When I started One Simple Wish in 2008 a few people told me they probably wouldn't ever grant a wish because they didn't think giving kids "stuff" was really going to make much of a difference in their lives. That statement didn't really bother me too much then because I thought I knew better. I knew that the wishes that children in foster care were making through our program were way more than "stuff." Wishes made by our kids were opportunities created, dreams realized, memories forming and connections being built. I believed in the power of a granted wish but it wasn't until I received this letter from a foster child in Wyoming that I was truly blown away.
December 2, 2014
My name is Matt and I was a foster child last year when you purchased a Wal-Mart Gift Card for me. I sent you a thank you card and I am so sorry to hear that it never found its way to your mailbox. I was in high school last year and it was kind of a goofy thank you card, so it is fitting that I have a second chance to send you another thank you card.
I used the Gift Card to purchase a skateboard, Hoody and an I-Tunes Card. You would laugh if you saw the skateboard now as the wheels are practically worn away. I used the skateboard to go to school and then go to work. I loved that skateboard and the freedom it gave me to just skate and listen to my tunes. That skateboard was a much needed escape from school, from work and from my worries. I still have the skateboard and it is in my closet. I was just looking at the skateboard the other day and thinking how that skateboard changed my life. If it wasn't for that skateboard I wouldn't have been able to stay after school and get extra help with my Math as I would have had to have caught the bus to take me home. If it wasn't for that skateboard I wouldn't have been able to get a job and it was at my job that I met a life mentor who convinced me to go to college. And the scariest life changing event that happened with that skateboard was that one day I was riding it and thinking about my day and I wasn't looking, of course, and I crashed into a fence. I hurt myself really bad and when I got home I had to go to the hospital and get stitches. But that skateboard saved my life because if I hadn't hurt myself I would have gone out with my friends. That night my friends were in a terrible accident and my friend's cousin was killed. That skateboard saved my life in so many ways! I was able to improve my Math scores and graduate from high school. I was able to work and meet someone that would convince me that I can go to college. And that skateboard saved me from a horrible auto accident. I don't think I will ever give that skateboard away.
I have often thought about the anonymous donor that gave me the Gift Card that bought me the skateboard that changed my life. It is ironic that you didn't receive the thank you card and that I have a second chance to communicate to you and tell you how thankful I am for your gift. You and your gift became almost a guardian angel of sorts for me. I think of you often and think how when I grow up I will do exactly as you did and I will sponsor a child for Christmas. I am in college now and also working a part time job. I want to be a Police Officer for a few years and then I want to be a Licensed Counselor. I am not sure if you believe that a silly skateboard can change someone's life, but I sure do! Thank you so much for reaching out to help a foster child in need and thank you for picking me when there were probably so many other deserving children.
May begins National Foster Care Awareness Month. It's not an awareness month that gets as much media attention as others but it's certainly just as important. I hope that Matt's letter inspires many others to see that we can all play a role in changing someone's life for the better, maybe even saving it.
You don't have to be a foster parent or adopt or mentor or advocate to make a difference. But you should do something. To grant a wish go to www.onesimplewish.org/grant