Kimberly Contreras, an emancipated foster youth attending the University of California Riverside (UCR) and studying to become a surgeon, feared that her studies — and her dream — would be interrupted because of her inability to afford the MCAT (medical college admission test). But Contreras’ involvement with the school’s Guardian Scholars Program led her to the nonprofit organization One Simple Wish, which helped her solve her MCAT problem.
Founded by foster and adoptive parent Danielle Gletow in 2008, One Simple Wish aids youth whose lives have been affected by the foster care system by connecting them with donors. No wish is too big or too small.
Encouraged by UCR’s Guardians Scholars Program Executive Director Tuppet Yates, Contreras shared her need for assistance in affording the MCATS with One Simple Wish and was surprised to find her wish granted just a few days later. More than 1,000 miles away from Contreras in Southern California was One Simple Wish long-time supporter Karen Heilman in upper Washington State.
Unhappy with the allocation of resources from larger organizations, Heilman said in a press release, “She [Kimberly] has worked so hard to overcome obstacles that most of us probably can’t imagine. She deserves this chance at her dream. These young people will one day be our doctors, our teachers, our scientists, our mothers and fathers. By supporting them when they need it most we make the world a better place for ALL of us. One Simple Wish is a remarkable organization whose efforts support our communities and our future.”
Contreras, who entered foster care at age nine, faced some difficult circumstances growing up. “Among the different obstacles I faced, having to start over and build different connections whenever I moved was draining,” she said in a press release.
When asked about her feelings upon learning that her wish had been granted, Contreras said, “Ecstatic! It was a relief to find out that my wish was granted. It took a huge weight off my shoulders. I cannot thank One Simple Wish enough for what they are making possible for foster youth like me. They are such an important safety net for us! I am extremely grateful for the help I have received!”