Make-A-Wish Foundation representatives speak about non-profit work

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    I wish to meet. I wish to be. I wish to have. I wish to go.

    These are many wishes children ask for from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and live day to day hoping they come true.

    Representatives from Make-A-Wish Foundation spoke in the Moudy Building about their work and available internship opportunities.

    Make-A-Wish Foundation is a national non-profit organization and has many partner organizations including Macy’s department store. During the holidays, Macy’s gives out Santa letters. For every one that is sent, Make-A-Wish receives a dollar in return. This year the Fort Worth community made $28,000 from those letters.

    Jessica Kolkmeyer, Director of Development of Make-A-Wish Foundation, came to TCU earlier this week. She spoke to students about what it is like to work for a non-profit organization and also gave advice on what they needed to have in order to be eligible to work for one.

    Kolkmeyer began her involvement with the foundation after one of her friends had a wish granted. She spoke about what the Make-A-Wish Foundation is all about.

    Make-A-Wish not only has national organization partners but also has local chapters helping them as well.

    The Make-A-Wish Foundation North Texas Chapter covers 161 counties with more than 1,200 volunteers. This chapter like the others averages in granting 80 wishes a year.  

    To help understand how the Make-A-Wish Foundation works, Kolkmeyer showed a video of a wish being granted for a child named Kendall Curnuck.

    Curnuck was diagnosed with leukemia and when she was seven years old. She was granted the wish of meeting her hero and number one Hawaiian surfer, Bethany Hamilton. Curnuck was sent with her family to Hawaii and got the chance to surf with her hero.

    Curnuck expressed her great appreciation towards the foundation, saying she was grateful for Make-A-Wish being able to give her the opportunity to meet the person who has inspired her to never give up.

    “Showing the video really made me understand how hard it would be to have someone in my family with a life threatening disease, and wanting so badly for their wish to be granted,” Kaitlyn Reynolds, junior entrepreneurial management major, said.

    “Wishes are not granted based on race, gender, nor income. It is automatically granted to anyone who is two to 18 years old and has a life threatening disease,” Kolkmeyer said. “Each child’s case is different, on account of the cost of the wish and also their treatment schedule if they have one.”

    Some cases are urgent, and when doctors think the child will not have a lot more time, it is asked for the wish to be a rush wish, which is granted in 24 hours.

    “The difference between working at a non-profit organization and a corporate one is also based on how the benefits for others matter, and how bigger the happiness you get from granting someone’s wish and the one from meeting your metrics for the month,” Kolkmeyer said.

    Kolkmeyer said to be able to work in Make-A-Wish Foundation the key is to have passion for it. She said it was the case with every non-profit organization because you are helping someone or something that is in a situation that is not ideal.

    The two other key components to working at a non-profit organization that Kolkmeyer emphasized on being crucial, were working at an organization that you potentially want to be a part of and that you absolutely need to have interning experience.

    “It does not matter what internship you do, you just need to show that you put your academics to work and unpaid internships show how experience is important to you,” Kolkmeyer said. “Not having internship experience for us and for other organizations is most likely to put you in the ‘Do Not Read’ pile.”

    “There are as of right now 50 interns and they all have hands on day to day schedules. Interns work with sending donors their child’s story, news releases of wishes, plan schedules for their events, and provide support,” said Shannon Listorti, intern at Make-A-Wish Foundation and strategic communication student.

    “This organization has been one of the greatest resources in helping me to get full-time job as a public relations coordinator and recognized in the Fort Worth public relations community,” Listorti said.

    Kolkmeyer said that interning at Make-A-Wish Foundation would be a great experience for anyone because they try their best to through magic in everything they do, no matter if its filing, event planning, or even granting a young child’s only wish.