W&J Closing in on $10,000 Goal for Make-A-Wish

5 April

ALPHA PI (Washington & Jefferson)—Motorists who have driven through the intersection of East Beau and Lincoln streets in Washington have, at one time or another, probably encountered a group of young men collecting money in oversized cans. Chances are they are members of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, Alpha Pi chapter, at Washington & Jefferson College.

Since 2009, the fraternity has collected more than $17,700 for the Make-A-Wish foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. It’s an accomplishment that makes Jath DiCecco especially proud.

DiCecco, philanthropy chairman of the fraternity, has made it his mission to raise $10,000 for Make-A-Wish this academic year. With more than $8,000 raised so far, and the signature event – the sixth annual Wish Bowl, which will be held today at the college – the fraternity might just get there.

This year, the Wish Bowl will be an Ultimate Frisbee Tournament, pitting teams of sororities, fraternities, college resident assistants and even established Ultimate Frisbee squads against each other. In the past, the event was a flag football tournament. But because of the popularity of the sport, DiCecco decided to change it to Frisbee. He expects to generate nearly $400 from the event, in which teams pay an entry fee to compete.

For DiCecco, raising money for Make-A-Wish is especially personal. He is on the staff of the YMCA’s Camp Aim, a summer camp for children with special needs.

“In working with children with disabilities, you see that they are sweet, happy, loving children. They are a very deserving group,” DiCecco said. “To be able to grant wishes means a lot.”

Last year, Alpha Pi raised $7,200 for Make-A-Wish, which accounted for 42 percent of all money raised by W&J fraternities and sororities. The fraternity, which has 56 members, also led the campus in philanthropy and community service hours.

In addition to the Wish Bowl and “canning,” the fraternity collects contributions online, and this year, sent more than 700 letters to alumni seeking donations. But even if they don’t reach their goal of $10,000, the fraternity has raised enough money to contribute to two to three wishes.

Dana Antkowiak, marketing and communications manager of the Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia chapter of Make-A-Wish, said the average cost of granting a wish is $3,900. Last year, the foundation granted 23 wishes to children in Washington County and two to children in Greene County.

Since being founded in 1983, the local Make-A-Wish chapter has granted more than 15,000 wishes, thanks, in part, to organizations like Alpha Pi. “They work so hard, and we appreciate it so much,” Antkowiak said. “We’re excited to see what they bring in this year.”

To make a donation, visit the Alpha Pi friends and family page, http://friends.wish.org/008-000/page/Alpha-Pi/Alpha-Tau-Omega-Fraternity–Alpha-Pi-Chapter.htm.

*Courtesy Observer-Reporter.com: http://go.ato.org/1iygtmy

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