Ken and Wish Family

Volunteer Transforms the Lives of Hundreds of Wish Kids

On any given week, Make-A-Wish® volunteer Ken Kieffer can be found waiting at the airport to greet wish families, delivering gifts to wish kids in their homes and hospital rooms or visiting with a wish child to help determine his/her one true wish. 

The hours Ken has dedicated to Make-A-Wish are staggering. In his 21 years as a volunteer at the Alaska and Washington chapter, he’s helped grant the wishes of 375 children. Ken always devotes himself to one wish at a time. He also makes a point of staying in touch with the wish families he’s met over the years and can often be seen dropping off a little gift for the child or chatting with the family at the hospital.

Since Ken joined Make-A-Wish in 1997, he’s held many roles, even serving as a board member at the Alaska and Washington chapter from 2003 to 2008. In addition to his work with wish kids, he’s been known to offer his time at special events and deliver speeches on behalf of Make-A-Wish.

Ken’s service doesn’t stop at Make-A-Wish though. He spends his (rare) free time volunteering for dozens of other nonprofit organizations. Locally, Ken has been a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer for 20 years, a volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for 14 years, a volunteer for Give Kids the World, an advocate for the American Cancer Society/Relay for Life for 14 years, a volunteer for Ronald McDonald House of Seattle for decades and a volunteer for the Special Olympics since his college days. His volunteerism has taken him around the world, too. He traveled several times to Romania to work in a local children’s orphanage with Global Volunteers and to the international Special Olympics games in Ireland, Belgium, Austria and Abu Dhabi.

Ken is the sort of volunteer who will do anything and everything to fill a need and will do it with a full heart. His energy and dedication are beyond amazing.

Trina Cottingham

Make-A-Wish staff

Ken may be known around Seattle and the Make-A-Wish office as a model volunteer (and a thoroughly busy one at that), but to the children he serves, he’s simply their wish granter, a kind new person in their lives who is committed to making their wishes come true.