Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services
It is with extreme humility and gratitude that we are publishing this article knowing that we just surpassed M&IW’s Make-A-Wish goal of granting a very deserving little girl with a life threatening illness her wish to go to the Grammy’s. It is for this reason that we are beyond honored to have the opportunity to interview Connie Nau, CMP, CRP, Senior Director of Recruiting & Administration, who brought this grand initiative to M&IW for our Annual Campus Week & Client Summit.
Connie shares her story and passion for Make-A-Wish in her thoughts below…
I have seen firsthand the incredible impact a granted wish can do for a child suffering from life threatening illness. We have a family friend that actually had a Wish granted for their child a few years ago. It was an unbelievable gift. Her Wish was to attend a Milwaukee Brewers game with her family – something that a lot of us take for granted – but to them it was so special. Since sadly losing their child, the family actually takes an annual Brewers trip in her honor every year, and her joy and the happiness she found in her granted Wish lives on in a lasting memory for all of them.
Make-A-Wish is an international organization, just like M&IW. Make-A-Wish Wisconsin is based in the Milwaukee area and a very active chapter. I think everyone at M&IW, whether they are parents or not, can empathize and want to help out a family where a child is battling a life threatening illness. There are so many causes, and I think it is wonderful that this year we are focusing on Make-A-Wish.
Getting More Involved
Just this past May, I pursued the opportunity to become a Wish Granter. I had a few business associates in the Appleton area that had become Wish Granters, and after seeing a live presentation of a child that had received a Wish, as well as having personal friends that had gone through receiving a Wish, I thought that maybe this was a way that I could personally give back. It was simple to get started – I reached out to Make-A-Wish to inquire about the volunteer and Wish Granter training schedule – and I signed up. I spent a Saturday in the Milwaukee area training facility. The training was extremely thorough, and I have been impressed through the entire process. There are very specific rules and guidelines to follow, as the ultimate goal is to make this a positive experience for the child. During that training – there were actually two volunteers there that were parents of a child that had their Wish granted. They were there because it was their time to give back. I was in awe of them and their stories and felt so blessed… so grateful for all that I had at that moment.
Granting Wishes Live
In February this year, I was at a function where we raised enough money to grant THREE Wishes. I’m not sure how to explain the level of emotion in that room when they announced what that group of about 400 people had done in just a few hours. During that function a Wish Child and her mother actually came up on stage to talk about her illness, and to talk about the Wish that they received. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place – big burly men included! To hear how this Wish can bring a happy focus to a sometimes long and difficult situation was so impactful to me. I knew at that very moment that I would get involved, and I reached out to that business colleague that same week to get the information on how they got involved and to start the process.
Taking a Global Effort Local
Make-A-Wish Wisconsin was able to locate a child for M&IW’s initiative from the Racine area – which is so close to M&IW’s headquarters! So she and her family are our “neighbors” in some respect. Our Wish Child is “Sarah”, a 12-year old who is living with a life-threatening blood disorder. Sarah enjoys reading, watching TV, going to sleepovers and singing – just like any other 12-year-old girl! She also loves listening to all kind of music. Sarah wishes to go to the Grammy’s. Our company goal was to raise enough funds through our Campus Week initiative to grant her Wish! With Campus Week still one week away, we have reached our goal! We are now setting our bar even higher to see if we can raise enough funds to grant another child’s Wish!
Everyone Can Get Involved
Make-A-Wish Wisconsin is attempting to grant 365 wishes in 2016 – one a day! If you don’t have time to be a Wish Granter, you can also just volunteer for specific short term projects or events. For people at M&IW or in the meetings industry – this is an easy one. There are many gala events, golf tournaments, and wine tasting that need assistance. So you can sign up and volunteer for a single event.
Any of our clients, vendor partners and employees can get involved in the fundraising initiative to grant this Wish. You can go out to our main page at http://site.wish.org/goto/miww and Donate to the cause, and even Join the cause. If you want to have your own fundraising page, there is a button there to Join the fundraiser. When you do that, you can build your own page within our main site, and then you can share your Make-A-Wish page on your own social media pages. All funds raised from those sites will tally into our main fundraiser. It is that simple! Read more about M&IW’s team efforts: http://racinecountyeye.com/local-company-helping-grant-middle-schoolers-wish/
“It is such a great opportunity to do something very special for a child. If anyone is interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities or how to start a Make-A-Wish giving campaign at your organization, I would be happy to share my insight and get you connected to the right people!” Connie Nau, CMP, CRP