Silver Star Transportation Featured on the Make-a-Wish Podcast
Like all the Make-a-Wish chapters across the US, Make-a-Wish Hudson Valley is in the business of granting wishes. Since 1980, this organization has awarded over 315,000 children their most-wanted wishes. The organization is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, but serves every community in the United States, Guam, and Puerto Rico by way of its 60 chapters.
In 1980, a seven-year-old boy named James Greicius, who lived in Phoenix, was battling leukemia. His most special wish was to be a police officer. One boy made this wish and was the beginning of a movement to transform millions of lives. James was the first child to have a wish come true. Tommy Austin, the Make-A-Wish co-founder, had this to say about James:
He was only seven-years and 269 days old when he died. But he taught me about being a man, even though he was only a boy. And because of meeting him, I’m an entirely different man.
The idea of granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions was getting noticed and was attracting attention from organizations around the world. In 1993, Make-A-Wish International began with five countries joining-in from outside the US. Currently, Make-A-Wish International has 40 affiliates that serve children in nearly 50 countries on five continents.
Donors and Volunteers
One person alone could not grant these incredible wishes if it weren’t for the men, women, families, and businesses that pour their hearts out to make sure that no child is disappointed. It takes an army of folks to transform lives, one wish at a time. Over the years, many of the world’s largest and most prominent corporate sponsors have donated millions of dollars to the Make-A-Wish cause, such as:
- American Airlines
- Party City
- Southwest Airlines
- Avis and others
Silver Star Transportation and Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley
Mario Da Rocha, Jr. is COO of Silver Star Transportation, based in Yonkers, New York, in Westchester County. For more than 15 years, Silver Star Transportation has given kids the ultimate experience when they take off for their adventure. When Hudson Valley Make-A-Wish children receive the wish of their dreams, Silver Star Transportation is waiting and ready to pick them up and take them to the airport to begin their exciting journey. During the years that Mr. Da Rocha has been a part of the Make-A-Wish organization, children have said they enjoyed the limousine ride as much as they loved the wish experience itself.
Silver Star Transportation makes sure that the kids have a unique, curated day. The young ones get a VIP experience worthy of a wish kid’s hopes and dreams. In other words, the kids have the time of their lives.
Mario Da Rocha and Silver Star Transportation
Mr. Da Rocha’s flourishing business began when his father and mother immigrated from Portugal in 1979 and started their transportation business. They purchased one limousine, and before they knew it, their business was thriving, in large part because of the friendly service and the staff’s willingness to make the customers happy.
It didn’t take long for the Da Rochas to offer tourism packages, sports travel, corporate shuttling, and even major merger companies’ travel needs.
Mario Da Rocha’s Career
Mario started working for the family business when he was still in high school. He has been a part of the company for so long that he is well-versed in every company aspect. Like the rest of his family, Mario wanted the limo business to make people smile, create memories, and have fun. And when the Da Rochas joined the Make-A-Wish foundation, they discovered that touching the lives of wish kids was exceedingly satisfying.
Making Wishes Come True
Now Mario often drives the kids himself. Wishes occur, and children tend to lose themselves in every aspect of the event, from celebrating in the limo to their destination. He sees the stars in the kids’ eyes, and it makes him want to go on the adventure, as well. A few of the personal touches Silver Star Transportation offers include:
- Drivers make extra steps to make the drive exciting, memorable, and fun-filled.
- Silver Star ensures that their drivers speak the same language as the kids involved in the festivities.
- If child seats are necessary, the company asks parents to bring them since the children’s safety is paramount.
- Silver Star’s drivers and staff make sure that the event is seamless, easy, and fulfilling.
Make-A-Wish Gifts and the COVID-19
Mario and his team know that there will be times when a wish can only come off quickly if all the necessary controls are in place. From the first mention of the threat, Silver Star Transportation required all attendees to wear a mask. Later, when experts suggested that wearing two masks would probably give the kids more protection, Mario was right on the ball. Face covers, social distancing, and hand sanitizing are always part of the preparations and activities.
The Shooting Star Segment
The Da Rochas understand because the idea is to bring sunshine, absolute happiness, and fun into the wish kid’s big day. Because of that, they make sure that even the smallest things make a difference in the fun-level. Some rides include:
- Balloons packed into the limousine
- Karaokes for singing
- Flower garlands
- Sweet treats along the way
- Special lighting and more
How Silver Star Feels about Make-A-Wish
Mario Da Rocha cannot say enough good things about this organization. When he has the kids on their way to their wish event, the moms and dads thank Mario repeatedly. Mr. Da Rocha gives the Make-A-Wish organization high marks for having excellent wish coordinators (the folks who make the wish come true). He adds that the folks who work at Make-A-Wish (MAW) are professional, cordial, and on-point.
According to Mario, MAW is generous, brilliant, resilient, and stellar and has a group of volunteers, support interns, and excellent, skillful, and dedicated workers. You could not volunteer or work for a more exquisite organization.