Children with life threatening medical conditions across Ventura County are in need of assistance — wish-making assistance, that is. Come Oct. 1, the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties reaches a deadline for volunteers that, as of yet, hasn’t been met.
The foundation needs 14 new volunteers in order to cover the projected number of cases to be handled in the coming year.
“The volunteers, once they’re trained, are placed in teams of two,” said Shanna Taylor, CEO of Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties. “Every month you get an email from us asking if you’re interested in doing a wish.”
Only 10 have enrolled in the class that begins Oct. 1, but the biggest challenge for the foundation is finding bilingual wish-granters. Of the 10 enrolled, only two are bilingual and only two are from Oxnard, a number too small to cover the 40 or more expected bilingual Wish Makers in the Oxnard area.
The foundation grants more than 80 wishes a year with half of those being in Ventura County. The skill-set required for a volunteer can make it difficult to find the right person for the job, however.
“We need people who have a pretty broad skill set. When you pick your kid, all you know is where they live, what language they speak and a little bit about their illness; you don’t know about their wish,” said Taylor. “It could be a very fast wish, or it could go on for a long time.”
Recently, the foundation worked in tandem with the wish-granters to build an electric off-road wheelchair that could be used on sand, a wish that took a considerable amount of time and effort, but other wishes aren’t so involved, as in for those who wish for a laptop or video game system.
The volunteers, regardless of difficulty level, are responsible for setting the scene and making sure the children enjoy their experience.
“We’re doing a lot of the detail, the wish granters do mostly the magic,” said Taylor.
If you would like to volunteer or to find out more information, visit http://tri-counties.wish.org/ways-to-help/volunteering/become-a-volunteer.