Wish granters needed in Suffolk area

Published 10:10 pm Saturday, May 3, 2014

There are lots of wishes waiting to be fulfilled, but no one in Suffolk to help do it.

Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia is in need of wish granter volunteers in the Suffolk area, said Penny Jordan, volunteer and training manager for Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia, which covers the entire state except for five Northern Virginia counties.

“Our wish granters play an integral role in helping us grant the wishes,” Jordan said. “We need about 20 more volunteers, and we don’t have any in Suffolk. If I could even just get a team of two, that would make a huge difference.”


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The organization grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions — not just terminal illnesses, as is commonly believed, Jordan said.

The most popular wish is to go somewhere, such as a theme park, Jordan said. Other popular categories of wishes include getting an item, like a new computer; meeting a celebrity; or being someone, like Batman, a wish that in November led to the organization’s San Francisco chapter staging one of the most elaborate — and most well-publicized — projects ever for a 5-year-old cancer survivor dubbed “Batkid.”

After a child has been determined eligible for a wish, the wish granter volunteers interview the child to find out what their wish is.

“We work really hard to make sure it’s the child’s wish, and not a parent’s wish or a sibling’s wish,” Jordan said.

The volunteers help the family fill out paperwork, throw send-off parties for travel wishes and delivery parties for wishes to have items, and do “other little things to make sure the wish is special,” Jordan said.

“We believe if we grant them a wish, it gives them the will to improve,” Jordan said.

There are, of course, a few wishes the organization doesn’t grant — cash, homes, street-legal automobiles, weapons or anything medical related. And the child’s doctor has to give approval for any wish.

A training seminar is coming up on May 10 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Virginia Beach. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and complete a background check as well as the training.

For more information, call Jordan at 804-217-9474 or email pjordan@va.wish.org.