The Wishmakers on campus have been collaborating with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Lubbock for years. Together the organizations work together to grant wishes for children with cancers or other fatal illnesses. However, COVID-19 has changed the Wishmakers’ plans.
“It’s been a difficult process for sure, and it’s involved lots of learning,” the president of the Wishmakers on campus Victoria Tran, a senior human sciences major from Dallas, said. “The Make-A-Wish Foundation isn’t really sure what they’re doing for this year, and so it has kind of put us at a loss.”
Tran said the organization is trying to do what’s best for the group members and the Wish Kids in Lubbock. Another challenge the Wishmakers are facing this year has to do with their leadership team.
“All of our 2020 officers are brand-new to their positions,” Tran said. “None of us have had this kind of experience before, and we don’t really have a lot of guidance. I’m still in contact with the previous president, but she’s never experienced this kind of difficulty COVID-19 has added.”
In a typical year for the organization, they work with Lubbock’s restaurants, who participate in Give-Back Nights, a fundraiser. They also tend to have multiple other fundraisers throughout the year. However, this year, finding a safe way to fundraise has been challenging by the Wishmakers treasurer Erin Millican a senior honors sciences and humanities major from Bedford said.
“One of our biggest focuses this year is on fundraising and trying to build up our money stores for our organization and for our Wish Kids wishes,” she said. “It’s been hard, however, as most restaurants have decided to opt-out of Give-Back Nights because of the coronavirus, and we’re losing a pretty good chunk of our fundraising with that.”
Another one of the organization’s goals for this year is to encourage as much participation from their members as possible while still keeping everyone safe, including the Wish Kids, Tran said.
“We’ve really been trying to get everyone more involved with planning fundraisers and events while keeping everyone healthy,” she said. “Unfortunately, we’ve had to put the wishes the Wish Kids would have made on hold because of travel bans and the fact that these kids are at such a high risk, and we don’t want to risk them.”
One event the Wishmakers do for the Wish Kids is an art party. The kids get to make arts and crafts, and they are sold in an art auction, which also serves as a fundraiser for the group, Millican said.
“Obviously, we can’t get the kids together and throw an art party in person,” Millican said. “Instead we’re building little gift baskets that hold art and craft supplies, and we’ll leave them on the kids’ doorsteps. Then we’ll host a virtual auction to bring some money in, hopefully. We’re also planning a virtual bake sale.”
Tran said that by encouraging everyone to participate more in the group, they’ve come to know each other better and have grown closer as a leadership team.
“This situation has really caused us to be more creative and communicate more with each other,” she said. “We’ve really come to learn each other’s strengths and contributions, and it’s brought us closer together and has enabled us to do what’s best for these kids, which is really what matters in the end.”