We are all set up with our volunteer times for Give Kids The World when we go on vacation to Florida. They organize their shifts into smaller 3-5 hour segments and we are doing two short ones back to back. The first looks to be assisting in some capacity for a Disney character meet and greet and the other is in one of their many food service outlets.
Give Kids The World not only hosts American families but also families from around the world, so if you are multi-lingual and are looking for a way to give back while on vacation there are opportunities to use those skills. Over the years they have hosted over 160, 000 families from all 50 states and 76 countries.
Give Kids the World was founded by Henri Landwirth, an amazing inspirational human and a five year survivor of concentration camps during World War II. Knowing how hard a traumatic childhood event can be, Henri opened the Village with help from friends inside the Hotel and Tourism industries in 1986 on 31 acres in central Florida and it has grown over the years to 84 acres.
Henri had owned the Starlight Motel in Cocoa Beach where he hosted the Mercury 7 astronauts including future GKTW board member John Glenn. Later he would own a hotel in Orlando where he would occasionally host children with life threatening illnesses and their families. Unfortunately, one child, who Henri had secured a place to stay for, succumbed to her illness before all the other arrangements could be sorted out for her to come down.
This loss spurred Henri into developing GKTW and a child and their family can be hosted with 24 hours notice, free of charge. The families are provided with tickets and trasportation to area attractions and there are many places to play on property, since the grounds are a mini theme park. There are several places to eat including an ice cream parlor that opens at 7:30 in the morning, because if the ill child wants to have ice cream for breakfast, they should have ice cream for breakfast. The child can also elect to just relax in their room if they are not feeling up to going out and their family can get distractions that they also could use.
Other onsite things for the kids include spa days with make overs into princesses and pirates, talent shows, and just watching a movie in their theater.