Give Kids the World Village, Where Wishes Come True

IMGP2144The first time I visited Give Kids the World, I was volunteering with the Dawn Brancheau Foundation. We had finished working the 5K at SeaWorld, and then a group of us went over to clean the villas. I honestly didn’t know what the Village was, nor did I know the significance of their mission until being there and seeing the place first-hand.

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Mayor Clayton with a new-found friend.

Give Kids the World Village is a story-book facility where kids with life-threatening diseases can come and enjoy “just being kids.” Their parents don’t have to pay for lodging. It’s part of the wish. They don’t have to pay for food. It’s all there for them. Tickets to theme parks… are donated by the parks themselves, so each family can just relax, and enjoy the time they have together. They even have a Mayor who greets families and brings smiles every single day.
Recently the Village hosted their first ever Blogger Bash. I was happy to be on the committee to encourage as many local bloggers as possible to come and learn about the magical things they do. (After all, I’m a Florida native, and until a few years I had NO idea who they were or what their mission was. I felt it was my duty to get the word out as far and wide as I had [virtual] breath to do it!)

SeaWorld Orlando Park President Terry Prather

SeaWorld Orlando Park President Terry Prather

The evening was spent touring the facility and interacting with the amazing “Wish Families.” As the Blogger Bash was on a Thursday, it was Christmas. (It’s Christmas EVERY Thursday! And Halloween every Tuesday!) Jack Frost and a reindeer offered a warm welcome along with GKTW President, Pamela Landwirth and Mark Hoewing,
Public Relations Manager. There were also welcomes via video including SeaWorld’s Terry Prather. The special guest speaker was a father who experienced the Village first-hand when his family visited a few years ago. Sadly their son (who was a wish child) passed away not long after their visit. True inspirations, they turned sorrow into joy, and moved to Florida from Canada to support the village that meant so much to them personally.

2 Million volunteer hours and counting!

2 Million volunteer hours and counting!

After the tours and the meal at the Gingerbread House alongside families, the bloggers went home with a new respect for the work that is done. Quite a few people were ready to sign on the dotted line to become volunteers that very night.

I can’t think of a single person who has visited Give Kids the World Village who wasn’t touched, and inspired to be a part of their beautiful work. (I even wrote a song in their honor, I’ve been so moved by all that goes on there!)

Boston Rob,  four-time castaway on Survivor, celebrates Pirates and Princesses night at GKTW Village.

Boston Rob, four-time castaway on Survivor, celebrates Pirates and Princesses night at GKTW Village.

Central Florida bloggers have now joined the ranks of those who want to make a difference by being a part of Give Kids the World Village. Earlier this year it was the Hearts of Reality (including stars from Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, and more) and now our local influencers including Sparkly Nicole, Florida Plunge, MouseSteps, Central Florida Top 5 and Attractions Magazine to name but a few.

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Volunteers-Are-Us! Thanks to Real Kids Shades for your donation to Give Kids the World Village. (As modeled by Daniel in the front row!)

Thank you to these volunteers and future volunteers! (And a special thank you to my team, Volunteers-Are-Us-Rex, who helped clean villas this past weekend. You’re the best! Thanks Kevin, Bonnie, Shizelle, David, Miranda, James, Matt, Daniel and Calvin)

 

This is a “sponsored post.” Give Kids The World compensated me in the form of a meal while I toured their facility and a small Swag Bag. Regardless, I only recommend products, services, or organizations I personally believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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10 thoughts on “Give Kids the World Village, Where Wishes Come True

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    • Glad you’re going to be volunteering, too! If I lived closer I’d be there every week, LOL! See you at the next blogging event. Will you be at Spooktacular this Saturday at SeaWorld?

      • No, Unfortunately I will not be there. At this time we do not have passes to Sea World. Do they have any blogger events coming up?

      • I hope you’ll get the passes. It’s really a lot of fun. Every weekend in October kids can trick-or-treat. You should see the fabulous costumes they have of “cat fish” and sea witches, etc. Oh, and the sea dragons on roller blades are hilarious. And… LOL. (so much to mention!) As far as blogger events, the Spooktacular opening day one is all I’m aware of at present.

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