Jan and Katie Walker are a mother-daughter-in-law volunteer wish granting dream team that supports local wishes in Southern Oregon. Their genuine desire to impact lives inspired their family to host a community golf tournament every year. The Gold Dust Farms Golf Tournament has raised over $81,000 since 2014. Their answers to the following questions are just a few of the reasons why we appreciate the Walkers!
Why did you become a volunteer?
Jan: "I have always believed that children are just about the most precious thing we should all cherish. I loved working with camp fire, 4H, and classroom activities most of my life. Make-A-Wish was another way to help kids. These children are extra special because their needs are so emotional, and often frightening but they are just children needing special attention."
Katie: "It fulfills my desire to help others. I have always volunteered for various activities in my community and have finally found my volunteer calling."
How are you involved with Make-A-Wish Oregon?
Jan: "Our company, business partners, customers and vendors help raise money each year for Make-A-Wish Oregon. I also speak to local groups to educate them about the organization and answer questions they may have."
Katie: "Primarily wish granting, walking at Walk For Wishes, and over the past few years helping raise money for the organization in our local community."
How do you feel after volunteering?
Jan: "Happy that I can help and have made a difference in a child and family's happiness. Sad that a child has to endure any pain. Always grateful that my family is healthy."
Katie: "It depends on the family, wish and situation. Most of the time, I leave feeling like I am making a difference in the wish child and their family's life. Other times I am heartbroken because of the heartache these families have to deal with."
What is your advice for other wish granters?
Jan: "Enjoy the ride! Every child and family are so special after you work with them that the stress of making it all perfect can wear you down, but breathe deep and know it will be special to that child no matter what happens."
Katie: "No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many." - Keven Heath
Chris Ackman is an incredible woman, who cares tremendously about supporting our mission. Without question, she has made a lasting impact in the lives of local wish kids. Her answers to the following questions are just a few of the reasons why we appreciate Chris!
Question: Why did you become a volunteer?
Answer: " I became a volunteer because I got to witness firsthand a wish being granted through my husband’s company, Alaska Airlines. I was so moved by Make-A-Wish Oregon and their mission to help kids with critical illnesses, that I just felt like I wanted to be a small part of helping where I can."
Question: In what ways do you volunteer with Make-A-Wish Oregon?
Answer: "I am a volunteer wish granter, but I have also had the opportunity to volunteer for The Walk for Wishes Committee and I help at the office on occasion. I've also participated in the Holiday Magic event at Randall Children's Hospital, airport tours, and am somewhat of a liaison between Alaska Airlines and wish families."
Question: What is your favorite wish?
Answer: " My favorite Wish....that’s a tough one. I’ve been so blessed to be a part of so many special families and their wishes. I’ve got to say it probably would be granting a wish for “a puppy to love”. But that doesn’t take away from other extraordinary wishes from all my wish kiddos!"
Question: What is your advice to other wish granters?
Answer: "My advice to other wish granters is to give your first meeting a priority. First meetings can set the tone for the wish. Follow through with communication often. As a special farewell, at the end of each wish, I make a video memory for my kiddos as a keepsake."
Question: How do you feel after volunteering?
Answer: "Volunteering feeds my soul. I love what I do and the families I serve!"
Question: What would your wish be?
Answer: "Honestly, my wish would be that every year, that because of the generosity of many people in our community, we are able to grant a record number of wishes for the kids in Oregon and SW Washington!"