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.