan Middle School and Lutheran Middle School (date TBD).
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish is one of the world's leading children's charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 28,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 35 minutes. It has granted more than 270,000 wishes in the U.S. since its inception in 1980.
Since its founding in 1983, the Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles chapter has granted more than 9,000 wishes to children living in the communities throughout Greater Los Angeles. Annually in Los Angeles, the chapter grants about 350 wishes of the more than 900 children are diagnosed who qualify for a wish.
Visit Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles at la.wish.org.
Visit Make-A-Wish at www.wish.org.
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Iris Gelt-Warner, Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles
(310) 788-9474 x115
Kids For Wish Kids Contact:
Taylor Kalman, Coordinator, External Events
Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles
(310) 788-9474 x105