Make-A-Wish seeks volunteers in Jamestown area

JSSP Generic Sun

Make-A-Wish North Dakota is looking for volunteers in the Jamestown area to help critically ill children’s wishes come true. Ideally, the non-profit organization would like to find 10 people to help in this area.

“We have had volunteers (in Jamestown),” said Billi Jo Zielinski, Make-A-Wish president and CEO. “We don’t have a healthy roster of volunteers in the Jamestown area (at this time).”

Make-A-Wish serves children between the ages of 2 ½ and 18, Zielinski said. Children may have a critical or terminal illness to have a wish granted, she said.

“It is not just for terminally ill kids,” she said. “That is still a misconception.”

Volunteers help discover the wish a child would like and work with the family. There are 180 volunteers around the state, Zielinski said, mostly in Fargo and West Fargo. Jamestown, Williston and Minot all need Make-A-Wish volunteers.


“Our volunteers are very integral in helping us deliver our mission,” she said.

Qualifications for a wish to be granted include that the child would not have received a wish granted by another organization. Economics are not involved, she said. Referrals can be accepted in one of four ways:

  1. The child himself/herself - usually from an older child

  2. Medical professional

  3. Parent or legal guardian

  4. Family member who may have enough information about the child.

“We always work with the parents, though, once that referral is made to explain the process, explain the program,” Zielinksi said, and get to know the child.
Once a child is referred to the program and determined to be eligible for a wish, Make-A-Wish assigns volunteers to discover the wish, handle paperwork and communicate with the family.

“Really, oftentimes this is the main interaction which we have with the family is through our volunteers, so it’s kind of a premier volunteer opportunity,” Zielinski said.

Wish-granting volunteers have online and in-person training. Make-A-Wish also works with the child’s medical professionals to ensure the wish is appropriate.

“The safety and health of our children is paramount,” Zielinksi said.

Zielinkski said it’s important to get the child’s input on the wish because when a child is diagnosed with a critical or terminal illness a lot of decisions are taken away from the child.

“Basically, it empowers them to imagine and say yes to something,” she said.


People interested in volunteering will fill out an application, have a brief visit with a Wish coordinator/operations coordinator, undergo a background check, complete paperwork and get two to three hours of initial training to be a certified Wish volunteer.

For more information or to be part of Make-A-Wish in other ways, go to Make-A-Wish’s website at

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