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If you follow me on Twitter (@kalynkinomoto) or are a friend of mine on Facebook or real life, you probably know how much I love the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Alaska & Washington! People ask me why I love it so much, and I honestly can’t give an answer other than 1) I love kids, 2) the mission is so simple and 3) they really impact kids’ lives.

The month of June will mark one year that I’ve volunteered for Make-A-Wish and I am SO glad I made this decision. It has changed my life in so many ways. I was honored to be the organization’s volunteer spotlight for the January e-newsletter (here).

Last night was a tremendous evening. I volunteered at the annual Wish Night auction and gala. It’s the “big event” for Make-A-Wish. It’s a time when former and present Wish Families, sponsors, volunteers, celebrities and community members come together for one huge night to raise money to grant wishes. I was the lead volunteer for the registration area and got to meet lots of people whom I’ve only met and interacted with online (before you jump to any conclusions, I mean via Twitter), as well as other volunteers whom I’ve heard about from other wishes and events.

I came *this close* (really, like practically standing next to) several of the Seattle Sounders FC players who came to support the cause. If I had my phone with me, I would’ve taken a picture with them! So cute, so generous and so cute. That is my only regret of the night … not taking a picture with Brad Evans or Roger Levesque. Sigh.

This year’s theme was “Mission Incredible” and incredible it was! My first volunteer event was helping out at Colby’s lair party for his wish, which happened this past summer. His wish was to be a secret agent and it was one of those wishes that was so imaginative and creative. Colby was at Wish Night and throughout the evening, so were his nemeses. Lots of fun the entire night (including, but not limited to circus school kids unicycling on the escalators, sneaky kids spying on the events of the night, interruptions in the main program from Rex Velvet, etc.).

The energy in the room was so awesome! So many people come super excited to give thousands of dollars to change kids’ lives. I stayed in the volunteer hangout room for most of the main event time and watched the live feed of the auction. There were so many generous givers.

At the end of the night, more than $1.25 million was raised! That’s incredible! So many wishes can come true with that money.

I’m thrilled to be part of such an incredible organization. If you have any inklings of volunteering for a great cause, please, contact Make-A-Wish! You will not regret it, I promise.

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