National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week

By Susan Gnann

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization. So, instead of just a day, an entire week every year is dedicated to volunteers. This year April 10th-16th is National Volunteer Week. It is a time set aside to celebrate the work of individuals who give to the community and have an impact on so many lives; individuals who give so much with an expectation of nothing in return.

In the last 12 months, 145 volunteers have given over 1,000 volunteer hours to the Dayton Chapter of A Special Wish Foundation. (ASW) These wonderful volunteers help at ASW fundraisers and Wish Family events. The small staff at ASW could not be successful without the help of each and every volunteer. Not counted in their number are the many individuals and organizations who hold events and fundraisers on behalf of ASW and the families they serve. The amount of time donated

Volunteers for ASW run the gamut; from teenagers to retirees, our volunteers feel a sense of pride in knowing they are a part of helping local children who are battling life-threatening conditions get their wishes. For many it is a way to give thanks for a healthy family. Others seek the satisfaction of being a part of something bigger than themselves. Some volunteers, like Reneé Garman, just love children and want to be involved in the mission of ASW.

“One of the greatest joys for me has been volunteering for this great organization,” said Reneé recently. She can be found at nearly event special event and also volunteers at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Others share their professional skills. So important to the work of ASW are photographers that capture special moments. Sam McConnell of McConnell Photographics has been volunteering for ASW since 2008 when he was president of the student leadership committee at Sinclair Community College. They raised money for a Wish Kid named Darryl to get his wish for a truck restoration. Sam is a graduate of Sinclair’s automotive program, so this wish was a perfect fit. His involvement has grown from there, and Sam and his wife Whitney volunteer at every ASW event throughout the year.

Many of our volunteers are former wish families who want to “give back” by organizing events that raise money to grant wishes for future Wish Kids. They are compelled to give back because of the joy that their Special Wish gave them. One such family is the Bridenbaughs of Brookville, OH. Michael Bridenbaugh had his wish to meet the Dukes of Hazzard in 2011.

“It all started because we wanted to pay back A Special Wish and provide the opportunity to another child who is struggling with an illness,” says Jennifer Bridenbaugh. “It was so nice to get away, relax as a family and have smiles instead of tears.”

This year is their third year of organizing a fundraiser called Cruise the ‘Gate, a car show at Golden Gate Park, Brookville. To be held on Saturday Sept.17, 2016, participants and guests to the car and bike show will also see Sam McConnell there taking pictures. Sam and the Bridenbaughs got connected when Stefan Bridenbaugh, Michael’s dad, was restoring a Dodge Charger General Lee that he promised to his son after beating his cancer.

Organizers of events that benefit ASW do more than just raise needed funds. They extend the reach of the organization and share its mission to a broader audience. To find out more how you can volunteer or organize an event to benefit A Special Wish – Dayton Chapter visit or call 937-223-WISH (9474.)

Susan Gnann is the marketing and development manager for the Dayton Chapter of A Special Wish Foundation. She can be reached at 937-641-4263 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..