Backyard Wishes in the News

Southwest Metro Magazine | Photo by: Emily J. Davis

“Are you sure these clothes are for us?” a young boy asked his mother. The bundle of new clothing, with the store tags still attached, cast doubt in the boy’s mind, since he could only remember wearing used or hand-me-down outfits.

Another child returned for a summer week at a Wisconsin camp for children with learning disabilities even though his family couldn’t afford the fee.

Daycare tuition was covered for yet another child, whose mother was struggling financially. “She wanted to work,” Laura Cowley says. “She just needed a little step to go forward.”

For the last five years, Cowley and a small team of volunteers have supported Waconia’s School District 110 families, who are financially in need or facing other struggles, through donations of clothing, holiday gifts, gas cards, tutoring, tuition and fee assistance to camps and athletic programs and the list continues. Cowley launched Backyard Wishes five years ago, which became a nonprofit three years ago, and the six-member board has assisted at least 200 children.

Read more >

‘Backyard Wishes’ making a difference, one child at a time

SunPatriot Newspaper

Whether it’s providing a child with a warm coat, the chance to participate in a special activity, or a meal and presents to help make the holidays a little brighter, the newly-formed 501 c(3) non-profit organization Backyard Wishes is committed to making a positive influence in the lives of Waconia children year-round.

The organization got its start a couple of years ago thanks to the efforts of Laura Cowley of Waconia.

In 1998, Laura and her husband, Dermot, realized the dream of owning a restaurant when they opened O’Donovans Irish Pub in Minneapolis. That holiday season, two gentlemen showed up and surprised the couple with four bags of wrapped toys for the Cowley’s two sons, Jake and Connor. The Cowleys, who went on to establish several successful restaurants, including Lola’s Lakehouse in Waconia, never forgot the gesture.

Read more >

Pay it Forward this Holiday Season; Backyard Wishes is Accepting Donations 

If you haven’t already, make a difference this season. Backyard Wishes is not only making sure children are staying warm this winter by seeking coat donations, but they are “committed to making a positive influence in the lives of Waconia children year-round.”

Whatever will make a child’s holiday a little brighter; whether it be a new coat, a fun activity, or a meal, Backyard Wishes is there to help. They are a newly formed non-profit organization that started a few years ago. Laura Cowley and her husband, Dermot, opened O’Donovan’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis. Broke at the time, a few people showed up with bags of toys for their own sons. Since then, the Cowley’s have become quite successful in the restaurant industry.

Read more >