Jaime began his volunteer work by helping homeless members of the Phoenix community, eventually focusing his efforts at St. Mary’s Food Bank. But even as fulfilling as those volunteer roles were, Jaime knew something was missing for him.
“I realized that what I truly wanted to do was focus my volunteer time on helping kids,” Jaime said. “The first organization that came to mind was Make-A-Wish. I wanted to help make life-long, happy memories for these children.”
Jaime volunteered on his first wish in December of 2014, and has now played a role in granting 19 wishes. Jaime has also helped out on additional wishes, through supplemental tasks such as greeting wish families at the airport.
According to Jaime, the initial meeting of volunteers and wish kids is always one of the best parts of the experience, as it gives volunteers a chance to really get to know the wish kid.
“I always enjoy discovering the one true wish of the child,” Jaime said. “You want to make sure that whatever he or she is wishing for is perfect for them.”
Olivia, who wished to go on a Disney cruise, sticks out in Jaime’s mind as his all-time favorite wish experience. When the two first met, she greeted Jaime with a huge hug, then requested he sit on the floor with her to play with blocks.
Although the initial meeting always makes for a fun time, sharing with kids that their wish has been officially confirmed is Jaime’s favorite part of being a volunteer wish granter.
“Their eyes light up and they get the biggest smile on their face,” Jaime said. “It’s truly just pure happiness and excitement, and seeing such joy from the wish kids I work with brings me that same joy.”
With nearly 20 wishes under his belt, Jaime has gained noteworthy experience in the process of making a wish come true. His biggest piece of advice for new wish volunteers is to be genuine in the excitement that you feel - and to let the kids know.
“If those kids feel that you’re not invested in their wish, they won’t open up. If they feel that you care about them, they most certainly will,” he said.
“When I see a kid like Olivia, and I see how big their smile is, all of the time and effort is well worth it. That’s the whole reason why we, as volunteers, do what we do – so we can make kids smile.”