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Wish Blog

Oct 29, 2018

18th Anniversary Reflections

Alby
As our longest-serving employee, Director of Programs and Volunteer Services Shelley Freeman shares some reflections on our 18th Anniversary.
How long have you been with Make-A-Wish?
Since March 2010.

How has our chapter changed since you started?
Our chapter has grown in a million different ways! We have gone from granting approximately 80 wishes a year back in 2010 to being on track to grant 175 wishes this year! We have gone from six employees to 11 employees which enables us to grant not only more wishes—but bigger, better wishes. Our mission hasn’t changed, but how we stay true to our mission has evolved over the years.

What factors do you think contributed to that growth?
I think there are several factors that contributed to our growth. One is the booming growth in the Nashville area. More people means more kids who qualify for a wish! Secondly, the staff. Our CEO, Beth Torres, is growth-minded and that’s contagious. Our staff is determined to grant every eligible wish in our territory. This means everyone has to be on board and focused on the big picture—from medical outreach to fundraising. Finally, we have created relationships with donors, referral sources, wish families and volunteers who support us in unbelievable ways. They have bought into our mission, and we couldn’t do what we do without them. 

Do you have a favorite Make-A-Wish memory?
There are so many, but my favorite has to be when our chapter won the Infinite Wish Award in 2015. It is an award given at our national conference to the wish that embodies the Make-A-Wish mission with community participation and creativity. Because it was an anniversary year for the foundation and for Disney, the national conference was held at Disneyland in California, and our entire staff was able to attend. To win the award with our staff there, knowing our hard work paid off and receiving that acknowledgement from our Make-A-Wish peers was beyond exciting!

What hopes and dreams do you have for our chapter going forward?
I hope that every child medically eligible for a wish is referred to us and gets their once-in-a-lifetime wish fulfilled. I hope our chapter continues to grow and that we will always have the funds necessary to grant those wishes. And, I hope that we always have the dedicated staff, volunteer base and community to help us grant them!

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