As we swing into the heart of springtime it is time to think about and make plans to volunteer and participate in charity walks, runs, and bicycle events across the country. Here in Michigan, we are flirting with warmer temperatures but the outdoor climate remains a little daunting with scattered snow appearing on our yards and frost warnings frustrating gardeners.
Whatever the conditions, it is time to think about your local Make-A-Wish organization as they gear up for summer and beyond. We are fortunate to have a great group in Michigan that is making the best of the uncertainty still pertaining to COVID and outdoor gatherings. Earlier this week, I had a great conversation with Sarah Ragone, a Development Officer at Make-A-Wish Michigan, who said her team is doing whatever necessary to structure events that are safe for all involved, but still provide the opportunity for people to participate in fun, family-focused events to raise funds for children waiting for their wishes to be granted.
Right now, there are kids in our communities facing fear, anxiety, and sadness because of a critical illness. As Sarah explained, there are over 800 children in Michigan that are waiting for that special trip, personalized event, or celebrity meeting that will fulfill and brighten tough days that all of these children experience.
The first event that is right around the corner is the 2021 Walk For Wishes family stroll that will be held on Saturday, May 1. This walk is a staple of Make-A-Wish Michigan, raising needed funds that have been used to grant wishes throughout the years. For safety precautions the walk this year will be a virtual event.
You can register today at www.walkforwishesmi.org. Or contact Sarah Ragone at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
I saw a great article on the Make-A-Wish website from volunteer Jason Mitchell that demonstrates the uplifting and rewarding aspect of helping children who are facing a tough situation. He was inspired by “The Secret Millionaire,” a reality television show that places wealthy individuals with several nonprofit organizations for a week to help carry out their mission. Jason’s words hit the mark, “I can remember feeling emotionally uplifted at the end of each episode and passionate to be able to have the same type of impact in other people’s lives.”
As a wish-granting volunteer, Jason has built strong connections with wish families, getting to know them and guiding them during their wish journey. He remarks, “My commitment to Make-A-Wish is based on a personal belief that each of us has the power and ability to make a difference. Our approach to making kids feel special is unparalleled in the level of attention we provide to details that are unique to each kid and their individual circumstances.”
This last quote from Jason sums up the challenge. “We all have been given talents, connections or financial resources to be a positive influence in the lives of others and by partnering through Make-A-Wish we are making a difference and creating turning points in kid’s lives.”
There are two other events to pencil in to your schedule. The annual Bicycle Tour will be held in late July and provide riders of all abilities to plan and ride in their own bicycle trips on a virtual basis to raise funds for kids. Always a great event, the virtual aspect will make this event different this year but also provide flexibility to get your ride on the books while raising much-needed donations to fulfill wishes.
And finally, an event my family enjoyed last year, the Trailblaze Challenge will be going back to the Jordan Valley Pathway for a 21-mile scenic, fun, fitness trek that will get the heart pumping while making a direct impact on the lives of children in our community who are battling critical illnesses. The Trailblaze Challenge will be held on the weekend of September 10-12, in Elmira, Michigan.
Details on all upcoming events can be found on the Events tab on the website. Please check out www.michigan.wish.org for all ways to get involved in this great local organization.
Please take a look at this great video featuring Annabelle and her mom regarding her new playset. Wishes granted like Annabelle’s bring smiles and new activities to enjoy with her family and friends.
Enjoy your week and please stretch out your helping hand.
Roger N. Steed