Many students at Boston College likely remember their first student involvement fair, with hundreds of upperclassmen eagerly yelling at prospective members to join their clubs, promising Mod invites and free candy. The experience can be overwhelming but exciting. For current BC Wishmakers president, Emily Perrotti, CSOM ’17, there was one specific club that really caught her eye. Perrotti recalls walking down Linden Lane her freshman year through the involvement fair and immediately taking note of Wishmakers.
Wishmakers has been a service organization at BC since 2013. Based on the organization Make-A-Wish, which aims to “grant the wish of children with life-threatening illnesses” as stated on its website, Wishmakers brings the national nonprofit closer to campus.
Wishmakers was created by Chelsea Healey and Lauren Gray, both BC ’14. Healey had a peer in high school that was granted a wish, which got her interested in the organization. Gray interned at the Make-A-Wish office in New York the summer after her freshman year. Both Healey and Gray went to the Office of Student Involvement with hopes of starting a club that will bring Make-A-Wish closer to campus and started Wishmakers.
Later in the year that she joined the club, Perrotti became a freshman representative. She explained that her little sister was granted a wish through Starlight, a very similar organization to Make-A-Wish, after discovering she had a congenital heart disease when she was born. This is perhaps what drew Perrotti to Wishmakers: the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others for a similar organization that had made all the difference in her own life.
“Make-A-Wish was really involved in the children’s hospital my sister was at,” she said.
Perrotti will be graduating with a major in business analytics and a minor in peace, faith, and justice. Oftentimes there is a misconception among BC students that CSOM churns out only finance majors, but Perrotti has proven to be more about giving back than anything else. In addition to being very involved in Wishmakers, Perrotti was also a PULSE council member last year.
Perrotti explained that Wishmakers is categorized by BC as a service organization, but she likes to think of the club as more of an avenue for fundraising and awareness through events on campus. Members are allowed to come and spend as much time as they can helping to plan events that are inspired by Make-A-Wish.
“We’ll try to have different groups of students planning the event,” Perrotti said. “The process to plan an event starts pretty early.”
Perrotti had a lot to say when talking about some of her favorite things about the club. “I’ve met some really good friends through the club,” she said, including her current roommate and Annie Belgrade, Wishmakers’ vice president and MCAS ’17. “It’s a good way to give back since my family was helped by the organization.”
Complaining about waking up for 8 a.m. lectures is fairly ubiquitous on campus—for Wishmakers, waking up at 5 a.m. last year was easy given the cause. One of the greatest experiences Perrotti remembers was in 2014 when the Massachusetts-Rhode Island branch of Make-A-Wish was having their 1,000th anniversary wish. A little girl was going to Disney, so club members woke up at 5 a.m., rode to Logan Airport, and cheered with Disney-themed signs. Perrotti recalls seeing the little girl wearing a princess costume and her face lighting up when she saw all of the people there just for her.
Last year club members also had the opportunity to volunteer at Franciscan Children’s. Perrotti explained, however, that they typically do not get to work with wish kids directly too much, mainly because of confidentiality reasons. But she noted the importance of the bigger reason behind it. Being able to use her skills to give back is something she has really enjoyed while being part of the club.
Perrotti detailed some of her favorite events that have been held on campus in prior years. Last year they held a Wish Panel where they brought in students from BC who have had a wish granted or students with siblings who did so they could talk about their experiences.
“Some of the events we’ve done have been really rewarding,” she said. “It’s always amazing seeing how the organization brings people together. You can really see the joy that the organization brings for people.” This is likely the most important thing to Perrotti and the other Wishmakers. The amount of joy that is brought to these children and their families just from the events that these students hold has proven to be life-changing both for the Wishmakers and the wish kids.
“Doctors say a lot of the time that it’s the wish that will give the kids a little more spirit to get well which is what Wishmakers aims to do,” Perotti said. “It’s clubs on campus like Wishmakers that really holds BC and the Jesuit education true to its motto of ‘men and women for others.’”
Featured Image Courtesy of Emily Perotti