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Exactly one year ago today, I became a Wish Granter at Rays of Sunshine.

Now, those of you who have read this blog before have probably seen my post ‘a love letter to my job’, in which I shared what an amazing job I have and all of the reasons I love it. With that in mind, don’t worry – I’ll try to keep the enthusing to a minimum in this post!

Instead I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned in my year as a Wish Granter…

  • Number One (and this is a pretty big one): When I started this job, I was really out of touch with kid’s culture!

Some of the wishes that came in really baffled me – a wish to meet…who? A….what to play games on? How on earth was I going to grant these wishes if I didn’t really know what they were for?! Which leads us nicely on to…

  • Number Two: Google really does become your best friend!

Since I’ve realised that I seem to know less than nothing about a lot of the things our wish children like, I’ve come to value Google even more than I did before. Whenever a wish comes in that completely baffles me, I just turn to the internet and do a bit of research – it’s a lot easier to talk to the family about a wish when you’ve at least got a vague idea of what you’re talking about!

  • Children’s imaginations are unpredictable

There are some things that you would expect children to wish for – anything Disney related (including trips to Disney World and Disneyland of course), to meet their celebrity heroes, to go to LEGOLAND or Alton Towers. All wishes that you would imagine coming from children. Then you get the wishes that are a little bit different; to be a policeman, to meet vacuum manufacturers, to visit the Eddie Stobart depot – not your usual expectations of children’s wishes! Suddenly you’re reminded of how amazing children’s imaginations and minds really are, even the expected wishes are as unique as the children making them – every child has their own favourite Disney Princess, or their own reason that one celebrity is their hero.

  • Laughter is important

This one covers both our wish children and their families, and ourselves. One of the reasons that our wish families tell us that wishes are so important is that they provide a much needed break and a chance to make some happy family memories of fun and laughter. As for us, when you’re having a bit of a bad day (which even Wish Granters aren’t immune to), the rest of the team are always there to pick you up, make you laugh and set you back on track.

  • Everything is out there if you just look for it

There are some wishes that prove a bit tricky and you can start to wonder how you’ll manage to grant them….but usually one of the other Wish Granters will have an idea that gets the ball rolling. Often, because of our varied backgrounds, someone already knows the perfect place for a princess makeover, a special afternoon tea or the perfect zoo keeping experience. Our wishes are really varied and imaginative but luckily for us, so is the world that we live in! You can find ways of doing almost anything, especially with the support and knowledge of the rest of the team.

And if no one knows where to start then there’s always our good friend Google!

And last, but by no means least…..

  • There are incredibly kind people in the world

Following on from the last point, when you do find what you’re looking for you can be amazed at how kind people can be and how willing they are to help. In the last year, I have made contact with so many suppliers who I’ve approached with a simple request (booking a table or a mini makeover) and they’ve gone on to give so much more. Some of the most amazing wishes that we’ve granted have come together thanks to the wonderful generosity of people outside of the charity, who have learnt about Rays of Sunshine and want to be a part of the magic we create for our Wish Children.

So there we are…just a few of the things I’ve learnt in my year here at Rays of Sunshine, a year that has gone so quickly and been at points baffling, hilarious, frustrating, educational and, ultimately, incredibly rewarding. I can’t help but wonder what else I’ll learn in the wonderful world of wish granting…

Alice Black, Wish Granter