A local 11-year-old is trying to change lives with a mundane household chore.
Ryan Bellinger started a campaign called Sweeping for Wishes. He and a team of volunteers will sweep porches in August to collect money for Make-A-Wish Central New York. He is asking homeowners to donate at least $5 for the service. At that rate, he will have to clear 50 porches to make his goal of collecting $250 for the nonprofit.
"I think we can exceed the goal," Ryan said. The son of Jodi and Rob Bellinger is entering sixth grade at Skaneateles Middle School this fall.
To help gather money for the local branch of Make-A-Wish, he intends to approach local businesses to see if shop owners will make a matching contribution to his village-wide effort. Some businesses have agreed to post his flyer in their shops.
Ryan became familiar with the organization through his mother. Jodi became a wish granter; she speaks to children with illnesses to discover a wish the organization can fulfill.
"My mom was very excited and my dad was out of town. When he came home, he got on board really fast," Ryan said.
The idea came from something he does all the time.
"I walk around the village a lot and see how many porches there are," he said about his inspiration. He hopes that volunteers will step up to help him with this goal. Parents should accompany children if they sign up to help. His younger brother, Shawn, will be a helper.
There are no set hours during August, people may just call or email Ryan to schedule a time to have their porches tended to.
Ryan and his mother already approached Make-A-Wish to get approval. They had to write a project description, and sent it to the East Syracuse-based branch.
"Part of my goal is to grant a wish for (a child) in Make-A-Wish. Every wish that's granted goes to help a kid with a sickness, so if I can grant a wish using the funds raised, that would be really great," Ryan said.
This isn't the first time he's taken on a national cause. When he lived in another town, he set up a lemonade stand during a neighborhood yard sale to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"I raised $60, and they sent me a picture of a child that I was able to buy medicine for," Ryan said. "It made me really happy."