Children come to Make-A-Wish during what is perhaps one of the most frightening times in their lives. It’s a time when playing, learning, and laughing is all too often replaced with uncertainty, hospital visits and medical treatments. With one question — “If you could have one wish, what would it be?” — we reveal the imaginative possibilities of a wish and empower children to once again image and believe. The wish granting process creates magical moments and memories that the children and their families can cherish. Ultimately, a wish come true restores hope, renews strength, and returns the joys of childhood.
The concept of A Wishing Place first emerged a few years ago after a task force returned a study to our Board of Directors and senior leadership team, confirming what we had come to see throughout our 29-years of wish granting: a child’s living room or hospital room is not always the most conducive place to conduct a wish visit and bring the special brand of Make-A-Wish magic. Based especially on the fact that so often a child’s imagination is limited and stifled by their illness or their environment, we were advised to create our own space.
As our chapter discussed the possibility of building A Wishing Place, we convened a group of medical professionals including doctors, nurses, child-life specialists, and social workers; they reaffirmed their belief that Make-A-Wish often picks up where science and medicine leave off and whole-heartedly supported this special project.
We developed a focus group of wish kids, looking for insights into ways we could enhance their wish experience. A vision emerged for a new home for Make-A-Wish New Jersey. That vision asked that it resemble a structure that symbolizes enduring strength but is also magical…In short, our wish kids wanted a place they could call their very own—they asked for a castle!
With a team of architects, interior designers, engineers, and general contractors, our board, dear friends, and donors stepped forward to meet the challenge from our wish kids.
The Wishing Place provides an environment that is free of limitations, confinement, and stress. It stimulates the imagination and reveals to seriously-ill children the imaginative possibilities of a wish. It also serves as a consistent reminder that wishes can indeed come true.