“I love to do things that help kids,” said Irma, who met Make-A-Wish Arizona Wish Manager, Carlos Inostroza, at a local event last year. “He talked with me about the organization and I knew I wanted to do anything I could to make more wishes come true.”
To date, Irma has volunteered her time and services to help grant three room renovation wishes for Arizona children fighting critical illnesses.
“My first wish project was for an 11-year-old girl named Damarys, whose favorite movie is Frozen,” she said. “Damarys wished for Frozen room. With both Damarys and her sister, Julieth, being wish kids, I was able to surprise Damarys by painting the walls with her name and a large mural of princess Elsa while the family was on Julieth’s wish to go to Disneyland.”
Irma also created the visual and design elements for a sensory room for wish kid Anish and a superhero lair for wish kid Juan.
“For Juan’s wish, I painted a silhouette of Batman on the wall and made a headboard shaped like the city skyline and a bat sign that lights up,” said Irma. “Anish loves to watch cartoons, so I built 3D characters from his favorite show, The Backyardigans, then added texture to the wall to feel like grass.”
“Anish does not speak, and when I watched him go into his new room for the first time, he became so expressive and started moving his arms everywhere,” she continued. “It made me feel so good that something I did made him so happy.”
It doesn’t matter what type of room a wish kid imagines, Irma knows she can make it happen.
“I see so many possibilities,” said Irma, who just five years ago turned her hobby into a profession, working with her husband. “I’ve been painting for more than 20 years and my husband is an architect and a muralist, so we decided to put our talents together.”
Their business, Innova Spaces, focuses primarily on art and interior design projects within the Hispanic community.
“I love being able to help people and make a difference in their lives.”
Don’t be fooled by the finished product - Irma’s job is hard work. From acrylic paint to wood to lasers, Irma uses a variety of materials to create her art and the process can be very demanding.
However, the chance to help grant wishes is a highlight of her work.
“I’m usually doing big design projects that give me pain in my neck and shoulders or keep me up all night, so I can get really tired,” she said. “The work I get to do for wishes is fun and relaxing. Plus, the reason behind it always makes me look forward to starting my next wish project.”
“It’s wonderful to make wishes come true for these kids. My favorite part is seeing how I’ve helped a child and their family, and I feel so blessed to be a part of their lives.”