Blowing out birthday candles, tossing a coin into a fountain or gazing up at a shooting star, we’re all encouraged to close our eyes and make a wish.
Our adult selves might struggle a bit at the simplicity of the gesture and pragmatism prevails over the whimsical fantasies we could dream up as children. But for those kids who are dealt a reality where their health – something we all tend to take for granted – becomes threatened, a wish can be salvation. The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Ohio can be the champion for these brave kids. And with so many ways to become involved in the wish-granting process, you can too.
"Our volunteers are really the lifeblood of the organization," says Tom Carleton, Executive Director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana, Southern Ohio Region. "They work in pairs to discover the children’s wishes by uncovering their needs and desires. It’s because of the volunteers that we’re capable of building such strong relationships with the wish kids, their families, and the community."
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children who have life-threatening medical conditions. Eligible children are between the ages of 2 ½ and under 18 and are referred by a medical professional. Whether they wish to go somewhere exotic or meet someone heroic, the wish experience is vital to their spirit and overall health. The Southern Ohio chapter serving the Tri-State area has 136 kids waiting for wishes and getting involved as a volunteer can help make them come true.
Volunteering for the wish granting process requires an hour of training to familiarize yourself with Make-A-Wish policies and procedures. Volunteers will work directly with the wish kids and their families and help oversee the wish granting experience from start to end.
For those who want to get involved but have less time to commit, you can volunteer for special events benefitting Make-A-Wish. Coming up on July 25, the Baker Concrete Classic, a golf event with all proceeds going to the Foundation, will need volunteers to oversee details. And on September 23, the West Chester FOP will also host a golf outing raising money to fund the average $6,000 cost of a wish.
And your little ones, well, they can get involved too. Students for Wish Kids is the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s program for elementary, middle, and high school students to learn about philanthropy by organizing their own fundraising event in their school. The program is loosely structured so students can generate ideas of how to benefit the Foundation as a whole or a single wish kid-one who might even be a fellow classmate. From a bake sale to "penny wars" students can create an experience that shows how important it is to help the children in their own community.
"Make-A-Wish is one of the only non-profits where you can actually have a direct relationship with the person you’re helping," says Carleton. "With 10,000 charities in Cincinnati all competing for funds, it’s important to have that interaction to build a meaningful partnership."
Watch the Webcast below to learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation.