Make-A-Wish Foundation event at Katra Lounge (July 2010)

The Jersey Girl at the Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit in NYC

Last week, on Thursday, July 29th, I was very fortunate to attend a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the Katra Lounge in New York City.  Though it took place in NY, this benefit was organized by New Brunswick, NJ resident and owner of the Better Body Expert, Dre Farnell.  Many people from the entertainment and fashion industries of NY and NJ were in attendance to raise money and celebrate the wonderful work that the Make-A-Wish Foundation does, since 1980, granting wishes for children who have life-threatening medical conditions.

We first listened to the story of Paul Rosario whose wish was granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation when he was a child – the most amazing thing about his story, is that Rosario was there to tell it to us himself.  Having fully recovered from the Leukemia that he battled as a child, Rosario is extremely grateful for the positive impact that the Make-A-Wish Foundation has had in his life and volunteers as a speaker with the organization.

Rich Malouf of the Malouf Auto Group, North Brunswick, NJ, with Make-A-Wish Foundation speaker Paul Rosario

Other invited guests were asked to speak and tell personal stories of what it is like, as an adult, to have a dream or a wish and what their individual paths have been like to make them come true.  Levar Riley, of West Orange, NJ told the story of starting his own successful dry cleaning business in Newark, NJ, called Lil’ BoSheep Dry Clean & Laundry Service.  Nicole Lundy, a makeup artist and owner of Ne’Lani Cosmetics, who lives in New Brunswick, NJ, shared her dreams of starting her own, all-natural, skin care line – and the exiting news that it will be launched this fall.

Dre Farnell, Levar Riley, me and Rick Gray

Farnell, the Better Body Expert, was motivated to host the fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation because his own nephew had a life-threatening condition when he was a child, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted a wish for him. Farnell wanted to give back to the organization that helped his family through a very difficult time and organized this event along with Rick Gray of the ADA Group.  Farnell energetically spoke about his own dreams of working for himself and becoming a personal trainer and life coach.  He also shared how important it is for him to help others achieve their dreams – the theme of the night’s event.

Joan Morris (my mom), Alison Malouf (my sister) and me with Nicole Lundy of Ne'Lani Cosmetics

It was an honor that, among these inspiring individuals, I had the opportunity to speak and share my story of pursuing my own dreams (of writing and traveling).  As a teacher, I work with students who have dreams and wishes, and a large part of my job is teaching them how to believe in themselves and that they can accomplish anything that they want to do – no matter how big the dream may seem or how small they may feel.  After a while, I realized that I needed to listen to my own good advice to follow my dreams and make my passions part of my regular life.  Now, as my dreams of writing and traveling are becoming a reality, I know that I am also a much more effective teacher for my students who can see, from my example, that with a little hard work and a strong belief in yourself, anything is possible.

Giving my speech at the Make-A-Wish event at Katra Lounge

It is never too early or too late to go after your own dream or to do something to help somebody make their wish come true.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, you can do so through this secure link.

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

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