Some kids know their wish immediately. Their words come tumbling out - “I want to go to Disney World!” or “I want to meet John Cena!” Many more, however, take their time in deciding on their perfect wish. They may have several options they are weighing. Or an idea that excites them but is a little fuzzy on the details.
Luckily, Make-A-Wish has passionate wish-granting volunteers who dedicate their time to making sure that kids get their perfect wish. Many people might not realize that it is volunteers who meet with the children and their families to guide them through the process of figuring out their one true wish.
“Being a wish granter gives me a super power,” explained Colleen Lee. “I’m able to help a child in their fight against a disease in a way that not even a doctor can.” Colleen is the Director of Corporate Relations here at Make-A-Wish Metro New York and Western New York, but in her spare time she is also a volunteer wish granter. “I wanted to help the kids on the furthest subway stop!” she said, “to make sure that even the kids that were the hardest to reach for volunteers didn’t have to wait longer for their wishes to come true.”
When Colleen first meets a new wish family, she takes her time in getting to know them. She asks the wish child about what he or she enjoys most, from favorite subjects in school to what they love to do outside of school. She tries to learn as much as possible to help her get inside the mind and imagination of the child. Her goal is to make sure “that on the day their wish comes true, it is exactly what they had been thinking about for so long.”
One of Colleen’s wish kids is a young man who has never left the New York area. She learned of his love of history and Shakespeare and that he wanted to go on a trip. After talking over many possibilities, he decided that the perfect place for him to visit would be Rome. He would get to see some of the world’s oldest architecture and explore the settings of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Colleen’s guidance and genuine desire to understand her wish kid led to a wish tailored to bring him maximum joy and excitement.
The work that Colleen and all wish-granting volunteers do is vital to the Make-A-Wish mission. The organization simply could not do what it does without them. Helping a child discover their one true wish may sound like a daunting task, but the reward is sharing in the excitement and pure joy that it brings to wish kids and their families.