These are some of the most profound words I heard at my first day of training as a wish-granting volunteer. It feels good to hear that comment as a Make-A-Wish employee and now wish-granting volunteer myself, because I know so many employees who exceed every expectation at their job every day. I consider myself lucky to be part of such an amazing team at Make-A-Wish America. I feel this is one of the reasons Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s most-recognized charities.
Wish Granter Training in a Nutshell
Jennifer, who is a wish mom herself, provided us with a thorough, information-packed training session. She did a great job explaining how it all began with Chris Greicius, included our mission statement and took us all the way through the wish-granting experience.
She shared stats with us such as:
• Make-A-Wish Arizona was the first chapter established.
• The chapter granted 330 wishes last fiscal year; a large portion of these were granted during their aggressive “100 wishes in 100 days” program.
• Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child with a life-threatening illness every 38 minutes.
• The wish-granting process can take 6-9 months for most wishes.
Jennifer went on to explain the wish-granting process and how it all begins with a referral. Once the referral has been received and the child is deemed eligible, the wish granters (two per wish) and the wish manager go to work. The wish granters meet with the child and their family to determine the child’s one true wish.
It sounds easy, but as we broke out into groups and did some role-playing with one of the volunteers playing the child’s role, we soon found out there could be challenges. She illustrated the best process to overcome any challenges and suggested wish enhancements (of course on a limited budget, so this requires being creative or obtaining in-kind donations) to keep the child engaged during the process. Once the wish has been granted, wish granters need to do some follow-up, including thank-you note to donors.
What makes donors and volunteers chose Make-A-Wish?
What motivates donors and volunteers alike to chose Make-A-Wish? Lynn, another participant, said, “This gives me the opportunity to do something good for someone else and feel good about it.” She mentioned she had volunteered at other children’s charities but always left feeling sad.
Or perhaps it’s because we attract so many people who have had such positive wish experiences themselves. We were fortunate to have Nodi with us, a former wish kid, who wished to go to her favorite theme park. She spoke about her wish experience, remembering, “I was so excited … I couldn’t sleep the night before.” To sum it up, Nodi’s wish gave her a chance to be a kid again.
Whatever motivation brought us together … I am looking forward to the experience!