Stop Saying Can’t

8 Nov
I don’t have time.
I am too tired.
I don’t want to go alone.

These are just some of the excuses people give for not volunteering. Maybe if they knew more about volunteering, they would change their minds. 

Think back to when you were a child.  If someone said we want to grant you one wish, what would you choose? Perhaps go to Disney World? Maybe some new toys or a shopping spree?

This is exactly the goal of The Make-A-Wish Foundation. “Since 1980, The Make-A-Wish Foundation has enriched the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. The Foundation’s mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”[1]

I was personally touched by this organization when a Make-A-Wish Volunteer visited me in the hospital when I was 3 while I was fighting a life threatening illness. So what do you think I wished for? Maybe a Barbie Doll or a Cabbage Patch Kid? Nope. I wished to meet The Beach Boys. (Unfortunately at the time I was immune suppressed and I could not meet Brian Wilson and crew.  The Make-A-Wish Foundation did follow-up with my parents and offered to send me to meet the group when I was off treatment, however my Dad declined because I had already seen the Beach Boys in concert and he wanted the money to go to another child. Stupid, I know. Just kidding. Kind of. )

 When I graduated college I looked into volunteering for this organization that was so generous to me in my time of sickness. I didn’t know what to expect. I had many concerns. For example, what would my time commitment be? Would I be adequately trained?

 One of the wonderful things about The Make-A-Wish Foundation is the training. I went through a basic orientation session, followed by special trainings for the specific volunteer roles I chose to take on. The training was always easy, informative and fun.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation depends on the help of volunteers in every aspect of the organization. One of the nice things is that volunteer commitment levels vary. However, every person is vital to The Make-A-Wish Foundation cause. For example, some volunteers help to run special events. This can be something as simple as running a check in at a cocktail party. This is great for people who have limited availability during the day. Some volunteers have daytime availability and work in the office helping with day to day operations.

My role as a Wish Granter has been an amazing experience. A Wish Granter meets with wish kids and their families to help them identify their wish. This is a bit more of a time commitment but I have been a Wish Granter for many years and I work full time. Many of the kids that I meet with seem so mature for their age. That is because they have had to grow up so fast. The Make-A-Wish Foundation lets kids just be kids. Not only is this a wonderful experience for the kids but I have also seen how it can transform parents. The joy of watching their kids laugh is indescribable. I have had many wish parents tell me that not only was The Make-A-Wish Foundation wish an incredible experience for their children but it was also an incredible experience for them as parents and rest of the family. That is how I feel too. It’s almost selfish how much joy I get from watching these children.

This probably sounds like an advertisement for The Make-A-Wish Foundation I don’t mean for it to, but when you are passionate about something you just can’t help it. This is my point. Volunteering for something you believe in becomes just as much of a joy for you as it is for the people you are helping..  Anyone can volunteer – no matter your time constraints, skill level or location. I have listed some resources to find a volunteer job in your area. Whatever you decide to do, I promise you won’t regret it.

Volunteering Resources

The Make-A-Wish Foundation

 The Hands on Network

 Volunteer Match

 Volunteer Solutions


One Response to “Stop Saying Can’t”

  1. Cynthia November 10, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Volunteering is so rewarding. That’s exactly how I feel about visiting with my Therapy Dogs. Watching people’s faces light up with smiles is such a gift. Just the other day after visiting a classroom for autistic children, one of the fathers of a boy in the class met us out in the parking lot and thanked us for bringing the dogs in to visit, saying that it has helped his son so much. Wow, what a feeling I get when I hear comments like that!

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