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Wish Blog

Mar 25, 2016

From Social Worker to Make-A-Wish Volunteer Coordinator

March is National Social Work Month. This year, the month is extra special because this is the first year we've had a certified social worker on our staff.

Val, our resident social worker and volunteer coordinator, sat down with our communication intern to chat about Social Work Month and how her previous profession offered a unique introduction to Make-A-Wish. 

Val and wish kid Paul 
 Val with Wish Kid Paul

Val Haines, our chapter’s volunteer coordinator, first realized she was cut out for a career in social working when she traveled to Ethiopia. She said that she saw poverty first hand in its most simple form. It was overwhelming for her to see that social work was a way to help people in the world. She wanted to pursue it.

Val worked different places before coming to work for Make-A-Wish. During that time, she saw that the little things really did mean the most. The lack of resources available to help people that need it is a challenging aspect of the job, but she said that getting someone a jacket; helping someone get into school; or helping someone with their medication regimen was what made her job as a social worker so rewarding.

Over the years, she learned how to deal with challenging circumstances that just come with the job. She feels like this helped as she transitioned into her current position at Make-A-Wish. Because she interned at places that referred children to Make-A-Wish, she knew that social workers were so helpful in making wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Social workers often times are the ones who first tell families about Make-A-Wish and what it can do for their children. Val says they are extremely helpful with the entire process of making wishes come true, and that’s why social workers deserve to be celebrated this month.

Every place she has worked has celebrated Social Work Month differently. But she says that best way she can explain this month is, “It is a time for us to celebrate each other and give positive affirmation because it’s a hard job. It’s a time to remind ourselves and others of the contributions we’ve made to the profession.”

When asked if she feels that social work has prepared her for her job as volunteer coordinator at Make-A-Wish, she says “One hundred percent.” She’s able to help volunteers go into what may be challenging circumstances. 

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