The Make-a-Wish Foundation By Kristen Rass
Over spring break I visited an amazing place called Make-A-Wish New Jersey. It is the Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place. It is a beautiful building that resembles an actual castle, and it's HUGE! It is located at 1347 Perrineville Road, Monroe Township, NJ. It has stained glass windows and automatic doors. As soon as you walk in, you feel like you're in an Alice in Wonderland-like scene. There is a real maze on the floor, and there are plants that are in the shape of chess pieces in all four corners of the room. Giant colorful leaves hang from the ceiling as a forest soundtrack plays birds chirping. The workers are very friendly. I was lucky enough to get a tour around the castle and see the theater, the inspirational thinking room, and even the all-magical wishing room.
The wishing process isn't so simple. First, the child goes to a room called the "thinking room" to think of their wish if they don't already have one. There are pictures of different possible wishes on the walls, and some cozy beanbag chairs to sit on. Some kids wish to be on TV, some wish to meet a celebrity, take a cruise, or even go on a trip to a different country. (The wish can't be granted if it's crazy, like going to the moon.) Make-A-Wish grants wishes to kids whose doctors determine that they have a life-threatening medical condition. Each child can make one wish.
In the wishing room, there is a "wizard's lair" theme projected onto mesh walls. There's a box in the middle of the room that holds the "wishing crystal", which the child takes out and holds. At the same time, they say their wish out loud. Once the process is done, the "wishing star" lights up and appears on the wall along with a forest background, signifying the wish being granted. This is the process of making a sick child's dreams come true and making them truly happy.
During their first year, this Make-A-Wish location has already granted 410 wishes! Even more unbelievable, Make-A-Wish has granted 7,000+ wishes thanks to many supporters! In 2012 they had more than 300 volunteers helping to grant wishes. They even have a wall with stars and plaques thanking their donors. It truly is a magical place helping to make wishes come true! If you're interested in reading more information about Make-A-Wish New Jersey, or viewing the magical castle online, visit
I know after my trip, I plan on getting more involved.