Here at Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida®, we understand that giving back to Jacksonville charities for children is a priority for many of the city’s residents. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose one.
Since 1994, the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Jacksonville branch has granted more than 6,000 wishes with the help of local businesses and donors like you!
Here are five reasons why Make-A-Wish is one of the best Jacksonville charities for children and tips on how you can get involved.
1. We Help Children Who Need It Most
Our mission is simple: Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
For our Wish Kids, childhood is anything but typical. Instead of battling imaginary monsters, these brave warriors battle with critical illnesses that zap their strength and leave them with little time or energy for play.
Instead of a childhood filled with magic and wonder, their days are filled with doctor’s appointments, medications, hospital visits, surgeries, and therapies. But at Make-A-Wish, our goal is to bring hope, joy, and fun to every critically ill child in Jacksonville.
Contrary to popular belief, children do not have to be terminally ill to be eligible for a wish. If you are the parent, family member, or doctor of a critically ill child in Jacksonville or surrounding areas, please let us know so we can get to work on granting their wish.
2. We Create Joy
For critically ill children and their families, their wish is more than a fun experience or a nice gesture, it’s a light in a dark time.
In fact, 98% of medical providers have credited the wish experience with alleviating the family’s traumatic stress related to their child’s illness and 92% of wish alumni stated it brought their family closer together.
Even after the wish has been granted, the amazing memories can give the entire family a beautiful memory to talk about and remember together.
3. Wishes Give Children the Strength to Fight
Science has long emphasized the importance of a positive mental outlook in fighting serious illness. But when a child’s disease is chronic, severe, and unyielding, it can be difficult to be optimistic about the road ahead.
When they are granted a wish however, 100% of Make-A-Wish recipients report feeling more hopeful about the future. They are often more compliant with treatment, experience fewer negative emotions, and feel empowered to keep fighting.
As a result, their wish experience is often viewed as a pivotal moment in their treatment and recovery.
4. We Give Kids Control
While all children must be told what to do, critically ill children have even less control than their peers. Rarely can they withdraw consent from receiving medication or treatment and they often have little time (or energy) to spend on their interests and hobbies.
In a world where they are used to hearing “no,” Make-A-Wish wants to be the voice that says “yes!”
Our VIPs are encouraged to dream big when it comes to making their wish so that they remain in control during an otherwise uncontrollable situation.
We do everything in our power to make wishes come true, even if that wish seems impossible at first. We even granted one little girl’s wish to meet a unicorn!
While our volunteer wish granters are trained to give advice and consult parents for their child’s likes and limitations, all decisions are made 100% by our Wish Kids so they are truly receiving a dream come true.
5. We Build Community
When you give to Jacksonville charities for children, you want to know that your donations are being used responsibly. At Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida, we are dedicated to helping children in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas and all our donations stay within Florida.
Our staff and volunteers live, work, and play in Northeast Florida, which is why the children in this community mean so much to us.
We also partner with local businesses—such as the Jacksonville Jaguars—to help us make wishes come true!
Our incredible network of volunteers, partners, and donors allows us to grant an average of 200 wishes a year and most recipients have their wish granted in a manner of months!
You Can Make a Difference
If you are looking for Jacksonville charities for children that give back to the community and give critically ill children the chance to dream big, Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida is looking for you!
We are in active need of referrals, volunteers, and donors so we can continue this life-changing work. If you’re interested in finding a way to give back to the Duval community, please donate or attend one of our events.