The basics: Alice Lovley, 50, has been a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central California for 18 years. The national nonprofit grants the wishes of children who are diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.
What she does: Lovley is a wish granter, someone who interviews children about their wish to figure out exactly what they want, fills out the paperwork and then works with the wish director to make it happen.
She helps grant between seven and 10 wishes per year. Some of the common desires include trips to Disneyland, shopping sprees, celebrity meetings and room makeovers.
The first wish Lovely granted was to a 4-year-old boy who wanted a puppy. “You always ask the child if the first wish can’t be granted, what’s their second wish. He said, ‘Um, another puppy? Two puppies?’ I’ll never forget it,” she said.
Why she does it: Lovley was raised in a large family with seven brothers and sisters. Her father was a farm laborer who couldn’t read and her mother never graduated from high school. She said they instilled in her the value of giving, especially of time, which reaps blessings in return.
Lovley doesn’t have children of her own – but she does have time. “You can’t put a money value on time,” she said.
You can’t put a money value on time.
Alice Lovley, Make-A-Wish Foundation volunteer
The turning point: Lovley works for an after-school program at Clovis Unified School District called Campus Club. Eighteen years ago, the club was in search of a community service project for the students to work on.
They selected Make-A-Wish. The students made cards for Make-A-Wish kids and later raised $3,000 for the nonprofit by collecting and cashing in recyclables.
Afterward, the coordinator approached Lovley and said she liked Lovley’s positive, outgoing personality. She asked her to stay and become a regular volunteer. Lovley never had volunteered outside of church activities but, she said, “I was hooked from there.”
Details, details: Lovley’s favorite wish involved a Hoover High School student named Kevin who waited two years until 2006 to meet President George W. Bush at the White House.
Lovley worked with neighbors and Hoover High students to surprise Kevin with something every day for two weeks leading up to his flight to Washington, D.C. They presented him with a red, white and blue scarf one day and a patriotic pin the next. They decorated Kevin’s wheelchair, which he used because of a nervous system disorder.
She said Kevin’s eight minutes with Bush marked the longest time the president granted any wish recipient. He even got to watch Bush take off in a helicopter from the White House lawn. “That’s my favorite wish because he held out for two years,” she said. “It’s that type of person who is going to make a difference in this world.”
What others say: Diana Rambo, executive director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central California, said she never will forget how special Lovley made Kevin’s wish. “She’s one of our longest wish granters,” Rambo said. “Truly she’ll take a wish anywhere, anytime. She has just been amazing.”
How you can help: To donate to or volunteer with Make-A-Wish, visit www.centralca.wish.org or call 559-221-9474.