There are times when our integrity is challenged. We’re faced with choices to do the right thing or not. Our minds are filled with thoughts of – can I get away with doing nothing, when I could have made a difference or can I get away with just a little wrong doing? If we think we got away with something, the question is, did we really? After watching an intense movie, The Flight, without giving anything away, a very moving line in the movie was when the main character said “It was as if I’d reached my limit and could not tell one more lie.” Why is that statement so moving? Inside all of us is that voice, that inner soul that not only knows right from wrong, but wants desperately for us to do the right thing. So even when we do wrong and seem to get away with it, that soul just cannot rest. Integrity is what keeps us whole.
Integrity is one of our values at Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. Without the honesty and trust we have in each other we would not be as successful working together whether on wishes, events or communications. How could we? A lack of integrity would mean a lack of commitment to our mission. Once you lose that integrity, it’s so hard to get it back.
There have been many wonderful stories in the news lately about integrity, finding things of value and returning it to the owners, i.e doing the right thing. Some could have done really well financially with their find, but that which makes us whole, integrity, required them to do the right thing. Integrity, it’s in all of us.
At Make-A-Wish Southern Florida we value integrity.
Karen Mullins, along with Cynthia Cohen, Sasha Formica and Mary Holt
Make-A-Wish Southern Florida staff members
The Treasure Coast Square Mall was the ideal setting for 6-year-old Angelica’s wish to have a shopping spree. This Fort Pierce girl, who is battling rhabdomyosarcoma, loves to shop and model outfits for her mother so much that she tries to save her allowance so her mother doesn’t have to spend the money. Angelica’s wish day was a time to focus on fashion and fun without worrying about the price tags. She visited all her favorite stores, selecting everything from trendy clothes and cute shoes to Hello Kitty items and pink sunglasses. Of course, she stopped by the food court to snack on a cupcake. With an overflowing limo trunk of purchases, Angelica and her family ended the day with a delicious meal at Chili’s.
Wish Granters: Carol Bannister & Charmaine Clements
Referred by: Dr. Melissa Singer, her physician
Wish adopted by Stanley & Arna Smith Foundation
To me, commitment is making up your mind about something and sticking with it – no matter what! I have always believed in the mission of Make-A-Wish which is to bring joy to the children and their families that qualify for a wish. I am so lucky and proud to be a “joy bringer” and part of the Wish Team who plans the incredible and fun wishes that we deliver. I love coming to work every day, especially when I get to hear about a wish afterwards from one of the family members, their voices full of joy and gratitude. I can actually hear their smiles through the phone! Seeing their smiling faces in the photos also gives me that “this is so right” feeling. That is truly the most rewarding part of my job. Sometimes, the news isn’t so great, but everything always seems to work out. One of the founders once told me that the magic of Make-A-Wish always comes through even if it’s at the last minute. She was so right. I’ve seen it happen time after time! Commitment also extends to those times when things aren’t so easy, like the busy wish times during the year when everyone wants to travel and the schools are on break. But knowing that every child who is waiting WILL eventually get a ”little piece of joy,” aka, A WISH keeps me going.
I strive to do an excellent job every day, which is my commitment to the foundation to help it develop in a successful and positive way. I believe that when a person makes a commitment with their heart AND their head, they can’t go wrong! It’s a beautiful thing.
Jennifer Stella, Senior Wish Coordinator/Celebrity & Travel
On February 2, 2013, more than 1,200 walkers and runners made wishes come true one step at a time at the Walk For Wishes® 5K Walk/Run presented by Mercantil Commercebank and featured by Florida Power & Light. Family Fun Day activities including a bounce house, snow cones, face painting and a carnival ride rounded out this wonderful morning of fun and fitness. Proceeds from the 4th annual event, which took place at Markham Park in Sunrise, raised more than $150,000, enough to grant the dearest wishes of more than 30 children facing life-threatening medical conditions in our local community. We are grateful to all our sponsors and to everyone who participated in the Walk. An extra special thank you goes out to our top five fundraising teams: Brenda’s Team – 10 wishes, MEDNAX -2 wishes, Team Norm – 1 wish, American Heritage – 1 wish and Schu’s Crew – 1 wish.
To register for the Walk for Wishes on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, please visit www.walkforwishes.net.
Ten-year-old Sabrina has always been fascinated by the old, regal castles in Scotland and constantly talks about her desire to see them. Her ultimate wish became a reality when a limousine appeared outside her home to begin her adventure to Edinburgh, Scotland. There, she and her family took a tour around the heart of Edinburgh and the Scottish west coast, where Sabrina explored real castles, including the Doune Castle and Stirling Castle, which she had only seen on a computer screen. Her journey proceeded to take her and her family through more breathtaking sites of the country, museums, and an isolated peninsula called the Kingdom of Fife. It was truly an epic trip for Sabrina!
Wish Granters: Bob DesJardin & Marlene Hood
Referred by: Dr. Luis Faverio, her physician
Wish adopted by: Mr. & Mrs. Harvey Chaplin
Vondin is a selfless little boy who decided to wish for something he could share with his 3 brothers. That’s why he chose to have a bedroom makeover. When his dream room was unveiled at a surprise party in his honor, Vondin was beside himself with excitement. It was exactly what he imagined – brand new bunk beds, an area rug, a stylish desk, lamps, bookcases, pillows, toys and accessories. To his delight, his room was decked out in blue and red (his suggested color palette) and featured many Spider-Man touches including sheet sets emblazoned with the superhero’s likeness. It is the perfect place to relax and play. Simply put, according to Vondin, “It’s the best!”
Wish Granters: Sabrina Kurzman & Kim Tabor
Referred by: Noelina Lewis, his nurse practitioner
Wish adopted by: Learning Care Group
West Coast Development Coordinator
Since June 2011
Involvement in the wish process: My involvement in the wish process mainly consists of fundraising. I am responsible for raising funds to grant wishes through our Kids For Wish Kids® and Adopt-A-Wish® programs, as well as the Cornerstone Society. I also volunteer as a wish granter and have the opportunity to meet our wish children and find out their heartfelt wishes. Both pieces of the wish process are equally important in order to successfully fulfill all of our children’s wishes.
Most challenging part of the job: The most challenging part of my job is keeping up with the everyday tasks in an organized and timely manner. I am extremely goal-driven and put a lot of pressure on myself which pushes me to always do more. Keeping up with my own expectations can become challenging.
Most rewarding part of the job: The most rewarding part of my job is hearing wish stories and knowing that I played a part in allowing the child to choose the wish of their dreams and have time away from the struggles that they face on a daily basis. Hearing the stories of a child’s wish and how it changed their life makes me proud to have been a part of the process.
Personal Life: I was born in Columbus, Ohio where I lived for five years before my family moved to Florida. My family currently lives in St. Petersburg. I have two sisters (Kasie is 13 and Torie is a sophomore at Florida State University). I moved to Fort Myers in 2007 to attend Florida Gulf Coast University and majored in Business Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. I was the community service director for Chi Omega which is how I became involved with Make-A-Wish. In my free time, I enjoy boating, cooking, traveling, scrapbooking and spending time with my family, friends and my puppy, Brodie.
Little Known Fact: I am terrified of bridges.
I am: a perfectionist, a hard worker, and overall a very happy person.
If I could wish for anything, I would….
Wish to be: a country singer
Wish to have: my own house
Wish to go: back to Italy
Wish to meet: any country singer