When assigned her Novato High School senior project, Hailee Seehusen knew immediately that she wanted to create a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area.
Hailee’s grandfather was a wish granter and he would often tell Hailee about the wish kids he met, the wishes he worked on and the impact it had on him. After he passed away, Hailee wanted to carry on her grandfather’s legacy.
This school year, Hailee joined the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area Youth Board, a philanthropy and leadership program open to students ages 13 to 18. Simultaneously, Hailee and her friend, Zach McIntyre launched a Novato High School Wish Week, their senior project focused on a series of fundraising events to benefit Make-A-Wish. Between dine and donate activations at restaurants, wish star sales, and a social event to cap off the week, the two were excited to engage with the Novato community and help provide hope and joy to wish kids. When school unexpectedly closed due to shelter-in-place orders, Wish Week was hanging in the balance, but Hailee and Zach wanted to finish what they started.
“We both felt at that point that we were invested in it and wanted to make something happen,” Hailee says. “We had to be creative and redesign a virtual wish week that we could do instead.
Instead of selling starts at lunch, the two students ran donations online and hung the stars up on campus with the donors’ names on them. They also ramped up their outreach efforts on social media, encouraging community members to fundraise with Make-A-Wish. They surged pass their original fundraising goal of $1,000, collecting an impressive $10,100 (and counting!) to help wish kids during a time when they need it the most.
“The biggest surprise to us was how willing people were to still help others and come together as a community,” says Hailee. “That was the part that inspired me the most.”
While Hailee and Zach will attend Vanderbilt University and Duke University respectively in the fall, they are hopeful and confident that Wish Week will continue at their alma mater for years to come.
“Being able to leave something that is surviving us and would have an ongoing impact would mean a lot to me,” says Hailee.
Creative, driven virtual fundraisers like Hailee and Zach are vital to continuing our mission of granting wishes for every eligible child in the greater Bay Area. Learn more about how you can get involved.