Terri’s experience with Make-A-Wish started when a friend shared with her that his daughter received a wish to go to Disneyland.
“Unfortunately, my friend’s daughter passed away after the wish but he could not stop talking about how amazing the experience was and how happy his daughter was,” said Terri. “I immediately decided to look for volunteer opportunities with Make-A-Wish Arizona, my local chapter.”
Terri's desire to help children comes from family. Her mother was a schoolteacher, her sister is a pediatric nurse and now her niece, Mackenzie, works as a wish manager for the chapter.
“It just felt right for me to be a part of Make-A-Wish," Terri noted. “When I started crying during one of the volunteer training videos, they comforted me and told me I was in the right place so I knew I had to stay.”
Since Terri’s start with Make-A-Wish Arizona, the organization has grown and changed to better serve the wish kids, the wish families, and the volunteers.
“When I started, the office was a little house and it was just a handful of us. We would go once a month and sign up for different opportunities through different committees. Now it’s so nice — we just get an email and go where we are needed most.”
Terri focuses her energy on helping at events.
“I couldn’t give them a big time commitment, nor could I emotionally be a wish granter, but helping out with events was absolutely calling my name,” she said.
Terri started out working wish kid events, such as an Annual Halloween Party that used to be hosted by the chapter. Eventually, she added the Walk For Wishes, Thank a Thon Thursdays, some external holiday parties that benefitted Make-A-Wish Arizona and golf tournaments. She also occasionally helps hand-write notes to donors, clean storage facilities or anything else that needs to be done.
Through her experience with Make-A-Wish Arizona, Terri has learned that “the things you think are so important become so small; you go and volunteer and it really makes you put things into perspective; it makes you worry less about the little things."
"If this is the one organization you volunteer for, you know you are doing something great," she continued. "You don’t have to volunteer for everything but try everything and see what fits you best. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t like something, there are so many opportunities out there.”
If Terri could have one wish, she would wish to do something for someone else as those are her favorite wishes, the wishes that give back.