Welcome to the #HOMETOWNHUSTLE – a SweetwaterNOW exclusive series where we highlight hardworking individuals in our community.
This week, I caught up with Carolyn Millemon, a local Make-A-Wish volunteer. Carolyn has been helping grant wishes with Make-A-Wish Wyoming since 2015.
Carolyn grew up with her brother and sister in Perth, Western Australia and in 2012, her husband Chad accepted a position at FMC (now Genesis). Previously they had traveled extensively for over ten years, teaching meditation around the world, which is how they met in North Carolina.
Prior to having their daughter in 2015, Carolyn worked for the school district at Lincoln and Eastside Elementary as a secretary and 5th-grade special education paraprofessional. She is now a stay at home mom and a Make-A-Wish Wyoming volunteer.
“I’ve been super fortunate to be able to be a stay at home Mum for Zoe the last four years.”
In 2015, Carolyn witnessed the amazing efforts the area high school students put into fundraising for Make-A-Wish Wyoming, so she decided to sign up to become a volunteer via their website.
“I was interested in giving back to children in our community and felt becoming a wish granter would be the perfect fit,” explained Carolyn.
Carolyn started by completing a training session and shadowing another wish granter to get a feel for the process of granting wishes for local children.
The mission of everyone involved with Make-A-Wish Wyoming is to grant the wishes of all the children ages 2 ½ – 18 years-old that are living with critical diseases, that are referred via family and medical professionals.
“It’s a very powerful way to create hope for a brighter future and ease the struggle of what they are dealing with,” said Carolyn. “The positive impact of a wish can be transformative and very powerful for long-term health results.”
BEING A MAKE-A-WISH VOLUNTEER IN 3 WORDS…
Giving is golden.
As a Make-A-Wish volunteer, Carolyn’s goal is to bring warmth and support to every aspect of helping discover a wish for each child and family she meets. She listens to all of their ideas and helps narrow it down to their greatest wish.
“Assisting them in the process is magical, as they can dream up any possibility their heart desires.”
The #HometownHustle series is made possible by:
THE FIRST WISH
The first wish Carolyn assisted with was for a Rock Springs boy who wanted a synthetic ice rink in his back yard to practice his hockey skills.
Carolyn and the team made it happen, and they held a reveal party with his friends to celebrate and have a play a game together.
“It was fantastic, he was so excited. See his face light up was amazing!”
When I asked Carolyn about the most difficult aspect of being a Make-A-Wish volunteer she told me there hasn’t been anything especially difficult throughout her time as a volunteer, because of the support she gets from the Make-A-Wish family. “All of the amazing staff at the office in Casper are available at any point I have a question and they are extremely supportive along the way.”
But as you would imagine it isn’t easy seeing the hardships of the children and their families.
“The toughest part is hearing the hardships the children and families go through on a daily basis, but seeing their strength and resilience is astounding.”
“I am in awe of the love that I witness in our wish families.”
For Carolyn, the best part of being a Make-A-Wish volunteer is seeing a child’s face when they hear their wish will be coming true or when they are receiving their wish.
“I have a photo of the happiest teenage girl from Rock Springs who went swimming with dolphins in Florida at a special facility that I absolutely adore.”
When I asked Carolyn about her favorite aspect of being a Make-A-Wish volunteer she told me she loves being able to be a part of a larger group of individuals who are focused on the goal of making a positive impact.
“Bringing joy and hope to their lives has to be one of the most rewarding ways I can dedicate my time,” explained Carolyn. “It helps me realize how very fortunate I am and expands my world to encompass a greater good.”
Carolyn encourages anyone who feels a pull to volunteer in the community to consider checking out Make-A-Wish Wyoming.
“I have developed a greater sense of purpose and selflessness in my life as a direct result of my involvement with granting wishes.”
Carolyn has a few wise words of advice to offer future Make-A-Wish volunteers or just volunteers in general.
“Dive in and be a part of a magical organization. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and you’ll never regret contributing to the best of the world.”