Give Kids The World Village – Where Happiness Inspires Hope

| October 9, 2013 | 1 Reply

Give Kids the World Village is tucked away in a regular neighborhood, but it is a magical place. Children with life threatening illnesses are treated to a week’s cost-free vacation that includes lodging, donated theme park tickets, meals and so much more that I can’t list it all here.  Since 1986, over 120,000 families have been welcomed at Give Kids the World Village. In 2012, they welcomed 7,337 families.

I recently had the opportunity to tour this wonderful place in Kissimmee, Florida near Walt Disney World. A visit here reminds you of what is truly important in your life – health and family.

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This wonderful Village was started by a remarkable man, Henri Landwirth, in 1989. Through the support of Henri’s colleagues in the hospitality industry and now many generous individuals, corporations, and businesses, families with life threatening illnesses have a place to forget about life for awhile. Give Kids the World has thought of everything for these deserving families.

Every day is a different holiday. Monday is always Halloween, Thursday is always Christmas.  The Village is decorated for these different holidays and there are nightly events and even gifts. There are events for the entire family.  The night I was there it was “Christmas.” Jack Frost was there to welcome us.

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We were treated to dinner in the Gingerbread House restaurant and were treated royally. The restaurant is staffed by volunteers.  Many groups and organizations provide the help in the restaurant. They are standing waiting to help you to your table with your delicious meal and will take the trays away when you are done!  No fuss, no bother, and it is free.

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You will notice all the stuffed animals around the room.  It hadn’t been designed that way but came about when a child wanted to leave her stuffed animal behind so she could come back and visit it.  All the donated animals are carefully stored and cataloged when a child returns for a visit.

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I also got to see the Villas where the families stay. They are beautiful and the kids get the master bedroom.

 

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It was heartwarming to see the employees of all the theme parks here in Orlando working together to make the events special.

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The Village has plenty of areas for the families to play and swim. Our guide told us a story about a little girl that had always wanted to swim with her dad in a pool.  The Village has a zero entry pool and special wheelchairs so this little girl was finally swim with her dad.  It is one of those things that most people take for granted but they were able to make a wish come true for this family!

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Peter Werner of the DISUnplugged has asked the Disney community to help raise $1 million dollars for this worthy charity. You can participate in our Power of 10 campaign in several ways.  If you could donate $10.00 and have 10 friends donate $10.00 we could raise the money in no time.  You can start small, and you can ask your company for a matching donation. You could also volunteer at the Village. Many people take time out of their vacation to Walt Disney World, Universal, Sea World and volunteer while they are here. Maybe you could help out with a donation from their wish list.

I have been lucky enough to visit many areas of the country this year at different Power of 10 events for Give Kids the World. If you asked the people that started these events if they would do it again, they would all say yes in a heartbeat!  They all get back so much personally by fundraising.  Give Kids the World says the average visit for a family costs $5000.  You can see below that several families will be able to experience this wonderful village as they deal with their life-threatening illnesses.  It’s priceless to these families to be able to forget about their health issues and can spend some quality family time creating precious memories.

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Please help us try and raise money for this wonderful place. You can join in the conversation on our Facebook page for the Power of 10.

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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

Kathy Werling discovered Walt Disney World later than most people but has made up for it. Living close to the theme parks hasn't gotten old yet for her. Kathy is an accomplished photographer and is always out finding new and different things to photograph in the Orlando theme parks. Kathy is also part of the Orlando DIS Unplugged Podcast team.
  • ChristianFronckowiak

    Great story and pictures, Kathy!