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WOMEN LEAD CHANGE: Jacobsen reflects on helping to grant wishes for 33 years

Mar. 18—Barb Jacobsen has dedicated 33 years of her life working to make sure children's wishes are granted.

"Our goal is to make sure that no child who is qualified for a wish to ever be turned down," said Jacobsen, president of Clinton County chapter of Make-a-Wish.

A Clinton native, Jacobsen, 66, is making impacts on the community through a variety of volunteer groups.

She is one of three people from the original Make-a-Wish committee that was formed 33 years ago. It now has 62 members, which is one of the biggest in the state of Iowa.

Jacobsen received the Governor's Volunteer Award last June, being recognized for help with Make-A-Wish.

The goal is very simple for her and the rest of the members. Make kids dreams come true.

"We try to do whatever their creative minds wish for. We as volunteers do our best to make it happen," Jacobsen said. "I believe one of the remarkable things about Make a Wish is the ability to transform dreams into a reality."

Dreams are impactful and a crucial part for everyone, but to give a child that once-in-a-lifetime experience means everything to Jacobsen.

"The impact of a wish expands far beyond just one experience. Research shows that by granting wishes it has a profound affect on a child's overall well being and can even contribute to the physical healing process," Jacobsen said. "During the wish you see laughter, families beaming from ear to ear and they're making memories. Even if it's only for a week, there's no doctors, it's just fun."

Although it may seem that the families are the only ones being impacted, that is far from the truth. Every interaction brightens up Jacobsen's day and makes her a better person.

"The rewarding part is not what we do but what they do for us. They make us better people. To meet the families and to get to know the children, seeing the expression on their faces," Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen gives a ton of credit to the Clinton community for showing her the kindness of giving and to believe in the good of Make-A-Wish.

"We are blessed to have our community. They're unbelievably giving and I believe that they believe in our organization just as much as we do," Jacobsen said.

With 14 wishes currently pending in Clinton County, they continue to look for donations and have their upcoming event Saturday, April 13 at the Vista Grande here in Clinton. This is their 29th annual Clinton Benefit with the theme being "Harvesting Wishes". Here Jacobsen along with the rest of Clinton County Make-a-Wish will be raising money to help grant these pending wishes and future wishes.

There will be an auction, entertainment with a speaker as well as dancing.

"If anyone is interested in tickets they can contact Joni McDonnell at 563 212-8991 or they can also go online to wish.org/iowa," Jacobsen said.

She could not emphasize enough how important the benefit event is to their mission.