I ended up shoveling dirt at a nursing home. The memory has faded since then, the true purpose long forgotten (if it even existed in the first place). I used to look back on that day clearing a parking lot of reddish gravel and that’s what I would associate with giving. Purposeless efforts distant from the people who might have needed them. But it didn’t have to be that way.
When people decide they want to do “more,” they often find themselves uncertain as to what that could look like and whether or not it would translate into a significant contribution. We’ve probably all been involved at one point or another in some form of volunteering that ends up being boring or ineffective - high school, I’m looking at you - and leaves us jaded.
Donating money is essential to ensuring that kids receive the wishes they need to help them feel better. But it’s not the only way you can put your unused hours, intelligence and creativity to work. You can volunteer in a way that leads to tangible results. Greatist.com even mentioned us in its 41 Ways to Give Back (That Don't Involve Writing a Check) post.
Become a Wish Granter
Get directly involved with granting wishes. You’ll meet the wish kid and their family, find out what they wish for and then plan everything from the reveal party to the wish itself. Details for how to begin the process of becoming a wish granter can be found on the website of your local chapter under “Ways to Help – Volunteering.”
Offer Your Talents
Are you possessed of a remarkable ability to [fill in the blank]? You know what I’m talking about … you knit beanies, sew amazing costumes, have contacts at NASA, design specialty desks, create animated videos or build fighter jets in your spare time. Contact your local chapter and find out if there are any wishes that would benefit from your skill set. Today may not be the day your frog-shaped macramé makes someone smile, but it’s certainly worth giving that option to the world.
Fundraising is an engaging and creative way to devote your time and energy to wishes. There are endless possibilities for events, runs and other initiatives that you can organize to get your community inspired by and interested in supporting wishes. You’ll have to find a way to get people off their couches and into matching blue shirts. A formidable task, but I believe you’re up to the challenge.
Donate air miles and hotel points
If you’re like me, you’ll never be fully satisfied scrolling through images of other people’s travel experiences on Instagram. In 2015 alone I journeyed to 10 countries in Europe, and still every time I see someone posing with a llama in front of Machu Picchu or watching the sunset over Oia, I feel compelled to start packing my torn carry-on again.
Donating your air miles will enable a child to experience what makes traveling so unforgettable. They’ll race to connecting flights, eat cockroaches in strange markets on the edge of civilization, watch the lights glittering over ancient ruins in the middle of a city … and they’ll know the gift that got them there.