Among Gustavus’ many student organizations, only one stands out for its service, commitment to children, and of course, its magic. A Moment of Magic (AMOM) is a national, non-profit organization that conducts creative programs for medically vulnerable children. They have chapters all over the U.S. that assist children in need.
Volunteers through AMOM at Gustavus bring childhood characters to life for hospital visits, home visits, skype calls, and events like Fraser Walk for Autism or the Walk to End Juvenile Arthritis.
“I think AMOM, in my incredibly biased opinion, is an amazing organization to get involved in, and I recommend it to everyone.”
According to Junior Emily Adamson, her involvement with AMOM has been a highlight of her Gustavus experience. Adamson decided to join AMOM before she had even started her first year at Gustavus after watching an Elite Daily video on YouTube about the organization.
“I just about cried my eyes out, and I knew I wanted to be able to make the same kind of magic they did,” Adamson said.
Adamson has the unique opportunity to play an original character through the Gustavus chapter of AMOM. Her name is Princess Elizabeth, and she was created by a six-year-old cancer survivor named Avery.
“Getting a character is a bit of a process, but the end product is something I can only describe as magical,” Adamson said.
Before receiving a character, Characters-In-Training (called Magic Makers) shadow other characters during visits and help with costumes, interactions, and field any questions the characters might not be able to answer. Characters-In-Training also need to fundraise for their costume in order to receive a character.
After meeting all the requirements, it is tradition that Characters-In-Training are surprised during a regular meeting for the celebration of their coronation.
“Coronation days have some of my favorite memories because we give each Character-In-Training a gift that they have to guess their character from,” Adamson said.
Adamson had the opportunity to run coronation last spring and she was able to give each Character-In-Training their own picture frame with a quote from their new character inside.
Volunteers don’t get to choose their characters, however. Deciding who gets to play who is up to a team at the national level of AMOM. Characters-In-Training hoping to receive a character must submit an audition consisting of a few different monologues from famous children’s movie characters and singing the ABCs. The team at the national chapter then assigns characters they deem to be the best fit based on their audition.
“Part of AMOM’s mission is reminding kids to be brave, strong, and fearless. Every single one of our volunteers embodies [these attributes], and surrounding myself with those kinds of people has been, unsurprisingly, magical.” -Emily Adamson
Like all organizations on campus, AMOM was forced to change how they deliver their program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the visits are now completely online. Services include hotline calls where kids and their parents sign up for a one-on-one call with a character, hospital-wide livestreams, character videos, and Wonder Wheels where characters and Magic Makers can do drive-by, socially distant visits.
If anyone is interested in getting involved with AMOM, students are welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org and to visit their Instagram page @amomentofmagicgustavus.