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Wishing Well Blog

Spreading Joy with Austin

Austin Blog post header 2017
When I think about Make-A-Wish®, I think about how happy a wish can make a child who is going through a tough time in their lives. I have known about Make-A-Wish for as long as I can remember, but I never understood how important this organization was until I experienced it firsthand. When I was hired at my local Target store in 2014, I never imagined something like this would happen.

One day at work, we were informed that a young child named Becky had been granted a wish to go on a shopping spree and our store was going to host it. Several team members gathered at the front doors with huge welcome signs and a shopping cart adorned with decorations from her favorite movie, Frozen. That day, I was working back in the electronics department. When she came back, there was an instant connection between Becky and me. She wanted me to help her pick everything out from that point on, so I walked with her and her family through the store for the remainder of her trip. She was so sweet and happy, and I was glad to be one of the reasons that she had that huge smile on her face! As I walked around with them, I learned more about Make-A-Wish and what it does and was very impressed with how it could do these amazing things for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Becky was having the time of her life that day, and I could tell by all her expressions. She would ask me for my opinion before she would decide to buy things, and she kept offering to buy me things as well. I told her that it was her day – and I think she could use those Elsa dolls more than I could! Throughout the shopping spree she told me about all her friends at school, the different hobbies she liked to do (like playing tag) and all the things in life that made her happy. Before she left, she gave me several hugs and asked me to come with them! I was shocked by how much of an impact I had on her that day, but I am so glad that I was able to help her smile and brighten her world.

Since then, I learned that there is an annual Make-A-Wish event – a Celebration of Wishes – at Lawrence Subaru in Hanover, PA, as a part of Subaru of America’s Share The Love Event.  During the holiday season, local companies and community members come out to the dealership and make the holidays special for the children who are involved with Make-A-Wish. Both years that Lawrence Subaru hosted the event, Target was invited along and I went each year. We packed up some toys, board games, drinks and the all-famous popcorn from the Target cafe and set up a stand inside the dealership. The children had a chance to play beanbag toss with myself and other employees, as well as pick out their favorite toys from our selection. It was great to see so many local businesses come out to spread some joy to the families and everyone who was involved.

Target makes it very easy to become involved and posts volunteer opportunities in the office whenever they arise. More than that, every year, Target nominates one person from each store in every district to win an Outstanding Volunteer award. Our district is made of 13 stores, and this year I was nominated and won! Along with a plaque, I also received a $500 Target gift card that I had the option to donate to any organization of my choice. With all the places I have volunteered for or helped, I knew that very second that Make-A-Wish would be receiving this gift card. Since I had such a personal experience with them, it was easy to choose who I’d give it to. I am so grateful that this organization exists because I love what it stands for and how impactful it has been on my life and all the children’s lives that it has touched. I would like to help continue this movement, which is why I have decided to apply to become a volunteer and help these children smile again. I look forward to creating more moments like the one I’ve personally experienced with Becky.

If you or your workplace would like to get involved with Make-A-Wish, click here to find out more about the ways you can help! 
  • Pictured here is wish kid Becky with Austin and several Target employees in Hanover, PA.

  • Austin Bedsaul holding his Wishpartner Club certificate with Make-A-Wish Regional Development Associate Becky Kroft.

  • Austin volunteering at last year's Celebration of Wishes event at Lawrence Subaru.

About this Blog

This blog brings Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia to you -- sharing first-person stories of the Make-A-Wish experience and the impact of a wish from the perspectives of wish families, volunteers and staff. This blog highlights wishes come true and the special people in Pennsylvania and West Virginia that help create life-changing experiences for every eligible child.

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Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Inc.
The Gulf Tower
707 Grant Street, 37th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1938
(412) 471-9474
Toll Free (800) 676-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Southern West Virginia Office
888 Oakwood Rd
Oakwood Center, Suite 330
Charleston, WV 25314
(304) 342-9474
Toll Free (800) 664-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Northern West Virginia Office
913 Canyon Road
Morgantown, WV 26508
(304) 292-5600
Toll Free (888) 808-9474