We would like to congratulate Marissa Ruszkowski as our January Volunteer of the Month! Marissa has been an active volunteer since 2015 and in less than two years she has gone on to donate her time to nearly 20 events! “She’s the first to volunteer for events and along with her dedication, Marisa is incredibly helpful on every occasion and will help anywhere an extra set of hands are needed,” states Volunteer Coordinator Emily Walters.
Marissa is a Chicago native and only temporarily left the city to complete her Bachelors in Journalism from the University of Missouri. Since then, she has moved back to Chicago and now works at a local advertising agency. During her college years, Marissa interned at Walt Disney World as a photographer capturing memories of wish families and magical Disney characters. In a single day she would work directly with 5 to 6 wish families and those moments are what captured her heart and soul. Upon graduating and returning to Chicago, Marissa knew that she wanted to continue her involvement with Make-A-Wish.
One of Marissa’s favorite parts of being a volunteer for Make-A-Wish is the time she spends working directly with children. She says, “No matter what situation a child is in, they are always thrilled to do activities with the volunteers.” Her most memorable experience was witnessing the transformation of a wish child whom she met an event and reconnected with a whole year later at the same event. When she saw this child the following year, he had more energy than anyone else in the room. “You get to see how your time volunteering helps to directly change a life!”
Marissa continues to dedicate almost all of her free time to Make-A-Wish because she loves the magic that it creates. While she enjoys her career in advertising, she says that giving back to this wonderful organization is her mission. “I’ll keep doing this for as long as I can. It’s one of the things that I truly, genuinely enjoy in life.”
In the future, Marissa hopes to further her volunteer position and become an ambassador for Make-A-Wish. Her dedication and work thus far has contributed to the Make-A-Wish mission in so many incredible ways. Congratulations and a very warm thank you to Marissa Ruszkowski!