Make-A-Wish is a volunteer-driven organization. More than 25,000 volunteers across the country help grant wishes, support events and fundraising efforts, assist with office needs, and everything in between. It is only because of those dedicated volunteers that we were able to grant nearly 14,000 wishes last year.
Typically, wish granters work in teams of two. A few years back, my wife, also a volunteer, and I got a call from our chapter: Could we take on a wish assignment involving a young girl who lived just a few miles down the road?
A Wish Begins
A few days later, we knocked on their door and spent the next several minutes getting to know the family. My wife talked to the little girl about what her wish might be while I talked with the parents and went over paperwork.
After going through some of the forms and the wish-granting process, the father had a question for me:
“So, what does Make-A-Wish usually cover in terms of expenses and what do I cover?”
I smiled and said, “Well, the good news is, we cover everything. Your family’s travel, lodging, activity tickets – even spending money for each participant – is all covered. You are responsible for nothing.”
“That all sounds great and I appreciate the gesture,” he said, “but I can pay for a lot of that stuff and I don’t want to take away from someone else’s wish experience. I know that a lot of people in our situation can’t afford these things, but I can – so let’s talk about what I can cover.”
“I appreciate your perspectives and your generosity,” I said. “However, income and ability to pay don’t factor into how we approach wish granting. Our goal is for you to focus 100 percent on your daughter and her wish experience, without having to worry about logistics, finances, or anything else.”
“Well, we can talk about it more later,” he said.
“No point. Nothing will change in that regard,” I said. “But, I’ll make you a deal. You go enjoy this wish experience with your daughter and your family. And if she and you have the type of life-changing adventure that I know you will and you come back still wanting to make sure other kids have the same opportunity, we can sit down and talk – because I know plenty of ways you can help.”
Living Up to “Life Changing"
Several weeks later, we got a phone call from the family saying their daughter wanted to have us over for pizza to show us the photos and videos from her wish trip.
That night, we knocked on their door again. The little girl rushed to open the door and hugged us both. Her dad, standing behind her, grinned and said, “We need to have that talk now.”