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Words from Our Volunteers

Volunteer Stars

We asked each volunteer about their work with our organization and why they are so dedicated. Read their stories and learn more about how you can get involved with granting wishes through a variety of options.

Russ Fontaine, Volunteer since 2013
Wish-Granting Volunteer, Wish Ambassador and Event Volunteer

What is your favorite part about granting wishes?
My favorite part is the first call to the family. I love the whole experience, but in that call you can hear the relief, or excitement, of a good phone call. The child and family have been through a lot, so it gives them hope and happiness knowing that the wish process has started. I love all of it, but it starts with the call.

If you could receive a wish, what would it be?
I would do the obvious and wish that everyone was healthy and that we did not have to do this, but I am sure all the families have already wished for that. I wish that the staff of Make-A-Wish all get one wish because they are incredible, hard-working people. What goes on behind the scenes is incredible and we don’t get to see that.

What would you say to motivate others to become wish-granting volunteers?
I would share my experiences and if they still need motivation then they might not be the right fit. The benefits of helping a family with a sick child is extremely rewarding and humbling. It puts everything in life in perspective. When I became a wish-granter I did not know what to expect, but it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have told people even if you only have a few hours a month, pick an event and volunteer for Make-A-Wish. It is rewarding, exciting and all for a great cause.

Dawn Straitz, Volunteer since 2003
Macy’s Volunteer Captain and Wish-Granting Volunteer

What motivates you to be involved with the Believe Campaign?
My involvement in the Macy’s Believe Campaign started by thinking, “well shoot, that seems like an easy thing to do and be able to see measurable dividends immediately,” which is exactly my kind of volunteering! I started with two stores to count Believe letters and, the next year, I volunteered to do more, so I became a volunteer captain and collected numbers from the other counting volunteers. Last year I did all 32 stores in our region. I really like working with all the volunteers and
offering my experience in hopes that they enjoy it as much as I do.

What is your favorite part about granting wishes?
My favorite part about granting the actual wishes is not telling the families what kind of “transportation” will be picking them up (for travel wishes and shopping sprees) and getting to see their delight or hear about it later. :)

If you could receive a wish, what would it be?
For my wish, I want a high fashion photo shoot. The big dresses, the hair, the make-up, the airbrushing, I’ll take it all! I’d have to spend some time in front of the mirror practicing different facial expressions first though...

Gloria Campbell, Volunteer since 2003
Event Volunteer

What has been your favorite event?  
I love all the events but the best one for me that I feel was a blessing was when I helped with Sterling’s wish to be president for the day.  I worked closely to get this one done and rode along with president Sterling to complete his day.

If you could receive a wish, what would it be?  
To become a millionaire so I could grant wishes, but really I would love to become a wish granter when I retire or a spokesperson to draw others into giving and helping.

What would you say to others to encourage them to become involved with Make-A-Wish?
I would let them know I have seen wishes granted and the faces of those receiving wishes.  Just knowing that your time is making someone feel special is a life-changing experience.

I am proud to be able to be a part of a group that is proactive in helping to bring joy into the lives of these great kids. ”
Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic, Inc.
5272 River Road
Suite 700
Bethesda, MD 20816
(301) 962-9474
After Hours Nightline (301) 962-9474
Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic, Inc., Baltimore Field Office
9475 Deereco Road
Deer Park Center, Suite 306
Timonium, MD 21093
(410) 453-9430
(410) 453-9430