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Make-A-Wish New Jersey Celebrates 35 YearsMake-A-Wish New Jersey Celebrates 35 Years

Volunteer Spotlight

Make-A-Wish New Jersey is made up of over 450 dedicated and compassionate volunteers that play an integral role in helping to bring our mission to life, through their work with our wish families and through volunteering at events. Each month, we’ll highlight some of the great accomplishments of our volunteers, and what being a volunteer for Make-A-Wish means to them.

Bill Lyons

Volunteer since 2016

"In my two years as a volunteer, I have worked with about 30 wish families. I have found it to be the most rewarding work I have ever done in my life. I have taken part in granting many wishes for children from a wish to meet the Pope, to wishes to go to Hawaii and for swing sets. It has been wonderful to deliver these wishes to the families. I always make it a point to tell the families that while I am the one to deliver the news, it's the folks in the Castle that make it all possible. When a father tells you of the positive impact you have made on their child, you know you are doing the right thing with your life to help others. When I deliver a wish to a child I always tell them that they have to grant me my wish. They always ask, "What is your wish?" and I always tell them "My wish is that you get well.""
  • Bill Lyons with Director of Wish Granting Victoria Bollhardt

  • Bill Lyons with volunteer JoAnn and wish child Jael

Pat Voorhees

Volunteer since 2002

"I started thinking about what I would do when I retired. I like giving to others, its part of my genetic makeup. I met a man from North Jersey who was a Make-A-Wish volunteer. Just the way he explained what he did as a wish granter started the thought process rolling for me. Here was the sign from the universe telling me this is what I was destined to do. I went to a local meeting in Ocean County 9 years before my retirement. The energy in the air was incredible, almost addicting. To sit back and listen to the volunteers give updates on their wishes was infectious. I was hooked! I have never looked back and can't imagine a year without Make-A-Wish in it.

Volunteering has helped me to achieve my life long goal of "paying it forward". Each wish family that I meet brings a new dimension to wish granting for me. Not only does a wish come true bring happiness to a child or teen but it also warms my heart and gives me a sense of accomplishment. It just makes you want to do that much more. My proudest moment was to be recognized by Make-A-Wish New Jersey and have my own star on the Wall of Fame in the Wishing Place. It truly was a humbling experience.

Through volunteering, I take away a huge sense of accomplishment, pride and compassion. I have participated in hundreds of wishes over the years. One really gets a better understanding of the struggles wish children and their families are faced with. And because those kids don't give up, neither will I!"

  • Pat with her grandson and wish child, Karl

Sandi Schwartz

Volunteer since 2016

"It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a Make-A-Wish volunteer for only two years. I’m having difficulty in expressing in words the joy that I experience being a part of this incredible organization. Although I volunteer at events, work at the reception desk, and help out in other ways, it is as a Wish Granter that I get the most satisfaction. Meeting and working with wish families, especially the wish child, is the ultimate joy. Thank you to the staff of Make-A-Wish New Jersey for allowing me to be a part of the Make-A-Wish family."

  • Sandi at the Make-A-Wish New Jersey Gala

  • Sandi with Wish Child Kianna and her family

  • Sandi with Wish Child Nevaeh

  • Sandi with Wish Child Nevaeh

Sue Parsons

Volunteer since 2015

Sue Parsons, Volunteer


I initially became involved with Make-A-Wish three years ago to fill a void because my children are grown. I chose to be a wish granter so that I could have a direct connection with wish children. It’s so rewarding to see a child’s face light up during the wish granting process. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a part of making a child’s wish come true? ”
Make-A-Wish® New Jersey
Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place
1384 Perrineville Road
Monroe Township, NJ 08831
(609) 371-9474
Toll Free (800) 252-9474