Spread the Magic, a registered student organization (RSO) at Illinois State, delivers positivity to healthcare centers and events in Bloomington-Normal.
Members typically dress in costume as Disney characters or superheroes before heading out to visit with children, individuals with disabilities, or the elderly.
President Leela Wolgemuth said the group is now hosting meetings over Zoom while members individually craft cards for local residents.
The group delivered 80 handmade Halloween cards to nursing homes in October, according to Wolgemuth.
“Every time a member attends an event or a volunteering opportunity, they get to see how powerful sacrificing time to bring joy to others can be,” Wolgemuth said.
Along with delivering cards to the community, Wolgemuth said group members are currently creating personalized videos for kids in partnership with Make-A-Wish Illinois.
According to Wolgemuth, each child’s Make-A-Wish sponsor will fill out a form that indicates the child’s favorite character and hobby. Then, a Spread the Magic member will dress up and record a personalized video from the child’s favorite character.
“Spread the Magic not only awakens a love of service within our members, but many members also use our RSO as a creative outlet,” Wolgemuth said.
Wolgemuth said the RSO includes members from all kinds of majors and gives them the opportunity to explore “an affinity for performance they may not have known they had.”
Wolgemuth also said Spread the Magic is actively promoting the partnership of RSOs across campus. The group partnered with Illinois State RSO Best Buddies earlier this year.
“We hope that every time we partner with another RSO to bring forth joy, we can bring the student body a little closer together,” Wolgemuth said.
Wolgemuth remembers reading an email from a Make-A-Wish sponsor that described the sponsor breaking into tears of gratitude while watching a video made for a child by Spread the Magic. Wolgemuth said the experience was her favorite moment with the RSO this academic year.
“Moments like these, especially from adults, remind me how important and powerful our work is, and how not even COVID can hold us back,” Wolgemuth said.
Wolgemuth said Spread the Magic accepts new members year-round.
“We’re looking for people of all ethnicities, body types, and genders to show children that anyone can be a princess or superhero,” Wolgemuth said.