Guest Post: Falling in Love with my Job

Written by Chelsea Ochylski, Manager of Philanthropy at Make-A-Wish® Iowa


I fall in love every day. I fall in love with every story I hear and every wish child I meet. I want to give each child the world and that is why I do what I do and why I love my job. As the Manager of Philanthropy for Make-A-Wish® Iowa, I often receive many questions about what I do. The most popular being, “Aren’t you sad every day?” To answer honestly, while working for Make-A-Wish does have its challenges, more so, it is extremely rewarding.

In my career, every day I get to work with individuals throughout Iowa who have the means and the passion to donate to our organization. Furthermore, I work with volunteers, students and individuals throughout the state who want to better themselves by making a difference in the life of someone else. I get to share the mission and vision of our organization while they help make wishes come true.

Make-A-Wish’s mission is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. I realize that mission is much bigger than I am, and I will not lie, there are absolutely days where I would rather lay in bed watching eight hours of FRIENDS than work. Then I remember there is a child who has no choice but to watch hours of TV while receiving treatment and fighting for their life. That is why I get out of bed in the morning.

Even though there are days where difficult conversations are had, complaints are received, or a long drive to northern Iowa is endured, the joy I am inevitably bringing to a child’s life makes it all worthwhile. With our generous donors, I am able to share the impact that every gift has on our wish children, their families, and communities as a whole. For example, that 81% of wish parents witnessed that their child had an increased willingness to comply with treatment when receiving a wish. The money our donors give helps to provide children with the will they need to fight back.

Each day I am amazed by the generosity of college students at Universities around the state, by their endless compassion, and by their will to brighten the day of a child. Students hold meetings, seminars, and fundraisers to raise money and awareness about the impact and importance of Make-A-Wish. These students are making a change on their campus’ around the state and I get to support them and show them the difference they have made at the end of every semester when they adopt the wish of a local child.

Every day I get to Share the Power of a Wish® with donors, students, volunteers, and individuals around the state. Once in a meeting, a donor said to me, “I like you because your passion shines through in everything you do and talk about.” Of course, I politely smiled and thanked him while moving forward with the meeting, but later when I was reflecting on that conversation, I could not help but think that was one of the best compliments I have ever received in my life. Through my career, I have realized my purpose and it is not to simply raise money, it is to share my passion by helping people to realize the true impact they can and do have on others through their commitment to Make-A-Wish. Whether it is speaking to a group about our mission, holding a fundraiser, or running a toy drive that provides enhancement items to our wish children, everyone is making a difference in the life of our children. This result creates a domino effect that impacts the entire community.

I love my job. I love working for a non-profit. Each day presents a new challenge and a new reward. I love sharing the impact an individual has had on the life of a child and their family. I love seeing the unparalleled happiness of a child who has opened their bedroom door after an afternoon nap to see a brand new play set with a red slide in their backyard. I love seeing a child’s one true wish come true.

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