Day #49: Give with Give Kids The World in Kissimmee, FL

Today, we spent three hours learning about Give Kids The World. Neal McCord (Director of Facilities) retold the inspiring story of how GKTW began and took us on an amazing tour of the GKTW Village.

If you haven’t ever heard of the Give Kids The World Village, it is a “70-acre, non-profit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life- threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accommodations at its whimsical resort, donated attractions tickets, meals and more for a  week-long, cost-free fantasy vacation.”

We were in awe of their fantastic vision and the attention to detail at every turn. The village is supposed to be a place of hope and happiness. A place were families come together for a week without worrying over medical appointments or how to afford something special. It is all those things and more! We saw kids and adults bubbling with smiles as we walked throughout the property.

Children (3-18y/o) who have life-threatening medical conditions are able to go to the GKTW Village with their families when they are granted a “wish” by an organization like Make-A-Wish.

Over 50% of wishes are to visit Disney, but when families come to GKTW they are also given tickets to Sea World & Universal Studios. Not to mention free access to the GKTW Village attractions which include: a pool and water playground that rivals the best resorts around, a 7-hole mini golf course, two on-site restaurants, remote-control trains and boats, a miniature train, a pirate ship, a wheel-chair accessible carousel, and – my favorite – an ice cream parlor that is open from morning to night!

Give Kids The World stood out as an organization that ranks high on our list of places we have visited. Over 1,200 volunteer shifts are filled by people every week. GKTW is doing something remarkable and people believe in it. We saw it firsthand and were totally inspired.

One final thought – Please check out the organization’s Wish List. Perhaps your family, your business, your Scout troop, or your church could pull together some of those items?

You can see more of the story on Flickr.

Had you heard of GKTW? If you live in the Orlando area, we encourage you to take a tour and to consider volunteering regularly. They also have “Visiting Volunteer” opportunities for families, college students, & winter snowbirds.

Comments

  1. This place looks amazing! Thanks for including the link to their Wish List too. My girls and I are going to put together a package to mail off this week. My favorite part of the package is that we are including an adult sized pirate costume, because in cleaning out a closet this week I found several costumes I’d forgotten we have. I think it says something about our family that a) we have an adult sized pirate costume lying around, and b) we have an EXTRA adult sized pirate costume. Hmmm . . . at any rate, I’m sure GKTW will put them to much better use, and I loved that it was included on their wish list!

  2. This looks like a super cool place.

  3. That is a neat place – I’m amazed by the volunteer shifts they are able to fill each week! That does say something very, very good about GKTW!

  4. Heard about this place from a movie called “Letters to God.” Showed it to our small group one Wednesday night.

  5. What an amazing place. I am embarrassed to say that although I am familar with “Make-a-wish” and the many trips to Disney they provide, I never thought about the logistics of it all- where to stay,etc. What a special place for these often weary families.

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