UD students raise money, grant wishes for 3 ill children

A class of University of Dayton students has raised more than $18,000 to grant the wishes of three local children, all of whom have life-threatening illnesses.

David Seyer, executive director for A Special Wish Foundation Dayton, said the money will go toward the wishes of three kids — Legend, 4, of Lebanon, whose wish is to go to Walt Disney World; Sabrina, 11 of Centerville, whose wish also is to go to Walt Disney World; and Matthew, 7, of Troy whose wish is for a play set. A Special Wish Foundation Dayton does not release last names as a security precaution, Seyer said.

Peter J. Titlebaum, a University of Dayton sports management professor who teaches a Sales and Fundraising in Sports class, said his students fundraise for the Gary Mioli Leadership in Community Fund. The university says that fund has raised more than $9,600 for charities, and money for a second charity, which this year was A Special Wish Foundation Dayton.

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The money raised for the leadership fund ends in a competition where students fundraise for a charity they are passionate about. The students choose the top four charities in a competition during the semester. The students donated about $7,500 this year, he said, and the remaining money was reinvested so students can donate more money to charities next year.

The students fundraise through their own contacts, Titlebaum said.

Titlebaum said he reached out to Seyer and asked him if he would be interested in working with him and the class. He also requested Seyer come into the class, which Seyer agreed to.

When Seyer spoke about the charity, Titlebaum said the students were “hanging on every word.”

Seyer said the kids and the students will not be able to meet in-person due to COVID-19, but they are arranging a video call.

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He called the project “a positive step in inspiring young people to become philanthropists and prepare them for future giving.”

“The students at UD will be taking over the need to support community projects from their parents and older generations,” Seyer said. “It is important to ensure strong giving in the future by preparing today’s young people.”

The class began in 2006 after it became clear students in sports management needed sales experience when they graduated, but weren’t getting the experience they needed in college, Titlebaum said.

Keeping the money in Dayton was also important, Titlebaum said, as it shows UD’s commitment to the area.

“UD is very much (about) community, and that’s really one of the strongest pillars of the school,” Titlebaum said.

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