Village Alumni Connect, Share, and Laugh at GKTW Family Reunions
They danced with Mayor Clayton and Stellar the Star Fairy. They made one-of-a-kind ice cream sundaes with an avalanche of toppings. And they filled hollow stars with glitter to make sparkling necklaces, proudly showing off their creations to beaming — sometimes tearful — parents and grandparents.
With so much to do at Give Kids The World Family Reunions, kids and families might think they’d been transported back to their happy place — the Village that served as home-away-from-home during their wish trips.
To mark its 30th anniversary, Give Kids The World took the party on the road and invited former wish kids and their families to reconnect and celebrate their time at the Village. Thousands of alumni families came together in Philadelphia, Rhode Island, Atlanta, and Chicago for a taste of the Village in their hometowns.
The party rooms were decked out with huge images of Village icons such as Towne Hall, the House of Hearts and the Ice Cream Palace.
Families reminisced about the magical week spent at the Village, where they put aside doctor visits and hospital stays to just have fun. The reunions allowed families to bond with others facing similar challenges, share their stories of strength and hope and just let loose.
Sandra Calixto and her son David, who visited the Village almost two years ago, turned out for the celebration in Chicago. They had a blast crafting, drawing and talking with other Village alumni.
“We definitely felt part of the GKTW family again,” Sandra said. “And we’re looking forward to being able to visit the Village again someday to see David’s star. We can’t wait for that day.”
A series of these fun-filled Family Reunions are being planned now for the fall. So stay tuned! Maybe a reunion will be coming to your town soon.
De Lage Landen Financial Services Pays it Forward
at Give Kids The World
Give Kids The World Village is a 79-acre resort, and in just one day volunteers from De Lage Landen (DLL) managed to see just about every inch of the property. The global provider of financial solutions is a corporate sponsor of Give Kids The World, and in June, 500 DLL volunteers visited the Village to help make a difference.
Much like the families who visit the Village, the DLL volunteers came from around the world and from across the U.S.
DLL donated $10,000 to the Village in the form of new welcome mats for all 144 of its villas. The new mats, featuring Mayor Clayton, were personally delivered to each of the villas, which also received cleaning and beautification from DLL volunteers.
Other members of the DLL team spent the day at Bob’s Sparkleberry Nature Trail, where they added an extra sparkle by staining the fence along the walkway. Volunteers also spent time at the Castle of Miracles, helping our guests make their very own magic pillows.
The DLL volunteers’ visit reminds us that just one day can make a lasting impact in the lives of the families we welcome to the Village. Thank you for your teamwork and support, DLL!
A Wish Trip, a Paver, and a Father’s Love
In 2015, Mason Kelley and his family came to the Village courtesy of our friends at Make-A-Wish Georgia.
It was perfect time for a trip. Mason had been fighting hard against his illness, and he and his family badly needed a break from doctor appointments and treatments. For one full week, Mason’s days were filled with fun, family and relaxation.
The family had such a good time, they decided to commemorate their visit by buying a paving stone for the Avenue of Angels. That’s not unusual. Hundreds of families do so every year.
But when it was time to install the paver, Mason’s father Brian did something we’ve seen just a few times before. He asked to install the stone himself!
So when the paver was delivered, Brian drove 550 miles from the family’s home in Georgia, traveling all night to revisit the place where his son had experienced so much happiness and hope. There, in front of Amberville Train Station, he carefully placed a paver marking Mason’s magical wish trip:
Today, Mason is doing well, and his paver serves as a concrete reminder of the connection between a father, his son and the precious time they shared at Give Kids The World Village.
Mickey Maniacs Visit Village for Unveiling of Cole’s Corner
Once again, the Mickey Maniacs have outdone themselves.
This dedicated band of supporters from Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, donated another $83,500 to the Village when they visited in May. Over the last 17 years, the Maniacs have raised more than $750,000 to help the families we serve!
The Mickey Maniacs were at the Village for the unveiling of “Cole’s Corner,” the redesigned playroom in the House of Hearts. Filled with colorful toys and kid-friendly furniture — supplied by the Maniacs — it’s a great space for our special guests to play and relax. It is named in memory of Cole Guilbeau, a Lafourche Parish boy diagnosed soon after birth with a genetic skin disorder. He passed away last year.
The Mickey Maniacs joined Cole’s family and friends for the dedication of “Cole’s Corner” and for the installation of a paving stone honoring his memory. It sits just outside the House of Hearts on the Avenue of Angels.
Wish Kid Titan Helps the Gift-Giving Fairy
Give Kids The World relies on its volunteers — called “Angels” — to create happiness for the wish families who visit. Many Alumni families return to the Village to volunteer, but one of our recent guests couldn’t wait to help make the wishes of others come true.
Titan, a caring wish kid from Hawaii, requested as part of his wish to be an Angel for the day to deliver gifts and happiness across the Village.
During his June trip to Give Kids The World, the curious 9-year-old took note of the surprise presents the gift-giving fairy left at his villa each day while he was away enjoying Walt Disney World Resort. The gift-giving fairy gives presents to each arriving family and delivers daily gifts to every villa.
Titan thought that looked like terrific fun, so he asked if he could help the gift-giving fairy bring presents to other children. Give Kids The World staff members outfitted Titan with a pair of blue wings, and off he went, delivering gifts and lots of smiles to families visiting the Village.
His fellow Angels were impressed with Titan’s positive attitude and big heart.
“It was an honor to give gifts with him,” said gift-giving volunteer Natalie. “He’s such a sweet boy.”
Titan handed out CANDY LAND board games, Mayor Clayton plush toys and more. The gift-giving fairy was so grateful for his kindness and help. Thank you, Titan, for thinking of others!
Serving Up Smiles at the Scoops of Hope Ice Cream Party
Among the many magical venues at Give Kids The World Village, the Ice Cream Palace may be the sweetest of all. Volunteers serve delicious ice cream every day from 7:30 a.m. — 9:30 p.m., inviting families to enjoy a sundae for any — or every — meal.
Many wish families continue to celebrate and support Give Kids The World while enjoying ice cream by hosting Scoops of Hope events. Scoops of Hope is a grass-roots awareness and fundraising campaign, and on Friday, July 15, the Village hosted its own event to celebrate National Ice Cream Month.
The Peppermint Table at Towne Hall was full of smiles, fun activities and, of course, plenty of ice cream. Guests stopped by to scoop up cones and sundaes on their way to daily theme park adventures.
Wish kid London balanced her vanilla cone as she smiled and added her name to a Scoops of Hope card to hang in the window. The sugary start was just the beginning of an exciting day that included a trip to Walt Disney World and a chat with Princess Tiana.
“This visit has been wonderful, and this place never stops surprising us,” said London’s mother, Arleneia.
The morning surprise was made even sweeter with visits from Mayor Clayton, Ms. Merry, Princess Frostine, Princess Lolly and Murphy, who were eager to sign autographs, share hugs and pose for photos with guests.
Give Kids The World President and CEO Pamela Landwirth greeted guests with smiles and served ice cream throughout the morning. Later that weekend, she celebrated National Ice Cream Day on ABC7 Chicago.
The Scoops of Hope event sprinkled a little extra fun onto everyone’s day, and brought smiles to the faces of children and their families.
This year, Scoops of Hope has raised $19,000, but there’s still plenty of time to chip in! To learn more about Scoops of Hope and donate to help us create more memories, visit scoopsofhope.org.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
A creative mac-n-cheese cooking competition to determine the tastiest mac-n-cheese in Orlando. Learn more.
Boston Market Coupon Books
Now through Sunday, August 21, 2016
Boston Market continues to support Give Kids The World Village through its 2016 summer coupon book campaign. For a $1 donation, customers can receive a coupon book with over $29 in savings. Learn more.
Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort
Poolside Beach Party & BBQ
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Get ready to make a splash at the 19th Annual Poolside Beach Party & BBQ hosted by the Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort! The event will include attractions, children’s activities, live music, and more. Learn more.
Give Kids The World Village will participate in the 19th Annual Columbia Restaurant Community Harvest. During September, Columbia Restaurant Group will donate 5% of all guest checks to the nonprofit organization of their choice. Learn more.
Pancake Day at Perkins Restaurant & Bakery
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Perkins serves up smiles every day, but on September 24, participating locations will offer free pancakes! Enjoy a short stack of buttermilk pancakes free of charge and donate to Give Kids The World Village.
Black & White Gala
Saturday, September 24, 2016
A night of gourmet food and world-class entertainment benefiting Give Kids The World Village. Learn more.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Give Kids The World’s signature race allows participants to walk, run or roll past a magic castle, a snoring tree, the world’s largest CANDY LAND game and more. Learn more.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
The 6th Annual GumboPalooza is the one and only gumbo event benefiting Give Kids The World Village. Join in the fun with all-you-can-eat gumbo, and vote for the best dish! Learn more.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Celebrate generosity with your friends, family and favorite charities. #GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. Learn more.
Thursday, January 5 – Sunday, January 8, 2017
When you register to run in the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, you are raising money to fund dream vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses from all over the world. Learn More