I'm a proud volunteer and I look forward to the time I get to spend at GKTW. The Village is run like a well oiled machine with lots of happy, smiling faces and friendly people. An amazing blessing in the heart of Central Florida!
My family and I volunteer by our adoption of 2 villas (we clean & landscape multiple times a year plus put up/take down holiday decorations) and I additionally volunteer my social media expertise promoting GKTW Village. We see firsthand how much joy the place brings to families. They share their heartfelt joy every time we meet them and are so impressed with the entire operation. I've not yet met a single soul who has been there who isn't blown away by the generosity of spirit reflected by the volunteers and staff. Every family I've met, likewise, is overwhelmed with acceptance and love.
There's another place in the Orlando area that's considered the "Most Magical Place on Earth." With all due respect to the mouse, I'd have to disagree and proclaim that it's REALLY Give Kids The World Village. While families do enjoy tickets to WDW, SeaWorld, Universal and more, the magic is in the day-to-day stay at The Village where every child is special, and for one week mom and dad can relax for just a bit. They'll deal with their child's life-threatening illness all-too-soon when they're home again. But for just one week they have Give Kids The World Village.
There is only one word, that said it all for me and that is HUMBLE!! You cannot go or leave The Village without a heart full of love. God Bless Henry.
I have traveled with a small group from Massachusetts to Give Kids the World for three years in a row to volunteer in memory of our friend who was a guest there. There truly is no place in the world like it. I have met the most incredible people with the most inspiring stories, from other fellow volunteers to these amazing families and of course, the children. It is the greatest privilege to donate my time to this organization.
Give Kids the World strives to put a smile on every child's face, to make everyone feel included and relaxed and cared for, and to ensure that they have a magical and memorable trip. As a volunteer, it is so humbling to be able to serve this mission for such deserving children and families. Even for me, I have made some of my closest friends and fondest memories on my volunteer trips there--and the experience isn't even about me. The way Give Kids the World makes families feel welcomed and loved is unlike any other place, it takes away the pain, stress, and worries they typically feel and replaces those feelings with so much joy, many laughs, and lots of smiles. I have had parents tell me how grateful they are to have volunteers like us, and to have a place like Give Kids the World to put a spark back in their child's eye. But in all reality, we are even more grateful for the opportunity to be there and to be a part of their memories.
I cannot wait to return in the summer of 2016 for our fourth volunteer trip. It's so terribly difficult to leave every time because Give Kids the World creates an environment that is a joy and honor to work in and a magical and memorable place to visit. I only wish that I was closer and could volunteer more often and that more people could know all that Give Kids the World has to offer.
I found out about Give Kids The World through one of my friends from high school and it changed my life. I went by myself so it really gave me the chance to connect with other volunteers and also the kids and the parents. There are so many activities for the kids to do and the parents are just happy to see their kids happy and laughing and smiling. The best memory I have with my first visit was when a little girl made a drawing and gave it to me because she liked how I sat down with her and talked to her while she drew. This place gives kids fighting for their life a sense of normalcy but it also encourages them to fight. This place shows them what they have to fight for and let's them know it's not just their family and friends that has their back. It's everyone.
After volunteering 10 years for this truly one of a kind place, there is nothing like the magic here. The most common wish in the world is to visit Orlando. Give Kids the World is a village that makes these wishes come true. I've seen pure joy here.
Smiles. It's about the joyful smiles. I don't know the story that each Wish Kid could tell, if asked. What I do know is that when I give a little encouragement, a smile, a friendly voice, what I get back is...priceless ! For some Wish Kids, it's harder to open up, but once they do - it's all worth it. For a short time, kids get to be kids; parents and siblings get to relax; they're allowed to forget some of their normal worries, and have some fun. It seems we don't get over to the Give Kids The World Village to volunteer often enough, but when we do, I feel lucky to have helped spread smiles. Whether it's Ice Cream for Breakfast or a few rides on the carousel, the GKTW Village is a place, and a team, that wants to make a difference for every Wish Kid and their family. I wish I had learned of the Give Kids The World Village sooner.
I volunteered with GKTW back in 94-95 when I was an undergrad working on the WDW co-op program. It's still to this day the most gratifying and memorable volunteer work I've had the privilege to be a part of. The Village and staff were wonderful, and seeing first hand what GKTW did for the guests who came - not just the kids who were ill but their siblings and parents - hard to measure that kind of magic. Keep on truckin' and God Bless GKTW
My daughter was a "Wish Kid" in 1999, when she was 6 years old. Our family of nine (9 !) had a magical experience which was quite literally "life changing". Through the years, we support GKTW events when we can, and were HONORED to volunteer last summer.
To see our sick little girl, now a 21 year old college student, sharing the magic and joy she felt herself as a child, with other families was beyond "awe inspiring".
We hope to be able to travel back to FL (we live in PA) soon and volunteer again.
EVERY family we spoke to while volunteering was happy, hopeful, and joyful. When they learned my daughter was "an alum", they often broke down crying. It is SO HARD to live with the reality that your child may not become an adult. Seeing our Christine working as a volunteer and sharing her love for GKTW still... after so many years and so much "medicine", gave many of them hope for the future of their own families.
We are so, SO, grateful to GKTW for the opportunity to share our time, treasure, talent, and wisdom. xoxo
This is a magical, spiritual, place.
Keep On Dancing*
I love this place! I would live here if they let me! I have been with a church group 2 times already and we leave for our third trip on October 2nd. I have also been twice with just my husband.
I cannot even tell you what a wonderful place this is to volunteer at, words just do not suffice. We live in Maryland and recently bought a vacation home in Florida, so several days of volunteering is a must before or after each trip down. You will not be sorry you took the time to volunteer here.
