Young Achiever: Wilson Matsuo (Class of 2020 Green Hope High School)
This Article Originally Appeared in Preston Life Magazine
Photographs by Laura Ann Photography
In early 2016, Wilson started a charitable business, LovedByWilson, to raise money for the One Simple Wish foundation (a national non-profit granting wishes to children in foster care through local community providers). Wilson’s business sells handmade hand and string bags thru Etsy.com and at local craft fairs and farmers markets. To date, LovedByWilson has sold hundreds of bags, raising over four thousand dollars (100% going directly to One Simple Wish).
The idea for LovedByWilson originated from the charitable work he had been helping his mother with since attending elementary school at Green Hope Elementary. For years Wilson’s mother, Amy Matsuo, has been collecting linen and fabric donations that she makes into bags, quilting tops and dresses that were given away to charity. She told Wilson that the quilts and dresses were being sent to multiple nonprofits and that the bags were being sent to the nonprofit One Simple Wish who give the bags to foster children. Wilson realized that, in addition to giving the bags to One Simple Wish, he could provide financial support for the nonprofit by selling “LOVED” bags and donating the money raised directly to One Simple Wish.
Wilson manages LoveByWilson out of his Preston Village home. His repurposed bonus room is both his office, where he created an Excel accounting spreadsheet to manage inventory and sales, and warehouse, where he stores inventory and processes orders for shipping. 100% of the proceeds from each sale are donated to One Simple Wish because LovedByWilson has no overhead – all fabric used for the bags is donated and his mother/grandmother sew & string the bags, and volunteers have offered to help whenever there is high demand.
For each bag purchased, he also donates a bag to a child in foster care. To date, Wilson has sold the bags online and at local craft and farmer’s market events and hopes to expand his service business in the coming years.
At One Simple Wish’s headquarters in Trenton, NJ, Wilson’s “LOVED” bags are used both as totes for children who shop in the nonprofit’s clothing closet and also for those who are removed from their current residence, some in cases of high abuse and/or neglect. Removals are often made with little to no warning so Wilson’s “LOVED” bags are frequently filled with what the children may need by way of toiletries and clothing. Without these bags, many children would simply be given a trash bag for their belongings.
The money raised by LovedByWilson also helps the 400,000+ children who reside in foster care by contributing to the funds needed to fill their simple wishes. One Simple Wish is a unique non-profit that connects donors with the wishes posted by social service community providers for the children they support. Wishes can range from Legos to sneakers to laptops. It is not the nature of the wish though, it’s the knowledge that there is someone out there that cares, the hope that comes with the wish that truly has the potential to change a life.
So in addition to the money raised for wishes so far, Wilson’s goals don’t stop there. He hopes to connect individual donors and companies to One Simple Wish and help establish One Simple Wish clubs in schools. Wilson is hoping that the community gets inspired to work together and give.
Here are just a few ways Wilson would like you to get involved in helping kids in foster care:
- Buy a bag online (https://www.etsy.com/shop/LovedByWilson)
- Ask your company to donate a laptop to include with the bag.
- Get your club, team or school to buy bags or help sell the bags.
- Host a fundraising event for One Simple Wish.
When Wilson is asked why someone should help. His answer is quite simple, “Why wouldn’t you?”
Please contact Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved.