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Helping Kids Dream Big

Many kids across the country suffer from life-threatening medical conditions. The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps to bring happiness into their lives by granting their wishes. As a result of the nonprofit organization’s efforts, millions of kids in the United States and U.S. territories have a chance to smile.

The mission of the organization is to "grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy." The headquarters of the North Texas chapter of Make-A-Wish is located in my community of Irving. I recently spoke with Ashley Amerman, the Director of Program Services there.

“Granting wishes gives kids something to look forward to rather than the normal routine of [medical] treatments,” Amerman said. “The community would not be as happy as it is right now without Make-A-Wish. Also, kids’ wishes would possibly never be granted.”

Founded in 1980, the nonprofit organization grants the wishes of kids between the ages of 2 and 17 who have a life-threatening illness. The group typically grants five types of wishes, including: "I wish to travel to..." and "I wish to meet...."

Forty percent of the wishes the organization receives are for a trip to Disney World. So far, the North Texas chapter has granted more than 4,000 wishes to ailing children in the Dallas area.

Surveys conducted by the organization show that 96 percent of parents believe that the granted wishes have strengthened their families. Also, 99 percent of parents reported that the wish experience gave their child increased feelings of happiness despite their illness.

“I love seeing the smile on the kids’ faces after their wishes are granted,” said Juanita Guerrero, who has been a Senior Wish Manager in North Texas for the past 20 years.



Granting wishes is not cheap. Every year, Make-A-Wish holds several events to raise money in order to grant kid’s wishes, including a national walkathon known as Walk for Wishes.

The North Texas chapter also hosts an annual Black Tie Gala in Dallas. They typically raise more than $1 million at the event. During the holidays, a popular musical called “Yes, Virginia” raises another million dollars.

The group enlists the help of young people by sponsoring a program called “Kids for Wish Kids.” The program helps schoolchildren organize fundraisers so that more kids’ dreams can come true.

Photo courtesy of the author