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Commonly Asked Questions

Learn more about our volunteer program.

What are you looking for in a volunteer?

Volunteers must be positive, outgoing, and passionate about children and our mission. It is important that volunteers work well in a team environment.  In addition, our volunteers need to be open-minded and flexible to meet the needs of the families we serve.  Please note that some opportunities, including wish granting, have a minimum age requirement.

What kind of schedule must I have to volunteer?

We strive to be as flexible as possible with our volunteers' time, and we ask the same in return.  There are various opportunities for you to become engaged with that can fit your interests and availability.  It is unlikely that you will have a regular volunteer time (i.e. every Tuesday from 10-2).  Most opportunities at Make-A-Wish® tend to be project-oriented and it is beneficial to have a flexible schedule to accommodate this commitment.

What kind of involvement do you ask of your volunteers?

Commitment levels vary, depending on your volunteer position. You may choose to become heavily involved or you may sign up for special events one at a time as you’re able.  We do expect a high level of commitment and professionalism from our volunteers.

What type of roles do volunteers have with Make-A-Wish?

There are six main areas of volunteerism with Make-A-Wish:  Fundraising, Office Assistance, Public Speaking, Special Events, Translating and Wish Granting.  Additional opportunities may become available on a case-by-case basis, please contact our chapter directly to inquire.  For more information about opportunities, please click here.

How do I become a volunteer?

In order to provide wish children and their families with the best experience possible, we require all potential volunteers to go through an approval process before becoming an active Make-A-Wish volunteer.  To begin the process of becoming a volunteer, please review the information here.

Why do I have to undergo a criminal background check?

Make-A-Wish volunteers are trusted to work directly with our wish families and may handle Make-A-Wish resources (including money or donated goods) as they arrange wishes or volunteer at fundraising events. For the protection of the wish families and Make-A-Wish itself, we require criminal background checks of staff and most volunteer positions.  All information in the application and any acquired through the background check will remain confidential and is used only for screening and placement purposes.

Are volunteers involved with the children on an on-going basis?

Our emphasis is on delivering one-of-a-kind wish experiences, rather than on developing ongoing relationships with families or children.  Of all of our volunteer positions, wish granting offers the highest level of involvement with wish children and their families.  Wish granters meet a family at the beginning of the wish experience to better understand the child’s most heartfelt wish, and begin the wish-granting process.  The degree to which volunteers are involved in the hands-on planning of the child’s wish will vary, however, depending on the particular wish selected by the child.

Do you have volunteer positions that aren't emotionally demanding?

In many cases, the organization's work is very emotionally rewarding. In such cases when volunteers are interested in supporting our mission while limiting their involvement with families, we suggest volunteer roles in fundraising events and in the office . All volunteer positions are vital to our mission!

Can anyone be a volunteer?

Wish Granting volunteers must be at least 21 years of age. Volunteers must be positive, outgoing, and passionate about children and our mission. It is important that volunteers like people and work well with others. Our volunteers are carefully screened to ensure we include a wide spectrum of talents and perspectives.

Can wish families volunteer?

Yes! Wish families often want to become volunteers after their wish is complete. Most families decide to involve themselves either through public speaking or as a Wish Granting Volunteer. We request that wish parents wait until after their child's wish has been granted before becoming a Wish-Granting volunteer.

How much time does a wish require to fulfill?

Some wishes, like gift wishes, are quick and easily fulfilled. Other wishes, like travel wishes, could take longer because the family travels on their timetable, usually based on the child's medical condition and treatment. Celebrity wishes can be the longest to fulfill, as we rely on the availability of each celebrity to schedule the wish accordingly. The average wish is granted within 8 to 12 months of referral.

I have a question not addressed here.  Who can I contact?

If you have additional questions, please contact Katie Aiello, Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager, at 315-475-9474, 800-846-9474 or [email protected].

Volunteer Contact

Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager
5005 Campuswood Drive
East Syracuse, NY  13057

Phone : (315) 475-9474
Fax : (315) 475-9476
[email protected]

Jake , 15

Cystic Fibrosis

I wish to write, direct and star in my own film

Wish Kid Jake

Tess , 10

Cystic Fibrosis

I wish to go to Hawaii

Wish Kid Tess

Will , 3

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

I wish to have…a hockey rink

Wish Kid Will

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Make-A-Wish® Central New York
5005 Campuswood Drive
East Syracuse, NY 13057
(315) 475-9474
Toll Free (800) 846-9474