The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


Bianca’s Kids makes dreams come true for children in need

Satya Bharatia (‘27)

As children, Disney told listeners that, “If you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish for will come true.”

But sometimes, life isn’t a fairytale.

In August 2010, Bianca Yodice, a woman with a passion for helping children with separation anxiety, was killed in a car accident at the age of 21. At the time, her aspirations of helping emotionally-challenged children were shattered. But although she’ll never get to see them herself, her dreams of helping kids did come true, and to a much greater extent than she likely ever imagined. Now having touched the lives of over 25,000 children since 2010, Bianca’s Kids was established in her memory by Debbie Savigliano, Yodice’s aunt; the Williamstown-
based nonprofit now works to help as many foster, sick and needy children as possible by granting wishes to those struggling with emotional, physical or financial issues.

“I look back on the tragedies in my life including the loss of Bianca with complete and utter gratitude … The all-encompassing grief you experience may have more purpose in your life than to just cripple you emotionally,” Savigliano writes in her memoir, “From Grief to Gratitude: The Making of Bianca’s Kids.” “If you channel your grief properly it can have the most profound and rewarding effect on your life.

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Trust me. I’ve been there. I know.” Savigliano recalls hearing something whisper, “You’re going to start a nonprofit,” at her niece’s wake. It was then that shediscovered her higher call-
ing and promised to not let Bianca’s dreams die with her. Thus, Savigliano initiated her first project by collecting holiday gifts for around 120 foster children in New Jersey through the Division of Youth and Family Services.

From smaller acts such as funding therapy, purchasing an iPad for a child in the hospital or hosting a birthday party for a low-income family to larger ones like providing more than 1,000 Christmas gifts to foster children annually, sending presents to 400 Puerto Rican children after a hurricane devastated their homes and going on excursions such as a recent trip to Kenya, where they sponsored the lives of ten impoverished families, Bianca’s Kids now seeks to make children’s wishes come true.

In October of 2023, Savigliano and her team sought out to help underprivileged children in need. Thus, they traveled to treat those in Kenya who suffered from Jigger infestations. Jiggers are sand fleas that burrow under the skin, multiply and eat at their victims, which makes it impossible to eat and sleep. The children battling this were sick, starving, hurting and severely impoverished. They were shunned by peers, forced to drop out of school, turned away from hospitals with no government support and possessed little food and water; they had no clothes, toys, furniture or even beds to sleep on. Somewere abused, neglected and often victims of abuse from older family members and villagers. Through their work in Kenya, Bianca’s Kids helped rid ten sponsored families of their infections in tandem with the Rise Up Society.

“I want [the kids] to feel important, I don’t want them to feel pitied, and I want them to feel they are so incredibly special that they were chosen by Bianca’s Kids to grant a wish for them,” Savigliano said. “You can see it in their fac- es; when we do it for a child that’s sick or emotionally struggling, or grief-stricken, and you do something special for them and make
a dream come true for them, you tap into heaven. It’s the most amazing feeling.”

The 501(c)(3) certified organization has received top-rated nonprofit awards from eight times. And now, nearing the 14th anniversary of Bianca Yodice’s tragic death, her legacy — her dreams and wishes for those children — lives on in each of the 25,000 kids aided by the organization.

So, maybe Disney was right after all: “A dream is a wish your heart makes,” and such dreams will come true even if your heart has to ache before reaching them.

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