Miracle Makers: Jennifer Ralph
Outstanding Commitment by a Volunteer
When Jennifer “Jenni” Ralph, owner of Wisteria Flowers and Gifts, creates floral arrangements for a Golisano Children’s Hospital event, they are not simply of beautiful flowers. She will sculpt yellow button mums and dark purple carnations to resemble Goodnight Moon and make hydrangea acrylic droplets look like water trickling out of a teapot, surrounded by gerbera daisies and lisianthus. Jenni and her Wisteria team make sure every detail for every occasion is top-notch. It is for her incredible creativity and everlasting willingness to lend a hand to the hospital, that Jenni has earned this year’s Miracle Maker award for Outstanding Commitment by a Volunteer.
Jenni’s connection with the children’s hospital began in 2003, when her daughter, Charlotte, was born with a minor facial deformity. Charlotte was treated by John Girotto, M.D., director of the Cleft and Craniofacial Anomalies Center and Plastic Surgery. It was during her stay that Jenni recognized how lucky she was to have the institution right in her community. To give back in honor of her daughter, and other relatives treated at the hospital, Jenni decided that Wisteria, a store she and her mother opened 21 years ago, would be the perfect way to get involved.
With a total of 120 years of experience, Jenni and her Wisteria staff are proficient in contemporary and traditional design, assuring each client’s individual style and needs are not only met, but exceeded.
Since 2004, Jenni and her expert designers have donated countless hours exceeding the hospital’s expectations with their creations for the Gala, the children’s hospital’s biggest annual fundraiser. Jenni has been the decorating chair of the event’s planning committee for a number of years. Not only does the Wisteria staff transform the venue the day of the event, but Jenni also donates a majority of the décor, making each year unforgettable.
“It really is a labor of love,” Jenni said. “The girls at the shop play a huge part in incorporating the theme and have everything come together so nicely.”
For the 2012 storybook-themed Gala, her team created jaw-dropping floral arrangements of popular characters, including Cat in the Hat, Wilbur, Eloise, and more – making the theme of the night really come to life.
“No one brings as much class and creativity to the table as Jenni,” said Betsy Findlay, director of special events (including the Gala) for Golisano Children’s Hospital. “It is always a joy to have her as a part of our team and to showcase her beautiful creations.”
Other events that have been enhanced by Wisteria creations are the annual Miracle Luncheon and Drive for Miracles Radiothon. Fitting with the spring weather, past luncheons were decorated with bright floral centerpieces, often consisting of plump gerbera daisies and nature accents.
“It is all about the kids,” said Jenni. “We are sure to use kid-inspired colors and try to add little things that could be of interest, like ladybugs or butterflies.”
Although arrangements are not as visible at Radiothon, they are, perhaps, even more meaningful. When supporters make special pledges, Wisteria bouquets are delivered to children currently in Golisano Children’s Hospital.
When she’s not hands-deep in creating beautiful floral designs, Jenni also volunteers at the annual Golisano Children’s Hospital Golf Tournament. She arrives bright and early, helping golfers with registration and any other task that is needed throughout the day.
“I love to be a part of anything that has to do with the children’s hospital,” Jenni said. “Whatever they need, I try to be of help.”
Jenni’s enthusiasm for her profession and support for our patients is remarkable and greatly appreciated. The hospital has gained a great deal from having her as a part of our team and we are, therefore, honored to recognize Jenni Ralph as this year’s Miracle Maker award winner for Outstanding Commitment by a Volunteer.