Everytime here has been a life changing experience for me.
I volunteered at GKTW for the first but not the last time last year, what a wonderful experience, so much so that I'm returning in a few weeks for another three weeks. I am English and live in the UK but am more than happy to pay my flights, hire a car and rent a villa to volunteer at this wonderful place. The whole experience was amazing, the families were all so lovely and the happiness that is shared by everyone is unbelievable. I had such fun volunteering at the Village and made lots of new friends, other volunteers and guest families too. If anyone is wondering about volunteering at GKTW, my advice is just do it, you will gain so much.
I so wish I lived in or near Orlando so I could volunteer at GKTW all the time! Last year I turned 50, my husband asked what I wanted for my BIG birthday. The only thing I could think of was to go to GKTW to volunteer. So that's what we did. Our experience was awesome! This place truly is the most Magical Place! We went back to volunteer in January & will be there again in November! You can volunteer while visiting the area, just get your paperwork done ahead of time! Grateful for our experience & can't wait to get back there. It's an experience I have shared over & over again. The volunteers or Angels as we are called there, are warm. & welcoming. Thank you GKTW for all that you do!!
After visiting GKTW with my son as a wish child, I can't thank them enough for making our trip so amazing. It was so much more than a holiday. From the meet and greet at the airport where we were told to 'pick a car, which colour would you like' to breakfast with helpers to carry your tray, every moment here makes you feel special. We were thrilled to be able to return a few years later and volunteer ourselves. It is an amazing experience that will truly humble you and there is nowhere like it. I can't recommend it enough.
As a student studying child life I have had opportunities to volunteer in many different enviornments, but my favorite volunteer sight is Give Kids the World! They are so appreciative of there volunteers and truly care for every single child and family member who enters the village. I was touched by the magic that the village provides for every family by going above and beyond to make this the perfect, stress free experience. I am always looking for excuses to return to the Orlando area so I can experience the magic of volunteering at Give Kids the World again.
I was lucky enough to be able to go down to Give Kids the World for a week and volunteer. As soon as I got there I knew this place was an amazing place. I was able to meet some of the families that were there on there wish trip and with talking to all of them there was one thing that they all were saying, This was a place for their child not to have to worry about being sick or having to worry about going to the doctor, for that week they just got to be kids. For a lot of these families a trip like this would be out of the question because there are so many medical bills. I am so fortunate to have gotten to go down to this magical place, and I cant wait until my next trip down there to volunteer again!
I didn't want to go on the trip with my college, Pfeiffer, and tried to get out of it. I went anyways and my life was changed. I was humbled and fell in love with GKTW and all the children. I have found my dream job and now want to come back here for the rest of my life.
I was lucky enough to volunteer one evening here with some coworkers. Just setting foot on the property was uplifting-we all knew this was a special place indeed. After a tour and some background information, we were let loose in the Ice Cream Parlor. And what fun we had-milkshakes, sundaes, banana splits. Ice cream for breakfast, anyone? Families laughing, kids trying to make up their minds what flavor, how many scoops. We were busy, we worked hard, but boy it was the very best volunteer experience of my life, and I have done many. Saw many families that evening, but I never knew which child in the family was ill. And I didn't want to know. Because that is what is truly wonderful about Give Kids The World-a week to come to a magical place, with a delight at every turn; houses and buildings guaranteed to make the Grinch smile, a staff that does everything possible to make it the trip of a lifetime. When I say it was a life changing experience, it was. I literally cannot talk to others about this place without tearing up, that is how impressed I was with everything. I moved too far away to volunteer now, but I wish when I retire I could go live here and help every single day.
I volunteered here over a year ago and it was the best experience I ever had! I was in florida for my annual Disney vacation and I decided the help out. I heard about Give Kid the World by accident , I was looking through you tube videos and I would watch make a wish videos and some of them mention make a wish village. So I decided to look into it and I was in awwww!!!! This village is amazing!! My volunteer position was to drive tractor that looked like a train and I drove around the village many times picking up wish families and bringing them to their destination with in the village , I saw many smiling faces from the kids, parents and the biggest smiles were from the volunteers. This place is magical !!
Give Kids the World is a magical place. Some say that Disney is the most magical place on Earth, but I strongly disagree with that. There's no other place like GKTW. This 70 acre storybook village gives kids that are battling illness HOPE. It gives them a week of pure bliss. These children make life long memories at GKTW and it is something they will never forget. I've never seen a child that wasn't running around with a smile on their face. Give Kids the world is not a place that can be described and summed up in words. It's a place that you have to physically go to in order to experience this magic. Words just do not do it justice. Give Kids the World is the best non for profit organization I have ever come across.
it took a Caribbean Cruise and dynamic dinner table mates to introduce us to the Magical Place called "Give Kids the World Village". Since that time we've had the honor and pleasure of volunteering at GKTW. The staff makes us volunteers feel welcome and important, that is good. However the families we are there to welcome and make them feel at home give us so much more than we ever expected. My husband and I have done almost everything, ice cream for breakfast, the carousel, Gingerbread House for breakfast or dinner, Katie's Kitchen, train rides, gift givers, we were even pool attendants. The magic is anywhere you look. We are "snowbirds" and when we are up north we miss our times at the Village. We can't wait to get back to Florida to volunteer. Henry founded this awe inspiring place to provide a trip of a lifetime for those families dealing with devastating illnesses, does he know what he provided to those of us who are fortunate enouogh to volunteer? God Bless the families and God Bless Henry and family. Not only are we Volunteers, we are donors as well.