One of my favorite things about The Smile Project is the opportunity to meet and connect with other social entrepreneurs. Through a nonprofit Facebook group, I connected with Sylvia McKelvey from Tennessee. Sylvia is the founder of 3 Wishes For Her.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce her project!
Liz: Let's start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a "Happiness is.”
Sylvia: Happiness is walking with a woman caregiver.
Liz: What is 3 Wishes For Her?
Sylvia: 3 Wishes For Her, also known simply as 3W, works out of Memphis, TN. We advocate for women caregivers of critically and chronically ill children. We make sure they do what they can to care for themselves, so they can care for their child.
We started working with women in 2012. After working a few months with this small group, we decided to expand and obtain our 501(c)(3). We were finally recognized as a non-profit January 8, 2013 (which, by the way, is Elvis Presley’s birthday. How fitting for a Memphis non-profit)!
Memphis has 3 wonderful children hospitals. With the 3 hospitals, the need is great when working with caregivers to the children. Women come from all over the world seeking out some of the best medical care in the US. With women coming from all over the world to our front door and the local women, you can imagine how great the need is for that sisterhood bond!
3W works with the women through 3 support groups that meet once a month at 3 different locations. We use this time to educate the women on how to better care for themselves. We bring in guest speakers that can motivate and give the women the tools they need to survive on this journey with their child. Throughout the year we have several events that the families look forward to.
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Sylvia: Watching the 3W Sisterhood grow stronger with each new woman that joins the 3W support system.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Sylvia: Service means being there for someone that has a need. Sometimes not being able to "fix" it every time, but to just be there and offer the emotional support so they know they are not alone. Not all women caregivers have children that survive the illness. We cannot 'fix' this, but we can walk with them. Once a woman becomes a 3W Sister, she will always be a 3W Sister. No matter what part of the journey she is on with her child. Our 3W motto is "I will walk with you."
Liz: How can people get involved?
Sylvia: The need is great for gas cards. This gets the families back and forth to many doctors and hospital visits. They can be mailed to us or donations can be sent in marked for gas cards at 3 Wishes For Her PO Box 1334 Millington, TN 38083-1334. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and visit our website for more information.
Liz: Do you have a favorite piece of advice or quote?
Sylvia: When we walk side by side, hand in hand, we are never alone.
Liz: Anything else you’d like to add?
Sylvia: In October 2018, 3W was nominated as Non-Profit of the month by Memphis Mom’s Blog. Check out the story by Denise Byer. Denise captured what 3W is and does for women with a critically or chronically ill child. She was the caregiver to her nephew who had cancer. She did this so her single sister could keep working to support her family.