Psychology students Holly Xiong, left, and Jamie Sparano consider the Wish Upon A Star display in the University Union as they choose stars holding participants' holiday gift wishes. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

This is the time of year when Sac State Hornets prove dreams can come true when you Wish Upon a Star.

The annual holiday project is up and running with a colorful display in the University Union. It includes about 600 stars, each bearing the name of a person and that person’s holiday gift wish. It’s all part of Sunburst Projects, which empowers children, youth, and families living with HIV/AIDS. The recipient could be a child or teen with HIV/AIDS or a parent of one of those children.

Requested gifts range from practical items, such as socks or coats, to the whimsical, such as model cars and other toys. Older children frequently ask for gift cards, which give them the opportunity to shop for themselves.

Students, faculty, and staff need only select a star, purchase the gift, then deliver it to the University Union by Dec. 8. The Union Administration office on the third floor will be accepting gifts 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; and the Information Desk will accept them 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

The annual effort concludes with a Wrapping Party on Friday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon.

“It’s always wonderful to see the students and community step forward to help one another,” says Norma Sanchez, the University Union’s assistant director of operations and organizer of Wish Upon a Star for the last eight years.

Once the gifts are wrapped and ready to go, Sunburst Projects will hold a party for its clients where they will receive their gifts.

Sanchez acknowledges the annual effort is a lot of work, but well worth it.

“I love seeing the joy people have when they turn in their gifts,” she says.

For more information, visit the Sunburst Projects website. - Craig Koscho