Make-A-Wish® Foundation of America | October 5, 2017

Volunteers Backbone of Making Wishes Come True

It was a special day for AJ, a 15-year-old from Virginia. He would finally get his wish for a shopping spree. As colorful confetti fell from the sky and a crowd cheered him on, AJ entered the shopping mall armed with several gift cards, spending money and a bright smile. It was a dream wish for the teenager who had overcome so much in his battle with cystic fibrosis. 

For Jim and Kathy Donovan, retired Navy veterans, it was the culmination of their efforts to make AJ’s one true wish a reality. With happy tears in their eyes, they once again witnessed the power of a wish experience.

Those feelings and emotions aren’t new for the Donovans – it’s a common thread in every wish they have participated in over the last six years. It’s what keeps them coming back as volunteers to Make-A-Wish®.

Mission Accomplished

At Make-A-Wish America, volunteers are integral in making wishes come true. Each year, we are proud to enlist the support of thousands of federal employees – volunteers like Jim and Kathy – in our journey to grant every eligible child’s wish. Whether a wish granter, office volunteer, translator, fundraiser or speaker, there are countless short-term and long-term opportunities for active and retired military, civilian employees and postal workers to support the organization.

“As a volunteer, we have a unique opportunity to see just how much a wish helps a child and their family keep their minds off an illness,” said Jim. “It’s heartwarming and important; and it continually reaffirms why my wife and I became involved as volunteers.”

Since 1988, Make-A-Wish (CFC #11375) has participated in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) as a member of Children’s 1st – America’s Charities, our workplace giving federation. America’s Charities works on our behalf to place Make-A-Wish in various workplace giving campaigns across the country.

As a federal employee, you chose your profession because you wanted to have an impact – serving something greater than yourself. This is why our partnership with America’s Charities is a perfect match for anyone who wants to have a tangible and meaningful difference in the communities they serve.

Coast-to-Coast and Overseas: Volunteering is Portable and Flexible

With chapters serving every community across the US, and affiliates in many countries around the world, volunteer opportunities with Make-A-Wish are portable wherever you are transferred or stationed.

Lt. Col., USMC, Rich Martin and his wife Amy had long admired Make-A-Wish for years before learning about the volunteer opportunities available to them while stationed in Virginia. Although Rich had a busy and, as many of you know, ever-changing schedule – he and his wife have been longtime volunteers in different capacities. They have found several opportunities to support Make-A-Wish: as wish granters and as members of the Speaker’s Bureau. They’ve been able to transfer these skills to every duty station along the way – most recently in San Diego.

“These aren’t time-consuming opportunities,” said Rich. “Sometimes it’s 30 minutes a week, other times it’s several hours. We work our volunteering around our schedules and wherever we may be stationed. It’s a great outlet for us, because it’s proof positive that the work of Make-A-Wish is greater and bigger than yourself.”

Today, you can often find Rich and Amy speaking with his military peers, civilian workers and other private organizations about our mission and how easy it is to give to the federal campaign both in time and through donations.

“As volunteers, we make a small contribution that changes people’s lives,” said Rich. “Being able to dedicate our lives and energy is incredibly fulfilling. Every time we walk away from a wish family or talk to a group, we do so knowing Make-A-Wish is going to impact their lives in some way or another. That’s huge.”

Enlist in a Wish Today

Whether you are looking for short-term or long-term opportunities, your support will make a difference. To learn more about how you can personally contribute to Make-A-Wish, visit  We thank you for your service to our country and to our mission of making every eligible child’s wish come true.

DoD Disclaimer: Use of military rank and position within this blog post does not imply endorsement by the Department of Defense. 

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