WHO: Actress-singer Vanessa Hudgens’ breakthrough performance in Disney Channel’s hit “High School Musical” franchise led to roles in such upcoming films as “Frozen Ground” with John Cusack and Nicolas Cage, Ron Krauss’ indie “Gimme Shelter,” Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete Kills” and Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers,” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September.

WHAT: The Make-a-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The organization was founded in 1980. Since then, it has succeeded in reaching more than 250,000 children around the world.

WHY: “I think that everybody should have a chance to follow their dreams, but sometimes following your dreams isn’t always that easy,” Hudgens says. “So when I was about 16 years old, I became involved with Make-a-Wish while filming ‘High School Musical.’ We would have set visits with kids. It was amazing. I love the idea of being able to give kids hope and happiness. I’ve been addicted to being a part of the organization ever since.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Hudgens says she tries to have a Make-a-Wish child attend each of her premieres. Make-a-Wish of Oregon’s annual Food, Wine & Wishes gala and auction will take place Oct. 13 at the Portland Art Museum.

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