Dressed in classic blue Make-A-Wish shirts, they arrived on the third floor of Macy’s Biltmore in Phoenix with looks of excitement on their faces. They were met by Torrie, who works as a corporate giving manager at the Make-A-Wish Arizona chapter. The three were instrumental in coordinating the event, where Irelynn would go on a scavenger hunt to discover her Hawaii wish was being granted; her wish was one of 50 throughout the country being granted on National Believe Day, which was also a double donation day for letters contributed as part of the Macy's Believe campaign.
Linda and Julia have been with Make-A-Wish for about five and three-and-a-half years, respectively. Before becoming a wish granter, Linda taught at-risk kids. After moving into real estate, she realized she had more free time and decided to volunteer at her favorite charity. Julia is Linda’s broker and it was that relationship that inspired Linda to bring her onto the wish-granting team.
Meeting Torrie and discussing the wish-granting experience lead to some reflections on hesitancy, working with the community and why they volunteer:
“Julia thought that she wouldn’t be good at [wish granting] because she thought it would be really sad, she didn’t realize that it’s actually really a happy, wonderful, amazing experience. She fit right in and has been swimming ever since. Best wish granter partner ever.
One of the things that has made her recognize that it’s such a happy thing is how generous the community is … This [wish reveal] is a perfect example of bringing joy to people who are so used to being just poked and prodded and not having a lot of exciting, fun things to look forward to. Bringing that into their lives … and so many community organizations. Julia is a queen of getting donations for the kids.”
“Because you know, I can afford a pizza. But when you bring managers in, for all sorts of little things, they get their little thank you note with a picture and they can put it on their community board. I remember having a desk job and that made you feel like you were part of a nice company … that it’s like ‘Oh look what we did. Nice.’”
“I didn’t think that I could be a wish granter either, because I was thinking no one wants a volunteer crying in their living room. Being a wish granter is so amazing because when you first meet people, and meet with the family, you become an instant family with complete strangers. And I’ve never experienced that.
“You come in and you do have to talk about really deep things with strangers that you’ve never had to. You have to ask very personal questions and talk about the hardest thing that they’re going through. And it kind of solidifies this bond with at least the families that I’ve worked with. There’s nothing else like it.”
Macy's has donated more than $93 million to Make-A-Wish since 2003.
Read more about the imprint wish granting leaves on the world and the experiences of dedicated volunteers.