Thirteen-year-old Kyan MacDonald is living with leukemia in Bridgton, Maine. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave him the opportunity of his young lifetime, he chose a tiny house of his very own on his family’s property. The idea came from hours spent in the hospital watching TV shows about tiny houses in massive natural settings. When it came to making a wish, Kyan wanted something he could keep, not just a one-time experience.
To help make Kyan’s wish come true, Make-A-Wish Maine called on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s (SFI) Maine Implementation Committee. There are 34 SFI Implementation Committees (SICs) across the US and Canada and they act as grassroots networks of forestry professionals, landowners, loggers, and conservationists. They work in their local communities to broaden the practice of sustainable forestry and achieve on-the-ground progress.
The Maine SFI Implementation Committee reached out to SFI Program Participants to donate sustainably sourced wood for Kyan’s Kabin, almost all of which was sourced locally in Maine. SFI Program Participants include landowners and forest product companies whose forestry practices meet the rigorous sustainability certification standards of SFI, from protecting biodiversity to maintaining water quality. Since 1995, SFI Program Participants have contributed more than $65 million to support local programs through SFI Implementation Committees.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation and SFI consider Kyan’s Kabin one of the first of many collaborations toward a sustainable partnership for community-based support.
“For Make-A-Wish Maine, the partnership with SFI has been wonderful,” Kate Vickery, director of program services and operations for Make-a-Wish Maine, said. “We encourage our wish kids to wish for anything they’ve dreamed about. To be able to deliver something custom built, just for them, aligns with our mission perfectly. We are so grateful for the outpouring of volunteer hours and the response by the SFI members. Being able to engage folks throughout our state in the power of granting a wish, while at the same time exposing the building of projects with sustainably sourced materials to the general public, made for a great alliance.”
According to Pat Sirois, state coordinator of the Maine SFI Implementation Committee, “Working on Kyan's Kabin allowed us to help give Kyan and his family something fun to focus on that would afford them some emotional relief from all they've been through. I think most of us involved might have benefited even more from this project than Kyan and his family. It was an honor to be invited into this very special project by a very special organization.”
Learn more about sustainable forestry and the critical community connection at sfiprogram.org.