At Make-A-Wish® Greater Virginia, volunteers are essential to achieving our mission of granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Without volunteers, we would not be able to do what we do. Thanks to their donations of time, talent, and treasure, we have been able to grant more than 4,500 wishes since we were founded in 1987.
During National Volunteer Month, we are sending our gratitude to the 350+ volunteers throughout the state who support us in a variety of ways. We are also spotlighting the impact that has been made by some of our star volunteers who serve our organization in different roles, including wish granter volunteers, fundraising volunteers, administrative volunteers, and as volunteers on our Board of Directors. Check out these spotlights below to learn more!
Volunteer since 2014
We are honored to recognize Summer Woody, an extraordinary wish granter volunteer who has given her time and talent to help make 12 wishes come true over the past few years! Summer, who lives in Stuarts Draft, is a dedicated wish granter who does an outstanding job of ensuring each wish child and family has a wonderful wish experience. Summer is a devoted member of our team and humbly shares her reasons why she volunteers with Make-A-Wish:
"In 2008, my 8 month old son was diagnosed with a terminal cancerous brain tumor. We spent 18 months treating his tumor, mostly living in the hospital. During that time, we saw many families that were blessed with 'their child's wish'. We saw how much their spirits changed just having the conversation. From the moment they were accepted, to meeting with the wish grantors, to getting their wish granted, it allowed these families some hope and happiness.
Our son lost his battle with cancer before he was old enough to get his wish, but being able to continue to see that hope and happiness in each family's face is what drew me to volunteer with Make-A-Wish and the families are what I love most! These families are fighters, these children are fighters! They deserve to be a 'normal' family for their wish moments, whether that is a special party or gift or being able to go someplace they would never otherwise be able to go. Getting their wish granted gives them something that no doctor can give and I love seeing it every time!"
We are deeply grateful to Summer for her commitment to spread hope, strength and joy to wish children and families when it is needed most.
Volunteer since 2014
Our office volunteers keep everything moving smoothly, and we are so happy to share our appreciation for Linda Piazza, whose work as an office volunteer is truly appreciated. She has graciously given her time and talents to several departments in the Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia office! Linda has consistently stepped up to support Make-A-Wish in new ways and we are forever grateful for her flexibility and dedication. Linda’s quiet efficiency and patience for the tasks she works on weekly is inspiring. She is a true joy to have around our office! When asked what she loves about volunteering for Make-A-Wish, Linda responded:
"I love playing a small role in an initiative whose mission is to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The staff and other volunteers at Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia are so supportive of wish children and their families, and I enjoy being a part of this community."
We are so fortunate to have an enthusiastic and committed volunteer like Linda, and we can't say thank you enough!
Volunteer since 2014
We are thrilled to recognize Teresa, one of our incredible wish granter volunteers, who has given her time and talent to make 11 wishes come true throughout the past several years! Teresa is not only a wish granter, but has also helped by sharing her experience as a volunteer at volunteer training sessions in her community, and by lending her support and mentorship to new wish granters. Around the Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia office, Teresa is often referred to as the “in-kind donation queen” for the numerous donations she has secured on behalf of Make-A-Wish to help keep our costs down. She has also assisted our team by interviewing prospective wish granter volunteers. Teresa is a dedicated member of our team and shares why she loves volunteering for Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia:
“It's those smiles. Those faces that light up with joy and hope because - even if it's only for a little while - they can let go of the bad stuff and just be kids again. We don't have the power to make kids better medically, but we can still bring light into their lives - a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something to look forward to and memories of something so wonderful that it brings a smile to their faces whenever they think about it afterwards. The light of a wish continues to shine no matter what the future holds. It's an amazing experience EVERY time a wish is granted!”
We can't say thank you enough to Teresa for her hard work, and for making an immeasurable impact on our wish kids and their families.
Volunteer since 2015
Jennifer is a dedicated volunteer on our Board of Directors who has shared her skills and excitement with Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia since 2015! Jennifer Sictor of Chesapeake is one of 22 board volunteers who develop policies and procedures for our chapter as well as provide counsel and support to staff. Jennifer has been an essential member of our Walk For Wishes Committee, helping to ensure that the 2016 Greater Richmond Walk For Wishes is a tremendous success.
"Having the opportunity to serve as a Board Member for Make-A-Wish has been one of the most incredible experiences! I have had the opportunity to meet many wish children and families as well as participate in wish sendoff events. Over the past year I have truly gained an understanding for the power of a wish!"
We are beyond grateful to Jennifer for sharing her insight and expertise with Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia!