Every Friday I like to feature a charity or organization in what I like to call “Pay-it-Forward Friday”. Today’s organization is Give Kids The World. A 70 acre not-for-profit resort located in Orlando, Florida.
Henri Landwirth, Founder
Give Kids the World is the brainchild of Henri Landwirth a hotelier who often fielded requests to help sick children fulfill their dreams of visiting the Orlando Them parks. In one instance, Henri tried to assist a young girl with Leukemia by granting her a complimentary stay at the hotel but she passed away before any of her other travel requests were granted. It was this girl, Amy, who inspired Henri Landwirth to create Give Kids the World.
Give Kids the World Village
At first Henri used his connections in the industry to gain access to hotels and parks in the area. Soon it became clear that a dedicated space would better serve the children and their families. In 1989, the organization opened the Give Kids The World Village. The village complete with 144 villas is specifically designed for children with special needs. The organization keeps the village running through the help of donations from individuals and corporations as well as countless numbers of volunteers. 127,000 families have benefited from this program to date.
How can you help?
The Give Kids the World Village requires volunteers to fill 1,200 shifts ever week. Local residents, snowbirds and corporations all get involved in helping out. Since most of the families are there to visit the parks, volunteers are most needed from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm. The list of volunteer opportunities is endless.
If you are going to be visiting the Orlando area and are interested in volunteering, Give Kids The World welcomes visiting families to give some of their vacation time to volunteer. Give Kids The World asks families to visit their volunteer application page at least two months before arriving and fill in the online form. Adults will then be asked to do a background check and families with kids as young as 12 will be sent a list of volunteer positions they can fill. A volunteer co-ordinator from Give Kids The World works with each family to determine which time slot fits bests into their vacation plans.
Want to donate?
If you aren’t headed to Orlando any time soon but would still like to support Give Kids The World provides a unique wish list on their site of things like AA batteries and unopened bags of candy that can be sent to them at Support Services, 210 South Bass Road, Kissimmee, FL 34746. Give Kids The World also accepts financial donations. A donation of $25 will give one family unlimited ice cream and toppings for their week long stay. A donation of $100 will help Give Kids The World give families a reason to celebrate each night of their stay as they cram in Halloween, Christmas (complete with snow) and Birthdays into different nights during the one week stay at the resort.
Don’t want to donate? Spread The Word!
If you are not in interested in donating, the best way to help is to spread the word. Keep Give Kids The World in mind and when you hear of families looking to help or heading to Orlando send them this post or the direct link to the organization.
Pay It Forward Friday
Do you know an organization that should be featured in Pay It Forward Friday? I’m always looking to help spread the word on ways families can help other families, locals, environmental groups or animal groups while on vacation. Leave a comment on this post or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: All photos in this post were provided by Give Kids The World