Wishmakers On Campus is one of Binghamton University’s newest and most promising volunteer-centered student groups. Wishmakers is BU’s college chapter of the larger and well-known Make-A-Wish Foundation. It could be the perfect community service opportunity on campus.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which started in 1980, grants wishes to children between the ages of 2 and 18 who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. In order to keep the efforts close to home, Wishmakers On Campus works to raise money for wishes granted in the Binghamton area.

Since many children in our area will not get to chase their dreams, Wishmakers brings their dreams to them.

Kyle Geniti, a freshman majoring in biology, is one of the co-founders of Wishmakers On Campus.

“Whether it’s a trip to Disney World, spending the day with Michael Jordan or meeting Justin Bieber, Make-A-Wish brings happiness to families who have endured so much grief,” Geniti said.

Some children wish for a trip to the zoo or a dollhouse, but others wish to go on shopping sprees or vacations or even to meet their favorite athlete or celebrity. Fundraising is extremely important for wishes, as the average wish costs $9,000.

The first goal of BU’s Wishmakers is to raise enough money to fully sponsor a wish for one of the “wish kids” as they are lovingly called. This will be accomplished through creative fundraisers on campus hosted by Wishmakers, as well as by local events hosted by Make-A-Wish.

Billy Lemen, a sophomore majoring in biology, is the other co-founder of Wishmakers On Campus.

“The best way to learn more about the club is to hear it from ‘wish children’ themselves,” Lemen said. “I urge everyone on campus to take a minute out of their day to visit www.wish.org or to go on YouTube and find a couple of videos of a child’s wish being granted. I know it would make a lot more people interested in our group and want to get involved once they saw the effects these experiences had on the children and their families.”

Because this club is new to campus, the members have a larger say in what they want to see from the club and what will motivate other students to get involved. Geniti and Lemen don’t preach to club members at meetings, but rather lead the team in a communal brainstorm of future ideas for events and ways to reach out to the community.

Students who are passionate about volunteering are encouraged to join Wishmakers. Once Wishmakers raises the funds to grant a child a wish, the members of the group will likely be able to watch a video of the wish actually being granted, showing the impact they’ve had on a family’s life.

There will be a 5K Southern Tier Walk/Run For Wishes at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 28 at the MacArthur Park (located at 1081 Vestal Ave.). This is the second year the run is taking place, and proceeds from the walk will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York. Information on the registration process and prices can be found by accessing triplecitiesrunnersclub.org/Docs/makeawish5kApp.pdf.

Wishmakers is also planning an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner next month. To get involved with Wishmakers On Campus, contact Kyle Geniti at kgeniti1@binghamton.edu.