CharmaineThis year Charmaine from our Adelaide branch is celebrating 25 years of volunteering with Make-A-Wish. In honour of this incredible milestone, we asked Charmaine about her time as a volunteer, and the impact that Make-A-Wish has had on her life.
What made you decide to get involved with Make-A Wish?
“Children have always been in my life. I’ve been a babysitter, a teacher, and I’ve got many, many cousins. I wanted an outlet away from my work, where my skills and interests would be useful and where I was meeting another group of people.
“When Frank Jackowiak told me about Make-A-Wish, the work they did resonated with me and I wanted to learn more. The mission was so in line with what I remembered my mother talking about when she spoke of my two siblings who had passed away. She remembered the good things that happened, the special memories. I wanted to help create those memories for others. An information session (now called training!) later, and I was a Make-A-Wish volunteer – and a passionate one at that.”
How has volunteering for Make-A-Wish impacted your life?
“I have no doubt that it has made me a more “rounded” person. I have developed skills I never thought I would be capable of like fundraising, talking to very large groups of people, and meeting and working with a diverse and broad range of people.
“Hopefully I have become a better person from all of these. Twenty-five years ago I was a shy person, rarely putting myself in a situation where I wasn’t comfortable. Wanting to do so much for our wish children and their families pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I ‘just did it’, as the saying goes.
“Because of my years as a volunteer, I’ve also been graced with a new family – the other branch volunteers have become a family to me as we work towards a common goal. They are my Make-A-Wish family.”
How do you find the time to volunteer for us?
“If you love what you are doing, you seem to find the time. It’s easier now I am retired, but I’m also busier now than when I volunteered and had a fulltime job. Prioritising and learning how to say no have been important.”
What is your best memory of Make-A-Wish so far?
“After all these years it’s impossible to have a best. There are so many wonderful memories – my wishes are so important to me. Each and every one is unique in its own way. Working alongside other volunteers has also been memorable – there’s been laughter, tears and groans – but always with good spirit.”
How important is Make-A-Wish to you?
“I would not be the person I am today without Make-A-Wish. My extended family, friends and acquaintances hear about Make-A-Wish and if nothing else, I hear “You are certainly passionate about Make-A-Wish.”
“Make-A-Wish has made my life so much better. It gives me so much joy to know I am a cog in the wheel that is making life better for our dear children.”
Interested in becoming a Make-A-Wish volunteer and making a life-changing difference to really sick kids? Express your interest today.