Friday, April 1, 2011


About 8 years I was going through a very soul searching time in my life.  During that time, my heart was telling me that it was time to give back.  I didn’t know where to start or exactly how I wanted to give back.  I wanted to do more than just write a check.  The company I was working with at the time had a Charitable Committee and I felt that if I joined it would give me some exposure to what charities are out there.
It was really funny actually because everyone in the beginning was telling me to see how I could help with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  And I remember (like some know-it-all girl) I said no, because I felt they already had all the help and I couldn’t make a difference.  So I started checking out different organizations and groups, months went by and I wasn’t attaching to anything.  I mean they were ALL amazing charities but for some reason I was waiting for my heart strings to be pulled and I wasn’t getting that.  And still all that time people were still encouraging me to check out Make-A-Wish and being so stubborn, I said “NO!”. 
Every now and then, charities would come into my work and pitch their organization to our Charitable Committee (which I was on) in hopes that we can help them.  We wanted to help each one, but our budget only allowed us to do so much.  So one day I found out that Make-A-Wish was going to come in and pitch their idea.  The day they showed up I can tell you I was a little guarded.  I didn’t know much about them, all I knew was that they were a national organization who did great things, but what could little ‘ol me do?  I actually don’t remember what happened in the meeting, being 8 years ago, but the moment that meeting was over, I do remember running to my computer and without thinking I was signing up for their training sessions.  My heart strings were finally being pulled and I have been volunteering with them ever since.
The cool thing about volunteering with them is you can do as much or as little as you want.  It is really up to you, your time and schedule.  There are different titles you can choose from and since day one I have had the same title, a Wish Grantor.   As a Wish Grantor, you actually get to meet the kids and their families.  You have an initial meeting with the Wish Child and that is where you ask them the most important question…”What is your dream wish?”
You have the opportunity to help plan their wish, throw them and their friends a send off party and really connect with them.  The difference that you make is with the kids.  You are the face they see and relate to when it comes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  You are helping these kids think of something else other than doctors, hospitals and medicine.  I mean how cool would it be if someone came to you and made your one wish come true!!!
I have done so many wishes over the last 8 years and of course I remember some better than others…but I can tell each one of those kids made a difference in my life.  I was the one looking to make a difference, I didn’t expect them to do that to me.  I wish I could show some of the pictures of the kids, but because of Publicity Rules we are not allowed to show them.
But some of the wishes I have helped grant are pretty cool!  There have been trips all over the place… Australia, Hawaii, Disney Cruises and of course the ever so popular Disney World!  I had one little amazing girl who was escorted around Disneyland personally by Cinderella for the day!  And I think it is so adorable when you ask them their wish and all they want is a puppy or a video game.
Life gets so busy and time passes us by so fast that I think it is important to give back.  If you are thinking of ways to give back but do not have a lot of time or even money, you can volunteer at your local food shelter, even animal shelter (someone needs to walk those dogs!), or look up your local charities and call to see how you can help.  I only take on 2 wishes a year…that is how much time I have!  I wish I could take on more, but after learning how many I can handle, that was reasonable for me.  But those 2 kids a year give me such a reward and fill up my heart!  I love getting hugs from them once their wish is fulfilled!  Tear jerker, trust me!!!  But so worth it!
If you are interested in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, then please check out your local chapter, they are always looking for volunteers!
See you in the next blog…

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