Help The Learning Experience in Manahawkin ‘Make a Wish’

Oct 24, 2018
Courtesy of: The Learning Experience

The Learning Experience in Manahawkin, an early childhood education center for children from 6 months old to pre-kindergarten, aims to raise $5,000 by the end of this month for the Make a Wish Foundation. October is dedicated as “Bubbles’ Road to Wishes” – Bubbles is the elephant mascot, and his road to wishes takes him all over a map of the United States. For each $100 raised, he moves to a new state and sends a postcard from that state to each class, and the kids do a corresponding project. In Manahawkin, on a map in the lobby, he started in Florida and has progressed to the tune of $1,680.

As a national company, TLE has raised over $230,000 so far. Each center has been assigned a $5,000 goal, which represents the average cost of one child’s wish.

“Part of our programming is philanthropy,” owner-director Colleena Lieter said. TLE drives that point home with daily reminders and monthly themes. Rescue dog characters Grace and Charity teach lessons. Currently the kids are learning about sponsoring – so they’re sponsoring a child’s wish.

Big concepts for little minds? Lieter doesn’t think so. By the time they’re age 2½, she said, they get it. They know when they donate pajamas or give to toy drives, what it means to “give back.”

Acknowledging that the Make a Wish mission – to arrange experiences for children diagnosed with critical illnesses – may be hard for young minds to comprehend, the “Road to Wishes” imagery is more concrete and therefore easier for them to grasp.

Within the Manahawkin TLE community, several people have ties to the Make a Wish Foundation: a mother, an employee, some children’s relatives, and the TLE president is on the board of the foundation’s Florida chapter. In total there are 62 chapters in the U.S. and 38 affiliate offices in 45 other countries.

To help the local TLE reach its goal, visit and click Find Your Center’s Team, then select New Jersey and Manahawkin, which directs to a page with a Donate Now button.  —V.F.

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