Considering all she has done to help grant the wishes of nearly 5,000 sick children during a nine-year stint on Make-A-Wish Southern Florida’s Board of Directors, it was only fitting that Brenda Yester received one of the nonprofit’s highest honors at its recent donor celebration. Yester, a former board chair and two-time “Board Member of the Year,” received the “Nancy J. Strom Spirit Award” in recognition of the significant impact she has had volunteering for the organization.
In addition to her contributions at the board level, Yester, senior vice president of revenue management at Carnival Cruise Lines, has also raised more than $60,000 as a “Walk for Wishes” team leader, personally granted wishes for children who have life-threatening medical conditions, and been instrumental involving Carnival (www.carnival.com) with the Make-A-Wish mission. To date, the Carnival Foundation has donated nearly $280,000 in cash and in-kind support to the Southern Florida chapter (www.sfla.wish.org).
“Brenda has been a ‘game-changer’ for us during her time on the board,” said Norm Wedderburn, Make-A-Wish Southern Florida president/CEO. “Her strategic leadership, passion, and never-ending devotion to the children and families we serve has enabled us to reach new heights as an organization.”
Wedderburn added that the late Nancy Strom, the founding president of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida and the woman for whom the award is named, “would be very proud of Brenda.” Yester, a Southwest Ranches resident, will now transition to a board position at Make-A-Wish of America.
“Nancy was someone whose work with Make-A-Wish inspired me and I’m honored that the foundation feels I’m worthy of winning her award,” said Yester. “The nine years I’ve spent in this world have been some of the most rewarding of my life and I’m looking forward taking the next steps with the national organization.”
Since 1983, Make-A-Wish Southern Florida has enriched the human experience with hope, strength, and joy by granting wishes for more than 8,500 families in 13 counties and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It receives no federal or state funding and raises money to fulfill its mission through corporate sponsorships, special events, foundation grants, and individual contributions. The Southern Florida chapter grants a wish every 16 hours, at an average cost of $5,000 per, and is committed to making a dream come true for every medically-eligible child in its territory.