READ, RECYCLE, REWARDS for New Hope for Kids

UCF and its Cornerstone program continue to embrace New Hope for Kids in so many meaningful ways. Our newest partnership is with Gray’s Bookstore near the UCF Campus and General Manager, Colleen O’Boyle.

Colleen was introduced to New Hope for Kids when she was a Cornerstone team member. This group of business majors puts their learning to work to help local charities. “Colleen’s spirit, professionalism and Cornerstone experience has led to an ongoing commitment to New Hope for Kids and other charities. Our partnership with Gray’s Bookstore provides wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses, thereby supporting our community’s merit and substance,” states Wishes for Kids Director Rosie Wilder who works with new teams each semester.

As Colleen developed her professional career, she continued to work with various Cornerstone teams. She offers a Book Donation Program that has already generated $7,570 for New Hope for Kids! “We collected 132 boxes of books this semester alone,” states O’Boyle, “with most going to the efforts of New Hope for Kids, as that is a charity that is very close to UCF’s heart, and mine as well. Plus, we have the UCF Community to thank for our continued success, and we look forward to serving our fellow Knights and the surrounding community for years to come!”

Gray’s College Bookstores are family owned and operated serving UCF since 2008; founded in Louisville, Kentucky in 1987 by Chuck and Ellen Gray. Since 1987 they have expanded to 8 stores in 6 states, most recently in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the University of Alabama.

For the Book Donation Program, the books can be of any genre, must be recent copyrights (within the past 5 years), in good condition (no water damage, torn pages, etc) and have an ISBN (the number by the barcode). Special collection boxes are provided by Gray’s which are used to gather books which can then be brought to their store located at 4250 Alafaya Trail, Oviedo, FL 32765. New Hope for Kids will start to have donation boxes at our Center for Grieving Children and at upcoming family events so that we can make it easy for everyone to donate.

Back-to-School Thoughts

Regardless of the hot, steamy days, fall has arrived with the return to school, football games and frenzied activities.  For some, this is a joyous time to be reunited with friends, challenged by more complicated studies and energized through extracurricular opportunities.

What is it like for children who have a disability? Will they find joy in their new classes? Acceptance by their peers? Understanding from their teachers? Access to activities of their choice? The answer to these questions are as varied as the children who attend our schools. Here are my top 10 guidelines to help every child prepare for a positive outcome at school:

Kaley’s Wish

Kaley2Kaley recently had a very difficult surgery to lengthen her leg. Before she faced months of treatment and therapy, Kaley only asked for one thing: a Disney Dream Cruise! Her family had the best time swimming, playing games, and sightseeing. Every day was an adventure beginning with a cool and windy day and moving into sunshine and the warmth of the Bahamas.

Parents Sindian and Felix wrote, “We thank you again for everything… We had an awesome time… We need a vacation after this vacation LOL so much to do, no time to rest. We participated in everything. Thank you all again for a wonderful vacation. God Bless.”

Anatomy of a Volunteer

The anatomy of a New Hope for Kids Volunteer includes:

Vibrant spirit.
Open mind willing to learn.
Loving heart full of compassion.
Understanding and joyful personality.
Nerves of steel and patience of Job.
Time to share.
Ears that listen without judgement.
Eyes that see the needs of others.
Real people: any shape, size, age or origin.

J.P.’s Wish

wish_JPJ.P. wanted to see his New York cousins and celebrate in the Big Apple! One of his favorite things to do is sightsee at the iconic Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building! New Hope’s Wishes for Kids provided airfare, accommodations and spending money to make J.P.’s wish extraordinary!

Before he left, J.P. was treated to his own “prom” by the Shooting Stars UCF Cornerstone Team. They shared, “Our Prom on Monday night turned out fabulous. It really seemed like all the kids were happy and having a good time. Everyone was so helpful and sweet.”

Beginning Again

photo-2.JPGIt’s the first day of August–the perfect opportunity to begin blogging again.  I apologize for my absence; I have learned that regular blogging is not as easy as I thought it might be.  Generally, I write the way I talk–way too much! Hence, my naive assumption that words would roll on to the page as profusely as they come off my tongue.  Not so.

The reason I chose to begin a blog has not changed.  I want readers to learn about the World of Wishes and the children who cope with serious illness daily.  Since 1999 when I began granting wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses, I’ve learned a few lessons.  These include: