Saturday, June 1 will be a wonderful day to join in this year’s Make ‘m Smile Festival!
We are so excited to invite you join us for the 11th annual Make ‘m Smile Festival! Our annual festival in Orlando, FL celebrates kids with special needs (our VIP’s)!! Join our “Friendship Stroll” around Lake Eola with a new friend and enjoy lots of family activities, food, entertainment and learn about many great resources for the special needs community!
Arrive at 7:30 a.m. and stay till 1 p.m. or any time in between. There will be drinks and goodies, a concert by Carolyn Pankalla and Heather Williams, and many more fun surprises. For more information, check out www.nathanielshope.org. I look forward to meeting YOU there!
The New Hope for Kids Kamp will soon be upon us. You Can Help!
Along with our Grief and Wishes for Kids Programs, the fun and supportive family events throughout the year are what make New Hope for Kids such a unique organization. You probably know someone, perhaps in your family, a co-worker, neighbor, friend, business associate, a corporate office or maybe a group of individuals who can help in some way.
Axiel looks out to sea during his wish cruise. Maybe you’re asking, “Does my child qualify for a wish?” If you live in Central Florida (Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard, Indian River, Polk, Lake, Volusia, or Marion Counties), and fit the criteria below, your child would qualify for a wish.
Where would New Hope for Kids be without our volunteers? Last year, over 10,000 volunteer hours were given to children and families receiving services from Wishes for Kids and our Grief Program. Pictured above are two outstanding volunteers, Mark Avery and Macey Colavecchio, who spent their Saturday at Barnett Park sharing a fun picnic with New Hope for Kids families. There were 20 others serving food, assisting with activities, doing face painting, registration, photography, and DJ services. Since our paid staff has only 8 persons, it’s easy to see the value of those who give their time, talents and energy to bring smiles to children and adults. YOU can be one of those people. As you share your time, a funny thing happens–the joy that comes from those you help washes over you, too.
This week I visited my daughter’s workplace.She is a cosmetologist; chemicals are her friends because they help change the texture, style and health of hair.The smell of these useful substances is often acrid, pungent and offensive.However, when I get a whiff of permanent solution it takes me back in time.I’ve always had fine, straight, stringy hair.To combat this combination, my mom would have me sit very still while she patiently rolled permanent rods from temple to neckline.I came out looking like Shirley Temple wannabe!It’s my mom’s love and attention I treasure from this “smelly memory.”
Recently I visited a youngster who had experienced a lot of medical trauma as an infant.His life was in danger and it was necessary to take blood samples, administer transfusions, put in I.V.’s and other life-saving but very painful administrations.When scheduling the visit, his mother asked that I not wear white.She explained that her son, now 4, still panics when approached by anyone wearing white because that triggered his memories of doctors and nurses and medical procedures that had to be done.
Samantha, a 12 year old with cerebral hypoplasia and ataxia, never considered the possibility that her wish might not come true. She knew she wanted to see snow, go sledding and make a snowman! With a little help from friends at the Liberty Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania she is pictured above fulfilling her dream.
What does it take to stop a dream? Is it fear of failure? Lack of self-confidence? I wish I had the courage I see demonstrated by the children and families I serve. Is it difficult for me to get going in the morning? I have a body that works, a mind that is sound (despite what friends and families might think ha ha), and resources to fulfill any dream I might pursue.
What stops you from fulfilling your dreams? Let’s take a hint from Samantha, and make those changes we think about but never do. Start writing that book. Begin a new routine. Forget about TV for a while, and paint your masterpiece. Whatever is in your heart, go for it! Let me know if Samantha’s dream motivates you!
I finally got around to organizing the pics and have been meaning to send this email to you since we got back. Our cruise was amazing and a blessing that refreshed and renewed us as a family. The children are still talking about their experience on the Disney Cruise and it is still unbelievable to us that we went on such a wonderful trip. We can’t thank you/New Hope enough!! Tati was able to meet other wish children, as the Wish Director on the cruise held a party for all the children in different wish programs. It was an uplifting and encouraging moment.
Today I spent time with a remarkable young woman. Libby is intent on helping New Hope for Kids. She attended Wish Volunteer training and now every Tuesday and Thursday she does clerical work. She’s detail-oriented and willing to help, freeing more time to make Wish visits, work with UCF students and make wishes happen.
Nearly 14 years have passed since I began granting wishes with New Hope for Kids. 700 wishes later, I still ask, “Was there anything else I could have done better? What will the long-range benefits be?”
Wish gifts, trips or experiences are better within a positive relationship between the family and Wishes for Kids. Beyond the gift is the heart of our “New Hope for Kids Family.” It’s composed of a variety of people, personalities and cultures making it interesting and diverse.
A couple of years ago, a wish was granted to a very shy and unassuming young man. His wish was to have a room of his own. His house had burnt down, and his family was sharing a home with a friend. I called a consultant who worked with a University of Central Florida team to make Johnathan’s wish come true. Here’s the letter that came straight from the heart of Johnathan’s father.
In the history of Wishes for Kids (aka Children’s Wish Foundation), three United States Presidents have granted wishes to our children. They’ve included Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Each President took time from his very crowded schedule to visit with a special needs child. This was a genuinely non-partisan agreement—to bring honor and happiness to a child.