Magic Is When Dreams Become Wishes… and Wishes Become Reality by Guest Bloggers Uriah and Denise Hodgson
Ever sit back and wondered what kind of Magic you could create if you had the chance. I mean sure we can all visit Disney World and see Magic happen, but what if you could be a part of the Magic for a someone else. What if there was a way for you to make Dreams Come True, would you do it?
Well there is! There is a magical place not far from the gates of Walt Disney World, just around the bend from Universal and Sea World that is a place where dreams become wishes and wishes become reality. A village where the mayor is a rabbit and happiness abounds. A Magical place where you can make a difference, and where you can make dreams come true. But before we tell you how the Magic works or how you can become a volunteer let us tell you about a wish. So grab your tissues and read of the tale of a little girl and great man.
The year is 1986 and Amy, a little girl who had leukemia had only one wish to visit Orlando and the amusement parks. That is where Henri Landwirth came into play, for he had several time granted these wishes and gladly obliged. But sadly the time to make her wish come true took way too long to grant and as the days turned to weeks and then months and Amy soon passed away her wish never granted. But one man’s heart was forever changed that day and Henri vowed that no child would ever go without their wish being granted again. This is where the story of Give Kids The World started. A Orlando area business man Henri Landwirth decided then that the world would be different for these special children and he was determined to make it happen. He contacted friends in the hospitality industry including WDW, Universal and Sea World and asked them for help. He told them his vision and his reason. He said this would be a place where for no cost children with life threatening illnesses and their families could come and their Wishes and Dreams could become reality. He called his vision… “Give Kids The World”.
That was 28 years ago and well things have grown. Now at over 70-acres, this village style resort complete with over 144 Villa accommodations, entertainment attractions, whimsical venues, and fun specifically designed for children with special needs. “Give Kids The World has welcomed over 132,000 families from all over the USA and 74 countries around the world to stay for a week.” And each and every day new families arrive in this wondrous place and that takes some serious work from the staff, and nearly 15,000 active volunteers, who work around the clock making Wishes come true.
But wait what is this magical place? Well it is a place where kids can have ice cream for breakfast, ride a merry-go-round into the wee hours of the night and become a King or Queen for just one night. Yes a place where it is all about them. Where everyday they awake in the magic, and return to find new goodies awaiting them in their personal villa. Where a pirate ship rests and the dinosaurs play golf, and when you are ready the world’s largest game of Candy Land awaits all who want to play. In this place children can have fun without worrying about doctor visits and the like that normally fills their days. While Elmer the sleeping tree keeps watch over the village families enjoy a respite from everyday life. Yes, this is a village of Dreams for special children and it is also a place for you.
Really? A place that you can become part of? You bet see they are always looking for a few good people to become part of their team. People like you who wish to take sometime from daily life and volunteer to make Magic come to life. Oh wait before you go running off to become a special hero you need to get some info. So slow down and keep reading… Before you can open your heart and volunteer you must complete an online application. But fear not it’s very easy and takes only a little bit of your time to change the life of a special child forever. So to start please visit the volunteer section of GKTW website at http://www.gktw.org/volunteer and from here you’ll see it’s pretty easy to be a Magic Maker
Give Kids The World has all sorts of positions that volunteers fill each and every day. These include helping serve meals in the Gingerbread Palace, and in Amberville Station where volunteers help families, play with kids and their families, monitoring the play areas, and checking in and out games and fishing poles. They also provide train rides on the JJ Express and assist guests in the Dino Putt area as well.
If you’re more mechanically minded I.E. electrical and vehicle maintenance than Give Kids The World definitely can use your talents. If you have experience with maintenance, painting, carpentry, electrical, A/C, vacuum repair or landscaping you can certainly find an area to volunteer in. Even if you just want to work behind the scenes they need you as well.
The Village is strictly for the families staying there during their child’s special trip. So if your serious about becoming a Magic maker and volunteering then make sure you arrange a place to stay before you go. Of course we’re sure they will be more than willing to suggest many local places and they are more then willing to help you become a part of this Magical village of Dreams.
Of course if you’re wondering what a volunteer can really do well in short you could be a part of some incredible Magic. The crew of Extreme Home Makeover recently did an Extreme Village Makeover. Yes that’s right Ty Pennington and the gang came here to change the world for special children everywhere and they did but not do it alone. Oh no with the help of the help of over 500 contractors, 7,500+ volunteer hours, 3000 gallons of interior paint not including exterior paints, over a million pounds of debris were removed and 29 tractor trailers with new furniture, fixtures and equipment were delivered for the villas and all this was done by volunteers. But before you fear your chance has passed, it hasn’t in fact the need now is even bigger then before as work continues on.
So maybe just maybe we’ve shown you a way to become a real Magic maker. And, if we have then we hope that one day you will be behind the gates of this magical place bringing Dreams to Wishes and Wishes to Reality… But before we leave you to decide on your future here are some more pictures from within “Give Kids The World” only this time we’ll share some of the Magic as seen through Gabriel’s eyes. Yes we are a family who was blessed to visit and stay at this Magical place for a week when our own son Gabriel was give a wish granted by the “Make-A-Wish Foundation of East TN”
One last parting thought. We know that by now your all excited to become part of the Magic, so go ahead and have fun and become a Hero if even for just a day. Remember even if you can’t travel to Florida to help Give Kids the World you can always help from home by visiting http://www.gktw.org/help !
About Denise and Uriah:
Just a little about Uriah and Denise. We are a Husband and wife team who write about what we love and stay true to our Disney side. We are the proud parents of 5 children, one of which has extensive medical needs. Uriah is the always staying Disney by keeping the mind of his fellow TMSM’ers guessing at “Where in Disney is Gabriel?” and a devoted father and world traveler. His wife Denise is a Blogger, mom extraordinary and recognized writer for several publications.
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