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

Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place

Where Wishes Have A Place To Call Home

The Wishing Place is the only one of its kind. It 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.

Children often come to Make-A-Wish® at a frightening time in their lives. It’s a time when playing, learning, and laughing is all too often replaced with uncertainty, hospital visits and medical treatments. Based especially on the fact that so often a child’s imagination is limited and stifled by their illness or environment, we sought 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 wholeheartedly supported the 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.

I believe in Make-A-Wish. I believe in these children... ”

— Joe Plumeri, lead donor and honorary chairman of the Make-A-Wish New Jersey Capital Campaign

Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place

Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place

Funding

The Samuel & Josephine Wishing Place was funded solely through private, philanthropic donations. The project was completed without government funding and without taking a single penny away from wish granting.

The cornerstone donation was a $2 million donation from Joe Plumeri, Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings, which he then increased to $3 million after becoming more involved with Make-A-Wish and further inspired by the children we serve. This was the first seven figure gift in the history of Make-A-Wish®, nationally or internationally, and helped bring a Wishing Place from a vision to a reality. The official name of the building is the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, after Mr. Plumeri’s parents.

We will forever be grateful to all who have made this magical building possible. For surely we know, it is a place to rekindle the inner spirits of all wish children who pass through these halls.

funding quote

Land & Location

As plans for the Wishing Place were put into motion, we recognized it was essential to find a location that was accessible to all of our wish children. Fortunately, we found a perfect plot of land in the centrally located Middlesex County. The land is in an ideal location and surrounded by beautiful forestry, which served as inspiration for our interior designs.

The land on which the castle sits was donated by Jack Morris, CEO of Edgewood Properties. Mr. Morris initially donated a seven-acre parcel, but as he became more involved with Make-A-Wish and inspired by the mission, he increased the donation to 14 acres.

Joe, you’re an incredible guy. This would have been a vacant piece of land if it weren’t for you. I can’t thank you enough because you’ve given me an opportunity to do such a beautiful thing. ”

— Jack Morris, about Joe Plumeri, at the grand opening ceremonies

land and location NJ map

Inside The Castle

  • John and Megan Crowley (left) in the Crowley Family Entryway during the grand opening.

  • Welcome Hall

    Guests in the Christian Joseph Plumeri Welcome Hall moments after the ribbon cutting.

  • Maze

    Victory pose after conquering the floor maze!

  • The atrium with a view of spires.

  • Donor Wing

    The NY Football Giants posing in the Jack & Sheryl Morris Wing with a wish child.

  • Marino Stage

    Wish children danced & sang on the Marino Stage during our talent show!

  • Courtyard

  • Pond

    A wish family posing outside by the Pond of Hope.

  • Admin Wing
  • The Administrative Wing inside the Wishing Place.

Where Wishes Have a Place to Call Home

  • Areas of the Castle:

    • Crowley Family Entryway
    • Christian Joseph Plumeri Welcome Hall
    • Jack and Sheryl Morris Wing
    • Multi-purpose room/theater with the Marino Stage
    • Expansive courtyard
    • Pond of Hope
    • Administrative Wing

The Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place provides spaces for “making” a wish in an unforgettable setting, for sharing and celebrating a wish experience with family and friends, for volunteer training, family gatherings, and for office and conference space.

The excitement visitors feel as they approach the Wishing Place only grows once they are inside the castle.

As soon as the front doors open visitors are met with magical sights and sounds. The Crowley Family Entryway introduces the whimsical theme with heraldic banners and faux-medieval wall tapestries, decorated with fantastical animals such as friendly dragons and unicorns.

Just beyond the Entryway, the Christian Joseph Plumeri Welcome Hall, with a double-height atrium and a large floor maze, invites children to wander and play in an open yet protected space, as guests take in the images of fantastical gardens with views to the real forest and pond outside.

Every detail was carefully considered before it became part of the Wishing Place. We didn’t want our wish children to just see their visions; they needed to see themselves to know this is truly their special castle.

The colorful, stained-glass window images picture princes, princesses, knights, and wizards in recognizable ways, like this prince who is in a wheelchair.

Down the Jack & Sheryl Morris Wing, exists a theater with the Marino Stage. This space can be used for special performances, volunteer trainings, wish family gatherings, bon voyage celebrations, wish deliveries and the endless possibilities of other types of special celebrations.

The expansive courtyard and the Pond of Hope offer a beautiful setting for gatherings from wish family picnics to formal Galas, and everything in between.

The Avallone Board Room, Perry Conference Room, and the workstations are tucked away in the Administrative Wing, allowing our staff to focus on the mission and accomplish daily responsibilities in a quiet and professional environment.

Magical moments happen every day inside the castle. We enthusiastically welcome the public to visit the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place to learn more about the mission of Make-A-Wish and experience the magic firsthand. If you are interested in visiting the castle with family and friends, or members from your school, workplace, or organization, please call 609-371-WISH (9474).

 

We are so overtaken by the magnitude and the beauty of this wish-granting facility and the magnitude and the beauty of all that this facility is going to do! ”

— Kathleen & Phil Ciarco, Capital Campaign Chairman

Stained-glass window images inspire visitors

Stained-glass window images inspire visitors.

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