“I sprinkle happy!”
It’s a tagline New Hartford resident Cheryllyn Tallman coined and it’s a philosophy she lives by.
Inserted at the close of every e-mail and embroidered on pieces of Make-A-Wish Central New York merchandise, the motto - which also serves as her personal blog title - sums up Tallman’s feelings about volunteering with Make-A-Wish®.
“I am amazed by the kids we serve,” she said of the organization, which grants special wishes to children with critical illnesses. “We can’t change the hands these kids were dealt, but we can make magic, and magic is what we do.”
Tallman’s passion for her work isn’t lost on Make-A-Wish Central New York, one of 62 independent 501(c)(3) chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. At its September 22 Wish Ball event, the chapter will bestow its annual “Cindy Award” upon Tallman for outstanding volunteer service.
“Cheryllyn does everything with joy and professionalism,” said Make-A-Wish Central New York President and CEO Diane Kuppermann. “She has a true belief in the magic and impact of our mission and we are immensely grateful for her, for her positive attitude, her partnership, her generosity, and especially her tagline. She is an amazing example to us all.”
Named for past Make-A-Wish Central New York volunteer Cindy Merriam, who passed away in 1998, the Cindy Award recognizes an exceptional commitment to volunteer service. According to Kuppermann, the award is presented to an individual who is respected and admired among family, friends and supporters, and whose actions are a positive reflection upon the organization.
“The recipient of the Cindy Award is always a person of great character,” Kuppermann said. “Someone who always does the right thing, even when no one is looking.”
Tallman began volunteering for Make-A-Wish in 2010 and, since then, has lent time and talent to the organization in many ways, including helping at events, orchestrating fundraising events of her own, hosting regional volunteer gatherings, enlisting new donor and volunteer support, and serving in her favorite role - wish granter.
Currently, Make-A-Wish Central New York has more than 130 wishes in process, including 26 in the Mohawk Valley. Tallman will surely play a role in a number of them. In her tenure with Make-A-Wish, Tallman to date has worked on more than 60 wishes for local children.
As a wish-granting volunteer, Tallman works directly with the child and family to determine what the child’s wish will be, then sees the wish through to the end, providing engagement and support along the way. Wish granters serve as liaisons between the chapter’s main office in East Syracuse and the family and local community.
In addition to wish granting, Tallman also opens her home to local volunteers and allows for her home to serve as a regional “wish closet” – a collection of small gifts volunteers utilize for wish family visits. When she’s not wish granting or doting on grandchildren, Tallman also serves as a volunteer for Give Kids the World Resort, a specially-equipped resort in Orlando, Florida designed solely for wish kids.
While Tallman won’t be able to attend the Make-A-Wish gala event and accept the Cindy Award in person, Make-A-Wish staff advised her of the honor prior to the event.
“The Cindy Award belongs to each and every volunteer of our beloved Make-A-Wish family,” she said. “I am honored to accept the award and thank (them) from the bottom of my heart.”
Make-A-Wish Central New York serves a 15-county swath of New York State that includes the Mohawk Valley. The organization’s annual gala, which serves as its signature fundraiser, takes place Saturday, September 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at The Oncenter in Syracuse. The black-tie optional event honors the organization’s exceptional volunteers and supporters who make wishes for local kids come true.
For more information about Wish Ball or to learn how to support local wishes, visit cny.wish.org or call (315) 475-WISH.
Make-A-Wish Central New York volunteer and New Hartford resident Cheryllyn Tallman, left, is pictured with wish kid Dakotah Russell, center, and fellow Make-A-Wish volunteer Theresa Gilbert, right, at a wish announcement party in 2015. Make-A-Wish Central New York has named Tallman as its 2018 Cindy Award honoree for outstanding volunteerism.
About Make-A-Wish Central New York
Make-A-Wish Central New York is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to granting life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We are on a quest to bring every eligible child's wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child's treatment journey. Research shows children who experience wishes can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight critical illness. Make-A-Wish Central New York continues to share the power of a wish® thanks to monetary contributions, airline mile donations, and the overall generous support of individuals and corporations throughout its 15-county region, which includes Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego,
St. Lawrence, Tioga and Tompkins counties. Together, we transform lives one wish at a time. For more information, call 315-475-WISH or visit cny.wish.org.