‘Kids for Wish Kids’ Awards announced at SSE Airtricity HQ

The winners of Make-A-Wish Ireland’s annual schools entrepreneurship competition, The Kids for Wish Kids Awards, sponsored by SSE Airtricity, were announced at an event in SSE Airtricity’s headquarters in Leopardstown, Dublin 18 on Monday 9 April.

The competition celebrates the innovation, creativity and passion of Irish children in their fundraising initiatives. Students from secondary schools in Cork – Midleton CBS; St Aloysius College, Carrigtwohill; and St Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow – as well as from St Brigid’s College in Loughrea, Galway were announced as the winners. John Halligan T.D., Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development attended the ceremony as Special Guest.

The Kids for Wish Kids Awards aim to encourage students to develop their entrepreneurial skills, build their confidence and create a greater level of social enterprise among their school community. Students can take part by developing a mini-company, running an event or taking part in a challenge; and their project can involve an individual or group effort. This year’s judging panel consisted of Gerry Prizeman, Make-A-Wish Ireland Chair; Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Ireland; Ruth Brett, Marketing Director at Woodie’s; and Louise Keaveney, Director at Peter Mark.

Also in attendance was Wish Kid Cade Heffernan (aged 3) and his Dad Tony who thanked the students for raising funds for the charity. Cade is living with a type of cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome and his wish was to meet Sulley from the hit animated movie, Monsters Inc. Last November, Make-A-Wish organised for Cade and his family to go to Disneyland Paris where Cade's wish came true. Tony told the students that the family “enjoyed every second but the best part was seeing Cade's face when he met Sulley!”

Midleton CBS student Jason Collins’ business idea involved designing and producing his very own science experiment ‘how-to’ book. Jason showed real commitment to promoting and selling his unique product. As a result, the Co. Cork student received Kids for Wish Kids Awards for both Creativity and Entrepreneurship, as well as Sustainability.

St Aloysius College in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork, created a social media campaign that encouraged people to post a photo or video of themselves making a wish and to pledge a donation. The judges felt their ‘Bank Fairy’ initiative showed creative use of marketing tools and they were awarded theMarketing and Communications Award.

St Brigid's College in Loughrea, Co. Galway, made the most of their professional woodwork skills by producing high-end miniature wishing wells. The wishing wells were cleverly marketed as Christmas ornaments, birdhouses and gardening ornaments. This versatility led to St Brigid's College winning the Commerciality Award.

The award for the Highest Funds Raised went to St Mary's Secondary School in Mallow, Co. Cork, where the students organised a wide range of events as well as establishing mini-companies. Their fundraising events and businesses included a make-up masterclass, a bingo event, a sponsored run, handmade jewelry and homemade doughnuts. St Mary's Secondary School raised €1,567 in total.

Speaking at the event, Susan O’Dwyer, CEO of Make-A-Wish Ireland said: “Congratulations to all of the winning students here today. Your entrepreneurial skills, creativity and most importantly, support for fellow children who are living with life threatening illnesses, is wonderful to see. Your fundraising efforts will help us to achieve our goal of granting the wishes of all children living with life-threatening medical conditions, bringing them hope, strength and happiness.”

Sponsor SSE Airtricity has had a charity partnership with Make-A-Wish Ireland since 2016.

Aine Murphy, Head of Marketing at SSE Airtricity, said: “We’re delighted to support this year’s Kids for Wish Kids Awards for our charity partners, Make-A-Wish Ireland. It’s a really innovative way to fundraise for such a fantastic charity, while also providing a great opportunity for the students to showcase their abilities. I’d like to say a big congratulations to the winning schools and students, and to all the bright sparks who took part. It’s great to see the next generation showing such a passion for helping others, and with so much creativity and talent on display, our future looks like it’s in safe hands!”

Award winners were recognised with Kids for Wish Kids trophies for their school, a professional reference for their CV, and a mentoring session with a member of the judging panel.