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Volunteering: Mind the Gap

Volunteering: Mind the Gap
When a child receives a wish, there is an army of effort behind each one. Wishes all start with referrals. Referrals can come from members of children’s medical teams, children’s families, or even the children themselves. Once each child qualifies for a wish, a team of volunteers takes over. Make-A-Wish volunteers make each wish possible, but there is a gap between how many eligible children are waiting for their wishes to be granted, and the number of volunteers available to make them happen.
Wish granters like Jayne Roberman, a wish mom and a social worker who has been an integral part of the wish-granting process for over a decade, illustrate the dedication seen throughout the organization. After her son was a recipient of a wish in 2005, Jayne wanted to give back to the organization and signed up as a wish granter.  “Once you grant that first wish it’s contagious,” Roberman said, recalling her first experiences as a wish-granting volunteer. “At the beginning it was very exciting for me because I had only witnessed the wish process from the opposite end. When volunteers came to my house for my son’s wish, it was so exciting for him to begin to dream. It’s been amazing to be able to fulfill that on the other side and become part of another child’s journey from living with a serious illness to reaching a place of hope.” Roberman has since granted over 15 wishes.

Numbers from the Metro New York chapter of Make-A-Wish show an interesting distributional picture. Currently, there are 985 children who are in the wish-granting process, but only 535 hardworking active volunteers are available to make these wishes come true.  Moreover, because wish-granting volunteers work in teams of two, the gap is actually wider than simple numbers indicate. Clearly, there are distinct imbalances between wishes that could be granted in each region and the number of active volunteers within the community who are able to grant them. 

Metro New York Chapter Volunteerism Gap At-A-Glance: 

• Brooklyn - 303 possible wishes - 88 volunteers 
• The Bronx - 187 possible wishes - 22 volunteers
• Queens - 196  possible wishes - 69 volunteers
• Staten Island - 47  possible wishes - 11 volunteers
• Manhattan - 133 possible wishes - 237 volunteers 
• Nassau - 119  possible wishes - 108 volunteers 

As knowledge of Make-A-Wish spreads throughout the community, more eligible children are being referred. In order to ensure that each one of these children gets to experience the life-changing impact of a wish, more volunteers from the community are needed. 

Volunteers like Jayne are the backbone of Make-A-Wish because they do literally grant the wishes! Volunteer needs vary by chapter, and there are opportunities in every community. Last year, Make-A-Wish granted 14,000 wishes throughout the US, with volunteers spending an average of 12 hours on each wish — a total of 336,000 hours of volunteer work. 

If you’d like to help Make-A-Wish Metro New York reach its goal of granting a wish to every eligible child, click here.  


About this Blog

For me, the point of volunteering for Make-A-Wish is to bring the skills and passion I have for storytelling to make more wishes come true. I love bringing stories alive through multimedia platforms - social media, blogs and video posts – so that all of you can feel like you are front and center watching a wish unfold live! I’m excited to bring you incredible stories of joy, resilience and healing that can only happen with Make-A-Wish.

I first witnessed the power of a wish first hand through my work as a broadcaster with WWE. It was incredibly powerful to see children whose wish to meet their favorite WWE star, literally transformed right in front of my eyes.

I'm going to be your host as Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of critically ill children. I can't wait to bring you these extraordinary stories involving incredible people! Please feel free to reach out and let me know what you are thinking about the stories and let’s figure out how everyone can get involved.”

Arda Ocal @ardaocaltv

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