by Emily Wagner
Give Kids The World Village is a whimsical resort in Kissimmee that has welcomed more than 146,000 children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to Central Florida since the nonprofit organization was established 30 years ago. These children each decided their Wish was to meet Mickey Mouse or other favorite characters at Orlando’s theme parks, so they and their families travel to this one-of-a-kind resort built entirely for kids.
They stayed in “storybook” villas for a weeklong, cost-free vacation, away from doctor visits, hospital stays, long stretches apart and other issues faced by families battling a child’s illness.
In order to make magic for thousands of families each year, the Village heavily depends on volunteers, known as Angels, to make these whimsical attractions and entertainment come to life.
There are hundreds of volunteer shifts to fill every day, and a variety of positions available to those interested in inspiring hope. Volunteering at Give Kids The World Village not only creates priceless memories for children and their families, it’s an opportunity to give and receive smiles.
Most volunteer shifts are available for ages 12 and up (with a parent until age 16). Young Angels can help at mealtime in Café Clayton and in the Ice Cream Palace. Or they can be part of movie nights, arts and crafts, pizza delivery and more. Volunteering at Give Kids The World Village is a unique opportunity for kids to give back. It can help to teach children the value of volunteering at an early age, and make it a lifelong practice.
The Village is home to 144 two-bedroom villas, an enchanted carousel, a child-size train, two pools, horse stables, a CANDY LAND playground, a dinosaur-themed mini golf course and an ice cream palace. There is no shortage of celebrations, including weekly Halloween and Christmas parades and parties, as well as the birthday of Mayor Clayton, a six-food rabbit who serves as mayor. The Village is filled with playful characters and plenty of surprises.
This summer, Give Kids the World Village is introducing the Angel Bound program and inviting volunteers ages 10 and 11 to join the Angel family. Along with a parent, Angel Bound volunteers will be able to serve meals, carry trays and clean tables at Café Clayton. The all-new Angel Bound program begins August 1 and continues through October 15, 2016.
Any time spent volunteering at Give Kids The World Village is full of hope, happiness and smiles. It can be a fun and heartfelt way for parents to bond with their children and instill a sense of responsibility, empathy and compassion. Whether you’re a Central Florida local or interested in a volunteer vacation next time you visit, the Village is full of volunteer openings perfect for you and your family.