Make-A-Wish in need of local wish granters

August 6, 2019 | 3:10 am

Updated August 5, 2019 | 10:57 pm

When Lori Brubaker attended Boilin’ in the ‘Boro a few years ago, she was greatly impacted by the message she heard. The annual seafood boil at Reid’s Orchard provided information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation and encouraged community members to get involved.

“I saw a great need,” Brubaker said. “They needed more volunteers, more wish granters, people to be on committees locally.”

The mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The children served through this organization are fighting for their lives, and sometimes these trips are the only thing they have left to look forward to, Burbaker said.

One of the greatest needs, Brubaker said, is being a wish granter, which allows the volunteer to get to know the child and family of the one receiving the wish, check in with them while they wait and set up a local party to present the family their wish.

“I knew people could just donate or give money to the organization,” Brubaker said. “But I wanted to be involved. I wanted to do more.”

Brubaker learned there were two different ways to get certified as wish granter. One is to attend a local training for interested volunteers and the other is to fill out the application online, pay a small fee for a background check and wait. With a handful of interested applicants locally, Brubaker and several others organized a time for a session with trainers from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Once the date was set, they put the training out there, and ended up with attendees from several surrounding counties.

“It went really well,” Brubaker said. “The training itself would have normally only taken a few minutes but most of the two-hour session was spent answering questions the potential volunteers had.”

In her new role as a wish granter, Brubaker became part of the Make-A-Wish process in a unique way. Wish granters are paired in teams of two. The team sets up a time that is convenient for the family for a home visit. According to Brubaker, the child is interviewed by one wish granter about their interests and asked questions such as: If you could go anywhere, where would you want to go? What would you want to do? Who would be with you? Basically, the child is helping to create a big idea sheet.

The parents are interviewed by the other granter about details such as the child’s condition and how long they have been sick, ability to travel and administrative information.

“Some wishes are big like visiting Hawaii and traveling the island by helicopter and some are simple like one little girl I worked with wanting a huge playset in her backyard. I remember her saying that she wanted to have her friends over to play on it,” Brubaker said.

Every Wednesday is Wishful Wednesday and by looking at limited information provided online, wish granters can see the general information for those still waiting on their wish.

“There are four kids right here in this county waiting for wishes, many in the state of Kentucky as well needing wish granters,” Brubaker said.

According to Brubaker, more volunteers are desperately needed including more wish granters, people willing to serve on committees locally, or help put on events such as Boiln’ in the ‘Boro. As far as volunteer hours, students have helped at this event in the past by refilling glasses, decorating tables, or helping clean up after the guests leave. The next event is Sept. 20 and requires 20 to 30 volunteers.

“It’s rewarding,” Brubaker said. “Meeting the families, hearing their stories, praying for them and granting their wish. You become friends; you truly care about them and they truly care about you. They give you a rank in their minds that you don’t deserve.”

Brubaker encourages the community to get involved in Make-A-Wish and says anyone can become a wish granter. In fact, this opportunity is for anyone who would like to make a lasting impact on a child who is battling a critical illness.

“Anyone can help. Anyone as busy as you and I, whether a young college student, retiree, or anyone in between can do it,” Brubaker said.

August 6, 2019 | 3:10 am

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