This week we had the extreme privilege to visit Orlando’s own Give Kids the World Village! From the moment we arrived to the second we left we were amazed with all they had to offer. Today we are going to handle our post a little different. As you may know my husband Mike now blogs with me. He is the mind behind all of the amazing Florida Fun content that has been coming your way. To be quite honest we couldn’t agree on who would get to write this post. The only natural solution is for both of us to write it for you and tell you all about the amazing organization that Give Kids The World Village is! You will read this post and then please come back this afternoon to check out Mike’s post.
What is Give Kids The World?
Give Kids The World was started because of a little girl who had a terminal illness. Her only wish was to visit the Orlando theme parks. However, it took too much time for the request to be approved for her to have all she would need to fulfill her wish. She passed away before her wish was fulfilled. Because of this, Give Kids The World was founded so that no child with a life threatening illness would ever go with their wish unfulfilled like this young girl’s was.
In 1989 the village was opened to give families a safe place to stay that would facilitate all the needs of this season of life. Today the village is over 70 acres and has 144 villas for families to stay in during their wish.
Give Kids The World Volunteers
I have to tell you about the volunteers at Give Kids the World. Never have I been so impressed with volunteers as I was on my visit to Give Kids the World. You can tell they really have the vision of this magical place and are there to make this week the best week ever for the children. In fact, one of the amazing volunteers actually stood in the parking lot with me at the end of the night and spent an additional fifteen minutes or so telling me more of the amazing things they do. He really loved Give Kids The World. Honestly, I wish I could let him write this post for you. His passion for this amazing place was so obvious.
What do I love about Give Kids The World?
I have really tried to figure out how to fit everything into this post and I just can’t fit it all. They just do so much amazing stuff there! I decided that I will give you my highlights and then Mike can bring you his in a follow up post.
- The Stars – Pictured above or only a small representation of the stars in the Tower of Stars. Each wish child who comes to Give Kids The World has their own star. These stars are placed in the Tower of Stars and throughout the castle. The child and their family are able to see exactly where their star is placed. Whether or not the child beats their illness the family will always know that their child has a star at Give Kids The World.
- The Villas – Each family gets to stay in a villa that is specifically designed for children with special needs. They even have a sign out front that says, “Welcome Home” with the family’s name. For one week, this is home. Each villa has a master bedroom for the kids and a smaller bedroom for the parents. It also has a full kitchen and a family room. I even heard from one of the volunteers that a gift is dropped off every night in the villa for the wish child and all siblings.
- The Siblings – Another amazing thing about Give Kids The World is their approach to the siblings. Not only does the wish child experience amazing gifts, fun, and experiences, so do the siblings. Everything that Give Kids The World does for the wish child is done for the siblings as well. This means when the characters come from the theme parks to get one on one time with the children the siblings get time with them as well. This also means that if one child gets ice cream for breakfast, they all do.
- The Pool – Give Kids The World has a zero entry pool. It was so neat to see the pool wheelchairs. The pool is actually designed so that the children can go in special wheel chairs made for the pool and enjoy the pool with their family. For some of these children this will be the first time they have ever been in a pool.
- The Food Options – Not only does Give Kids The World partner with Perkins to make sure every family has a homestyle breakfast and dinner during their stay, they also have a place on site where pizza can be ordered in, and an all day ice cream shop where kids can have ice cream all day long if they want.
- The Carousel – There is a handicap accessible wheelchair with spots for wheelchairs so children of every ability can experience the fun of a carousel.
- The Holidays – During a week at Give Kids The World children will celebrate Christmas complete with a family dinner and celebrate Halloween complete with trick or treating. Some of these children may not make their next Christmas so Give Kids The World gives families these amazing memories. They even bring out Santa and gifts.
- A story of a sweet boy – Cue the tears. I seriously can’t type this with a straight face. We were told the story of a sweet little boy who visited the village. His favorite blanket was missing. People were looking everywhere for it. One of the volunteers asked the boy where he saw it last. His answer, “I threw it into the clouds in the chapel so it would be in Heaven when I get there.” This tells you just how real the magic of Give Kids The World is. It’s the kind of place where you believe you can send your blanket to heaven to wait for you and know it will be there.