“What really captured me during volunteer training was what it means to be a wish granter,” said Alan. “Since then, I’ve always been impressed by how much a wish impacts both the child, and their family. Some families just can’t afford the things their child wishes for, or don’t have the connections that Make-A-Wish Arizona has, so seeing what this organization is able to bring to these families is incredible.”
In his time granting wishes, Alan has noticed there is a lack of older men who volunteer to be wish granters, an oversight he hopes to help change.
“My training was filled with younger women mostly, which is a shame as I think older men like me can add a lot of experience and value to this organization,” he said. “We have great connections to help grant the wishes and can provide a unique perspective on wishes for boys and girls.”
Alan, who has granted four wishes so far, says the key thing he takes away from each wish is the positive and lasting impact a wish has on a family.
“When my first wish kid, Ryeleigh, passed away it was very difficult, but this past year, we put together a team for Ryeleigh at the Tucson Walk For Wishes,” said Alan. “Her mom really appreciated all that Make-A-Wish Arizona did for Ryeleigh and even during this extremely hard time, I think it was very therapeutic for the family to be together and do the walk for her. We made t-shirts, and her mom, grandma, a lot of family members and friends all came out and raised a couple thousand dollars in Ryeleigh's memory.”
And Alan’s experience with other wish kids has been just as worthwhile.
“My most recent wish was with Ilyas, who wished to go to the Lego Factory in Denmark. This experience couldn’t have been possible for him without Make-A-Wish Arizona and Ilyas was able to meet the Lego designers and have a tour of the factory,” said Alan. “Ilyas’ family loved every minute of it and his father was in tears because he was so appreciative and knew how much it meant to the family to go on this wish. It inspired me too how Ilyas stayed strong the entire time leading up to his trip because he knew his wish was coming true.”
Granting wishes has more than met Alan’s need to volunteer within his community.
“Volunteering is very rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” says Alan. “I still carry photos of me and my wish kids around; they’re like my own kids’ pictures! I would encourage people, especially men my age, to become Make-A-Wish Arizona volunteers because working with these families is so amazing. You will enjoy every experience.”