Last week I visited one of my favorite places in the world. Give Kids The World Village hosted a Blogger Bash, schooling us ‘Awareness Angels’ on some heart-warming details. I’m excited to report back to you with information that I’m amped to share. This incredible place gives me such strong hope in humanity. I know that if you take some time to get to know Give Kids The World Village it will also inspire you..
What is Give Kids The World Village?
‘A wish-fulfilling, fanciful, carefree retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses, and their families. Give Kids The World Village is a 70-acre, nonprofit “storybook” Village located near Central Florida’s most beloved attractions. Here, children and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations, complete with accommodations in the Village’s whimsical villas, transportation, donated attraction tickets, meals, and much more. At the Village, these precious children learn that dreams really do come true, as they and their families are immersed in joy, hope, and non-stop fun for a few unforgettably happy days. Since 1986, the Village has welcomed more than 115,000 families from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. This extraordinary, life-changing experience is Give Kids The World’s gift, made possible only through the generosity of dedicated corporations and countless individuals.’
This place exists because one man thought it should. Henry Landwirth, a hotelier and holocaust survivor, would allow families in need like these to stay at his hotel when they asked out of the kindness of his heart. There was one time when a little girl didn’t make it. The rest of Amy’s travel plans took too long to arrange and she passed before the trip. That’s what inspired Mr. Landwirth to build the Village. There needed to be a place where children with life-threatening illnesses, wishing to visit Central Florida, could go as soon as possible. Now families can make reservations in emergency situations and be there in as little as 24 hours. He bought the land and everything since then has been donated. Restaurants at the Village are sponsored by Perkins and Boston Market. Volunteers adopt Villas and clean them. People show up every day to spend their time driving a train ride, operating a carousel and offering smiles to families who really need happiness. The slogan at Give Kids The World Village is ‘Where Happiness Inspires Hope‘ because it’s not intended to be a final destination. It’s not uncommon for Village alumni to recover. Hope is the thing with feathers, as Emily Dickinson taught us, and it’s found in this Village.
My Connection to GKTW
I first heard of Give Kids The World Village from other Disney fan friends in 2010. When I moved to Orlando permanently in 2011, I was so excited to be a part of this magical place. I began volunteering regularly painting nails in the spa, helping little guests get their special stars and much more. Spending time at GKTW fills my heart with appreciation for life and loved ones.
Last year, I put together a fundraising team for the Gingerbread Run, a race that benefits the Village. The wonderful people of Team Sparkle raised $3800+ together and I’m so thankful.
I’ve learned recently that a few people I know were once guests of the Village. I always thought of the folks at the Village as strangers in need. It really touched my heart to find out not all of them are strangers.
Ways You Can Help
It truly takes a village. If you’re inspired by this place, I recommend that you tell someone about it. I feel joy every time I share the GKTW story and awareness is so important. The more that people know about it and are touched by it, the more secure it will be because…
This non-profit is funded by donations! It costs about $5,000 for a family of five to enjoy a week at the Village. I’m currently fundraising for GKTW and you can donate here. Any amount is greatly appreciated. A cup of coffee’s worth, spare change, or what you would have spent on lunch out this weekend. If everyone that read this donated just one of those small amounts, together we’d make a tremendous difference.
If you live in Central Florida or will be visiting the area you can volunteer here and be an ‘Angel’. That’s what GKTW calls the folks who so generously donate their time to help the Village. You get to choose what you do when you volunteer too and there’s something for everyone.
You can join me on Team Sparkle at the Give Kids The World Village Gingerbread Run on Saturday November 2nd, 2013. It’s only $25 to participate and you can do as much or as little fundraising as you’d like. Every little bit helps and you’ll be very surprised to see what happens if you just tell your friends and family your helping this magical place.