Chin Up! Partners with Make-A-Wish Foundation

Chin Up! Partners with Make-A-Wish Foundation

"Many people can do a lot of good."
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Perhaps you remember John and Anthony, the high school friends and college sophomores who created Chin Up!- an app much like an anonymous, communal, and kind version of Twitter. An app, now making itself more and more visible on college campuses, that seeks to bring students together while they compliment and give shout-outs to one another. An app that will now harness the fervour of college students and the accessibility of social media to uplift children that could use a note of positivity.

In November, John and Anthony, successfully partnered Chin Up! with the Make-A-Wish foundation of Connecticut.

This partnership with the Make-A-Wish foundation was something that was always on the back of their minds during the conception of the app. While Chin Up! was still a blueprint, Anthony stumbled upon some Make-A-Wish videos on YouTube. He says that, “watching the stories of these amazingly strong children battle the unimaginable, I realized that if we have an app that reaches thousands of people, those thousands of people can reach these amazing children.” Anthony stresses how these children need to know that they have the support of a lot of people, and when he realized that Chin Up! could be an excellent means of doing this, they made it a priority to partner with Make-A-Wish.

Anthony and John eventually got in touch with Michael Dominick, the Make-A-Wish Connecticut Community and Media Relations Manager and Nicole Miles, the Volunteer Coordinator. Chin Up!, it was decided, would be an accurate and effective partner for Make-A-Wish. Along with Dominick and Miles, John and Anthony teased out the logistics. They decided that they will intermittently feature children on the app so users can send positive messages. The Chin Ups! will then be compiled into a hard copy book, which will be delivered to the kids the night before their wish is granted. Currently, Chin Up! is only partnered with Make-A-Wish Connecticut, but the goal is to have every single state involved. Whether you’re a Chin-Up! user from Massachusetts or California, everyone will see the same child. Because they realize that people might miss a featured child, John and Anthony have constructed the app so that users can view all of the previously featured kids and send them Chin Ups! whenever. If the deadline has passed, the later submissions will be sent as postcards.

As it would turn out, the first featured child is not from Make-A-Wish. When Anthony was scrolling through his Facebook feed one night, he saw the story of a young girl named Safyre. She was in a house fire recently where she lost her family and now suffers from severe burns. Young Safyre has been consistently in and out of the hospital. Anthony read that all she wants for Christmas are Christmas cards. When he saw that, he instantly knew Chin Up! could give her just that. After just one morning of featuring Safyre, there were already dozens of Chin Up! submissions from schools like Holy Cross, Sacred Heart University, UConn, and UVA. Anthony and John are so happy to be sending Safyre Chin Ups! and they hope she loves reading them when she gets the book in the mail.

Anthony tells me how he thought, “if we end up having thousands and thousands of users, that many people can do a lot of good.” Thank you Anthony and John for reminding us that we can do a lot of good, and for giving us a means to do so. It is quite easy to lose faith when we get caught up in the unstable climate of the world. Yet when we bring it to an individual level, like John and Anthony allow us to do with their app, we can see that there is still so much more love in the world. We are reminded how we are all in this together, and we are reminded- in the words of Anne Frank- that “people are really good at heart.”
Cover Image Credit: Anthony Salterelli

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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