by Stella Shepard
Make-A-Wish Canada foundation creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness.
“In PEI primarily, it used to be called Children’s Wish Foundation. We amalgamated with Make A Wish and now we are Make-A-Wish Canada,” says Alyssa Melnyk, Volunteer Coordinator, Atlantic Region.
“We are now a national organization with the vision to grant the wish of every eligible child.” A doctor or a parent can refer a child age five to 18 to the organization.
“Volunteers make wishes come true,” says Alyssa. “We could not grant wishes to critically ill kids if we did not have the volunteers. Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illness.”
Values of Make-a-Wish Canada
Child Focus: “We always put the children first.”
Integrity: “We are honest, transparent, and respectful.”
Impact: “We deliver life-changing work.”
Innovation: “We are bold, imaginative, and creative.”
Community: “We are a diverse group of people working towards a common goal.”
“We are committed to engaging volunteers in a meaningful way to support our mission,” says Alyssa. “Volunteers are part of our team, and we treat them with respect, kindness, and gratitude. We equip volunteers with the proper training to ensure they can effectively contribute to our mission.
“Volunteers are instrumental in helping our organization build connections at a local level. We continually solicit volunteer feedback to enhance how we grant wishes and operate our organization.”
Benefits of volunteering
“Volunteering allows you to meet new people and build connections,” says Alyssa. “It allows you to improve upon existing skills or develop new ones. And you get to try new things and step out of your comfort zone.
“You also get a chance to build your resumé while gaining experience. It is a chance to engage with your community by making a difference in a child’s life and have fun.
“Volunteers help raise money through volunteering at special events and serving on fundraising committees working on granting more wishes.
“Volunteers are critical to our mission. Their time and unique talents are an essential part of bringing strength and hope to kids when they need it most.”
What to know before applying
- The minimum age to apply is 18 years old.
- There are no set hours for a typical volunteer opportunity. However, volunteers commit to working on two wishes or events a year.
- Most roles with Make-A-Wish Canada involve close contact with wish children, their families, and others. Therefore, COVID-19 vaccinations are mandatory for volunteers.
- Due to the nature of work, all volunteers must successfully complete a criminal background check before they begin and every three years thereafter.