Last week was a celebratory week for Make-A-Wish Colorado. Kids For Wish Kids Manager, Ashlee Carey and I went to Chaparral High School in Parker, CO for their closing Wish Week assembly. The student body and members of Student Council were dressed in blue t-shirts and glow in the dark Mickey Mouse ear headbands supporting Corbin’s wish to go to the Walt Disney World Resort and participate in Jedi training. The mood was excited as the anticipated check reveal drew closer. Darth Vader walked out with the wrapped check, and members of Student Council tore the paper to reveal the amount. Tears were brought to Ashlee and my eyes. Chaparral students hugged and cheered for their outstanding fundraising efforts for Make-A-Wish Colorado.
This was a memorable Wish Week assembly for Ashlee and made her even more aware of how important the Kids For Wish Kids program is in teaching today’s youth about the importance of giving back and helping those in need. Read more about Ashlee’s position with Make-A-Wish Colorado and why she loves what she does.
Interview Questions (Interviewer: Amanda Ford, Communications Manager; Interviewee: Ashlee Carey, Kids For Wish Kids Manager)
Tell me about the Kids For Wish Kids program and your position with Make-A-Wish Colorado?
I have the honor of working exclusively on the Kids For Wish Kids program. My main responsibilities are local outreach, cultivating and maintaining relationships and helping schools/groups perform successful fundraising events. The Kids For Wish Kids (KFWK) program works with K-12 schools, colleges/university groups and young individuals who fundraise for Make-A-Wish through various events. A Wish Week is a week-long fundraiser with many different events followed by a closing assembly to celebrate and thank the students for their participation and efforts.
The Kids For Wish Kids program works with more than 100 schools/groups in Colorado. Last year, the program raised $470,000. This year, the program is expected to raise more than $500,000.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy educating our future leaders about philanthropy and fundraising. Showing the various schools/groups how they can make a difference in their community is truly enriching.
Specifically, tell me about Chaparral High School and their fundraising efforts.
Chaparral High School held their first Wish Week in 2014, prior to that Wish Week they had participated in general fundraising. In 2014, they raised over $23,000 for Make-A-Wish Colorado. This year, they nearly doubled their donation by raising almost $50,000!
Hosting a Wish Week requires a lot of time, effort and teamwork and the students at Chaparral thought of everything and put 100% into it. They focused on the little details and knew just how to host an effective event. The Chaparral students are ambitious and their energy is contagious. The student council members are very involved and work their tails off. It is so empowering to watch kids put their energy into something so great.
When Chaparral revealed their amount for 2015, what was going on in your mind? Explain your reaction.
I make it a point to inform the schools/groups that I work with that it’s important to not make these Wish Weeks all about the total donation, but to focus on the impact that their efforts make on those involved and on their community. I knew Chaparral was capable of hosting a successful week because of the amazing leaders involved but I had no idea they would nearly double their donation in only one year’s time. I was shocked and felt a huge sense of pride for the students, student council members and Kathy, the student council advisor! When I looked around at the students’ reaction and the true feel of family that filled the gymnasium, it was very obvious that the Make-A-Wish mission means a lot to this school.
What would you say to other schools out there that aren’t involved, but might be interested? What if schools don’t think that they can raise thousands of dollars?
This program offers so much more than just fundraising for the students involved. This program encourages community service, leadership, volunteerism and teamwork. It provides a hands-on experience and helps build school spirit while creating partnerships outside of the classroom. It also allows for everyone involved to share the power of a wish®! Make-A-Wish Colorado is always looking for new involvement from schools/groups. We have dedicated staff members and volunteers that will help along the way to ensure an easy, smooth process.
It’s also important for potential new schools/groups, as well as for existing schools/groups to understand that there is no need to be worried about reaching a certain donation amount but rather to focus on events that your school/community will enjoy participating in.
These students are making a difference in their community. They are educating their fellow students about how to be young philanthropists. We hope that the Kids For Wish Kids program speaks to people’s hearts and inspires students to continue to be philanthropic into adulthood.
What does Make-A-Wish mean to you?
Make-A-Wish means hope. The programs and people involved want to make a difference on the local and national level for children and families who need it. I am honored to work with such caring, generous individuals who come together to grant wishes to children.
Photos by: KeyserImages.com