Cake Boss… Meet Hannah Finn of the One Wish Project
I want these children to feel the same special.
Throughout her childhood Hannah Finn’s Mom always made certain that she and her brothers felt special on their birthdays. That family tradition made a big imprint on Hannah – an imprint that she channels through her service as the founder of the Andover-based One Wish Project. The project, a labor of love, was lauched in 2017 in conjunction with Lazarus House. It’s original mission was to provide a special birthday experience to children and young teen residents by presenting the Birthday Girl or Birthday Boy with a custom homemade cake (baked by Hannah), party decorations and presents. Over time the One Wish Project’s scope has grow,n and they now partner with two additional shelters. “I want these children to feel the same special way that I do on their birthdays – despite their current circumstances,” shares Hannah.
Earlier this year, Hannah was recognized as a “Community Hero” by the American Red Cross. Family Services of the Merrimack Valley is beyond pleased to welcome Hannah and the One Wish Project as a new fiscal partner. We recently caught up with Hannah as she makes her way through her Junior year at Andover High School.
Hannah, thanks for the difference you are making here in our community with the One Wish Project. Congratulations on the program’s success. Can you share a bit about your passion for baking? Where did you learn your confectionery skills, and at what age did you begin to sketch out this project?
Ever since I was young, I have always had a love for baking. My baking skills are self taught, but I have worked with a handful of people to guide me in making the cakes. I have also learned a lot of the skills by watching things like Youtube videos as well as baking shows on television. I began the One Wish Project in April of 2017 when I was fourteen years old.
How has the One Wish Project changed your life?
The One Wish Project has opened my eyes about the extent of the homeless issues even in our own community and has taught me how important it is to try and help other in need. The organization has shown me what it means to be a leader and a role model for younger children who can also learn how to give back in their own ways.
Do you personally meet the kids who receive your cakes?
As of right now, I am partnered with two homeless shelters which are both located in Lawrence. Due to privacy policies, I am unable to meet the children who receive the birthday cake and presents in one of the shelters. I make the delivery when the residents of the shelter are not present when I arrive. Although I am not able to see the children, it makes me happy to know that they will have a birthday celebration that day and I always hope it puts a smile on their face. The other shelter, however, welcomes me to come in and interact with the birthday recipient. I love being able to meet the kids and firsthand see their reactions when they see what I brought for them.
What are some of your specialties? Do you have any signature cakes?
Every cake I make is unique to what the birthday child wants. They are able to choose on a survey what their favorite cake flavor is, the colors they like and their interests. From there, I am able to customize a cake that they love.
What does giving back mean to you?
In regards to One Wish Project, giving back means making sure a less fortunate child feels the same sense of happiness that I feel on my birthday and giving them a celebration that they may not otherwise have been able to have.
Do you have someone in your life who stands out as a mentor – someone who encourages you to be your best self?
My mother has always encouraged me to be the best I can be and that giving back to others is an important aspect of life. My mom has always supported my efforts in creating the One Wish Project and is there to guide me along the way.
Gymnastics, homework, cakes… How do you balance all of these competing tasks?
Organization comes naturally to me and I can always find a way to balance out everything. There are definitely days that can be difficult in terms of balancing One Wish Project with schoolwork and extra-curriculars, but in the end it all works out and everything gets done.
Lastly… Do you have a favorite show on the Cooking Channel or a favorite chef?
I LOVE Cupcake Wars! I love watching the bakers compete and it’s so much fun to see their final products. They are all extremely talented! I also love watching the TV network Tastemade!!!
Image courtesy of the Andover Townsman.