BY KATHLEEN BOLUS
A group that grants wishes to critically ill children needs help.
The nonprofit Make-A-Wish Foundation seeks volunteers in Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming counties. The volunteers serve as ambassadors between families and the Scranton branch of the foundation — meeting with families, discussing wishes, planning parties and shopping with the children.
A training for volunteers also is being offered at Lackawanna College this month.
During the Oct. 19 training, interested volunteers will learn the history of Make-A-Wish, who qualifies for wishes, what the wishes are and clearances to be a volunteer, said Maggie O’Brien, Make-A-Wish regional manager.
The life-changing wishes are for children ages 2½ to 18 with critical illnesses.
Since Make-A-Wish began in the early 1980s, the organization has granted 1,600 wishes in Northeast Pennsylvania, O’Brien said. Nearly 300 wishes have been granted in Lackawanna County since 1988, she said.
Last year, Make-A-Wish granted 10 wishes locally, and 10 are pending right now, O’Brien said.
Two volunteers typically work on fulfilling two or three wishes at a time, she said.
For Michele Legate, who began volunteering 12 years ago, being able to give the children something positive is one reason why she became involved.
“It helps them to feel like a kid again and not just a sick kid in the hospital,” she said. “The joy that comes out of that is worth it, 10 times over.”
Volunteers must be at least 21 years old, pass a criminal background check and attend a one-time, in-person training session. The Oct. 19 training session is from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine St., Scranton.
Online registration closes Monday. To register, visit www.wish-volunteer-training-scranton.eventbrite.com.
For details on the application process, contact Regional Assistant Tamara DiSalvo at 570-341-9474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.