Community Support
How We Make Wishes Come True

How We Make Wishes Come True
"If you could wish for anything . . .what would it be?" Wish granting starts with one question -- a wonderful and magical question that indulges the imagination and empowers the spirit. The answer can be as simple as a new puppy or as complicated as touring the Ferrari factory in Italy. The Make-A-Wish staff and its base of more than 350 caring, trained volunteers use creativity and the generosity of others to fulfill each wish.

The Foundation follows certain policies and guidelines to ensure the child's health and safety. Likewise, the child's physician and parents are consulted to ensure the best possible experience. Wishes are granted without regard to race, gender, creed, socio-economic or cultural background.

Types of Wishes
Every wish is different. And though every child imagines an experience uniquely their own, there are some common themes among the requests to Make-A-Wish:

I wish to go . . .
Some children long to visit a special place, like Hawaii to swim with the dolphins.

I wish to be. . .
Others want to "be" a cowboy, a ballerina, or a circus performer.

I wish to meet. . .
Meeting a beloved hero or celebrity is another common wish.

I wish for. . .
Acquiring that special something - a computer, new bedroom furniture or even art lessons - also brings joy and comfort to Make-A-Wish children.

The Wish Process
  1. The child is referred to us.  Referring a child is easy!  Please visit the Refer a Child section of our website to learn more about the referral process.
  2. We contact the child's physician to confirm that the child's life-threatening medical condition meets our medical criteria.
  3. Once we receive a signed medical authorization from the physician, a volunteer wish team is assigned.  Teams are made up of two or three volunteers who have completed our wish granting training.  To learn more about volunteer training, visit Volunteering.
  4. The wish team arranges a visit and meets with the family.
  5. During the family visit the wish team's primary responsibilities are to complete the paperwork with the parents and to help the child identify his or her heartfelt wish.  Sometimes the volunteers supply markers, crayons and paper to help the child draw his or her wish.  Sometimes it takes a couple of visits before the child picks a wish.  When the possibilities are nearly endless, on occasion kids have trouble making up their minds.  Of course, at other times the child is ready to describe the wish when the volunteers arrive at the door.
  6. Once the wish is determined the child's physician decides if the child's wish is safe and appropriate for the child.  Then the magic begins.  Depending on the type of wish, airlines are called, purchases are made and parties are planned.  The wish team stays in touch with the family as they plan the wish.  With the help of donors, local retailers and vendors, the wish team dreams up surprises, seeks in-kind donations, organizes itineraries and sets dates.  No detail is too small.  For the wish child, however, the details don't matter.  The child experiences only the magic.
  7. The wish date arrives, and it's time for fun, magic and memories!