Inspired by Notre Dame, 13-year-old Irish fan raises money for charity
Tom Naatz | Friday, November 22, 2019
Notre Dame fan and Boston-area native Zack Gosselin has raised thousands of dollars for charity over the course of his career. Through a series of charity events, Gosselin has fundraised for a variety of causes across New England.
However, at 13 years old, Gosselin is not the average philanthropist. He recognizes he is on the younger side when it comes to organizing charity work.
From the age of six, Gosselin said he knew he wanted to help people. Now, seven years later, his philanthropy is having a real-world impact.
“Since I was six years old, I started wanting to bring value and peace to people and just make people have memories and smile,” Gosselin said. “I’ve always been driven by the smile effect and people who are down and out, just bring them up a little bit.
Gosselin said his philanthropic work has benefited a variety of different groups and organizations. In addition to supporting two fallen firefighters and a local Boys and Girls Club, his work has contributed to Catie’s Closet, a group working to provide clothing for low-income students, Aaron’s Presents, which helps children carry out charitable endeavors and Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, which supports veterans.
In recent years, Gosselin has hosted a skating event to fundraise for his philanthropic pursuits. Gosselin said the idea to help other people through skating first came to him and his father while on a family vacation.
“Me and my dad were skating in Waterville Valley [New Hampshire], where we go every winter,” Gosselin said. “We sort of had this moment where we’re like, ‘We have so much fun here. Why don’t we bring that fun to other people?’”
The skating event has grown significantly over the years, he said.
“When I was six it was 100 people, and I’m like ‘whoa, this is crazy,’” Gosselin said. “When I was seven it became 200, and then the year after that was the one 450 people showed up and Jermaine Wiggins, who’s a Super Bowl champion, so we had ties to him. It’s just been growing on and on ever since.”
In addition to being an accomplished philanthropist, Gosselin also considers himself a loyal Notre Dame fan, even though he’s from Boston and has relatives who will likely be rooting against the Irish on Saturday.
“I don’t know what it’s been. I’ve always liked them,” he said in reference to Notre Dame football. “My whole family is [Boston College] people. But I’ve always liked them for my whole life. I don’t know what brought me to it.”
Gosselin visited campus for the first time last weekend, where he witnessed the Fighting Irish’s 52-20 victory over Navy. He said his Notre Dame fandom has inspired his charity work, particularly with respect to the old adage Irish players read as they come out of the locker room and onto the field.
“‘Play like a champion today’ is really something where I see it and think ‘I am playing like a champion today in my own way,’” he said. “It helps me out there.”