Today is our last day volunteering at Give Kids the World and we have had a great week so far. For those of you who don’t know, Give Kids the World is located in Orlando, Florida and this non profit organization provides children with life threatening illnesses, and their families, a week full of fun, excitement and hope. The organization provides the family lodging (in their village), passes for all amusement parks and transportation. The Give Kids the World village is full of exciting venues, places for families to eat and complete happiness. Children are sponsored by wish organizations then sent to the Give Kids the World village for a week where families do not have to pay or worry about anything; they just need to have a good time.
We started volunteering at the village on Monday night and have volunteered every morning and night shift since Monday. The volunteering we do at the village is necessary to keep the village thriving and the children smiling. We served children ice cream at the Ice Cream Palace; where children can get ice cream all day, even for breakfast! We polished little girl’s nails and gave airbrush tattoos at the La Ti Da Spa. We helped with operations at the village by operating the Welcome Hut and keeping the Hula Hut in stock, which is the place volunteers can go for food and refreshments. We delivered pizzas to the family’s villas, monitored the carousel and greeted families. Last night, the children of the village participated in Village Idol; the Give Kids the World rendition of American Idol. Children sang and dance on stage, with huge smiles beaming from their faces and so much energy and enthusiasm. We helped set up the event, keep things organized and even performed on stage with the kids. It was definitely a fun night for everyone. Tonight we will be participating in the village wide Winter Wonderland parade.
Through all of our volunteering, reflecting and conversations with each other as well as people at the village, we truly learned a lot. We gained a better understanding of how a non profit organization works and can now comprehend the amount of planning, work, time and money is needed for an organization, like Give Kids the World, to prosper and succeed. We formed special relationships with children and families from all across the world. We shared our stories with them and the families were very open and willing to share their stories with us. These interactions helped us understand the appreciation these families have for Give Kids the World and gave us a glimpse into what their lives at home look like. We created a very special relationship with one family who has an adorable daughter named Abby who has a brain tumor. The family is at the village with Abby and their other two daughters for the week. We spent time with the family, laughed with little girls and learned Abby’s story. The family was extremely open to share and appreciated the volunteering we did for the village. To learn more about Abby and the family’s experience at the village, check out their blog: www.whenabbysmiles.blogspot.org.
This trip has allowed us to explore many different things about ourselves and about life. We have created new relationships at the village and created new friendships within our group. Our volunteering has opened our eyes to the challenges families with life threatening illnesses face and the importance of giving to these families, children and Give Kids the World.
Tomorrow we are off to Universal for the day and then we will be celebrating Shabbat at our house in Davenport. We are looking forward to a delicious salmon meal, intriguing discussion and time to rest.
Sending you some sun from Florida,
The Give Kids the World gang