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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

A Wish Your Heart Makes Brings Fairytales (and More) to Life

Nov 23, 2015 08:59PM ● By Brandi Barnett

Once Upon a Dream

December 2015
By Jordan Venema

“What little girl doesn’t want to become a real princess?” asks Kathee Brown, owner of A Wish Your Heart Makes. The answer to that question has a lot to do with the rest of this fairytale, and discovering how wishes can be made reality.
A Wish Your Heart Makes began, says Brown, “when my daughter came to me in 2007 and was inspired to start this business.” Brown’s daughter Ashley, an actress and singer, was a preschool teacher for four years and has a special love for children, says Brown. “She saw Wish as a way to give back to so many more children, and bring the magic.” Not to mention, Disney had always been her special love.
The mother and daughter duo make a perfect team, and together bring magic that is much more than an accessory to a party. Wish provides actors dressed in character for any circumstance – parties, get-togethers, you name it. “Real princesses and superheroes and pirates step right out of the storybook, and they bring joy and laughter and magic to every event,” explains Brown. “It’s amazing to see the smiles, see all the hugs. You can’t put a price on that.”
Of course, Ashley was the first princess, and though the business began with a handful of princesses, now she has a number under her belt. “Oh my goodness, countless,” says Brown. “Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, all the classics,” as well as “Mary Poppins, Cat in the Hat, Jasmine, all the princesses.” But Ashley’s favorite character, says Brown, is Belle.
Wish provides more than just a live mannequin, however. Princesses tell stories, lead sing-alongs, set up tea parties and organize crafts. “They even do makeovers,” says Brown. “But one of the special highlights for the little girls is the red carpet princess coronation, with the little girl receiving her own sparkly sash with her name on it and a rhinestone tiara.”
Wish isn’t just about princesses.  “Superheroes lead an adventure with interactive games, and the children receive an initiation with certificates,” says Brown.
Star Wars parties are really popular right now, she says, as well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle parties. And with the movie coming out soon, you could have Darth Vader or Princess Leia arrive at a Star Wars party with a Storm Trooper or Jedi Trainer.
It will probably come as no surprise, though, what has been the most popular party over the last two years. “It’s been all about Frozen. Between the Central Coast and Central Valley, we have about eight Elsas and seven or eight Annas,” Brown says with a laugh. A Wish even has a snow machine for the chillest parties, with a hand-painted backdrop for photo ops. “If they want real snow brought in, we have the capability to do that so they can build their own snowman,”
adds Brown.
To date, the largest party Wish has thrown was a Cinderella party, where the parents actually hired a horse-drawn pumpkin carriage which carried the performers to the party – with Prince Charming, Fairy Godmother, and of course Cinderella.
So now that Wish has been around the block, can fans expect any new characters, or has the company already run through the gamut of princesses and heroes?  “That’s a secret,” Brown says. “But I will tell you with the new Star Wars movie coming out, that will be really popular.”
While these wishes may be fairytales, for some children a visit from a superhero or princess can be a dream come true. While Wish is a business, it also donates time and resources to bring joy to children who need it most. In its first year, Wish gave an Alice in Wonderland party to a Visalia girl with a brain tumor. This year, Wish teamed up with Fresno Barnes and Noble to support Valley Children’s Hospital. “We had some of our superheroes and princesses collect story books and comic books for the children,” says Brown. While in character, they picked up books bought through donations, then delivered more than 150 books to children in the hospital. 
“That’s our special love,” she says. “We have a program that we call Just Believe Foundation. Actually it started about three years after we started the business, and once a year, we would give a free birthday party for a child who had faced extreme circumstances either through illness or other tragedy.”
That’s where the real wishes come true, giving to these kids. And it’s not exactly easy to become a princess, “but we want to make a difference. And they can make a difference by becoming their own superhero in the world, or becoming a princess. It’s not about your gown or crown,” says Brown. “ It’s about the love in your heart.” And that is the wish your heart can make. • Find them on Facebook and Instagram
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