“I’ve always been a big reader and sign up for those reading challenges at the library every once in a while,” said Amber. “I can still remember reading this one book about a girl with cancer when I was younger and I really resonated with her character.”
This character resonated with Amber so much that years later, when she moved from her small town in Missouri to Phoenix, she started researching more about Make-A-Wish.
“There were less than 10,000 people where I lived before and it was a retirement community with very few volunteer opportunities,” said Amber. “I was so amazed at all the opportunities to give back in a big community like this and I couldn’t wait to get involved now that I had the chance.”
In September 2015, Amber attended a Make-A-Wish Arizona volunteer training.
“I remember going to my initial visit with one of my wish kids, Brittyn,” she said. “From the first time we met, her family was so welcoming and she was so excited she ran out of her house with no shoes on yelling ‘the Make-A-Wish people are here!’”
“As time went on, we developed such a strong connection with her family and I had never experienced anything like that before,” she continued. “My co-wish granter, Kara, and I were invited to Brittyn’s birthday party to reveal her wish to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was coming true and it was a great day!”
Amber says when it comes to wishes, she definitely believes in quality over quantity.
“I’ve noticed it’s about more than one big wish, but the little details that make a difference for a child and their family,” said Amber. “There are so many ways to give back to this organization with as much time as you can or want to, but the time you give really does makes a difference.”
And while she has already granted seven wishes, some things still continue to surprise Amber along the way.
“I expected it to be emotional, but every step of the wish-granting process is also really fun!” said Amber, who shares she has met some of the greatest people and is honored to now be part of such a big community. “I have a typical 8-5 job, but my heart is definitely with giving back.”
Amber has even noticed some big changes in herself as a volunteer.
“I can see how my outlook is different now,” she said. “Everyone worries about the mundane things in life, but I’ve realized the little battles I’m fighting are not as big of a deal and they don’t matter in the long run or in comparison to what some of these kids and families are battling.”
“It doesn’t get more rewarding that this,” she continued. “This is a life-changing and humbling opportunity where you not only get to change other people’s lives, but it changes your life, too. I’ve never found anything else that feels so rewarding, and I don’t think I ever will.”