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Wish Nation

Making Memories for a Community

What are memories? How do we remember things? If you ask a neurologist how a memory becomes encoded in someone’s brain, you'll learn that an event causes an electrical and chemical reaction of sufficient magnitude in the hippocampus that it builds a set of proteins at a neural synapse. However, kids don’t think like that. They might say a memory is made by going to the circus, dancing with a pop star or flying a helicopter. If you ask a certain 7-year-old with leukemia, you might hear something completely unexpected – that her greatest memory comes from being an art teacher.

Wish kid Cindy began creating that memory when she received a wish from Make-A-Wish North Texas with help from the Dallas Indepent School District. Cindy was in shock when she received her wish. She was picked up from home in a limo and given a tiara. Arriving at Pershing Elementary School, her jaw dropped as she was greeted by the entire student body – over 500 children!

The community high school marching band was on hand with a happy tune. Cheerleaders twirled in their black, white and red school colors, shaking their pom-poms in the air in celebration of their newest educator. Following that, Cindy got to teach from her heart. She taught two prekindergarten art classes how to draw a sun with flowers and put together a teaching lesson that included writing letters as part of the Macy’s Believe campaign, which encourages people to send letters to Santa and raise up to $1 million for Make-A-Wish. She received art supplies to take home, an employee badge and an honorary Master’s of Teaching Certificate. Cindy was so overwhelmed that she wept tears of joy. 

Those are memories that will stay with Cindy for the rest of her life. When she thinks back to her battle with cancer, she will have positive thoughts to help her fight past her illness. What’s more is that Cindy’s memory will live on; her love of art brought together an entire community. Students, parents and teachers all shared this experience. They all formed a positive memory thanks to Cindy’s wish.

Psychologists use the term “sense of community” to describe the feeling that is created when a community gives to one another, developing a larger sense of structure. Dr. Semour Sarason of Yale University once said that a shared history and shared participation was the “definitive element for true community”.  Wishes like Cindy’s form a sense of community that will create a true impact in the lives of others.

Science may tell you that memories are formed by chemical reactions in the brain. But ask anybody from Cindy’s Dallas community, and they’ll tell you that memories come from the heart of a 7-year-old art teacher.


About this Blog

Wish Nation gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Make-A-Wish®. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM

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