The nonprofit, 84-acre Give Kids the World Village began changing lives in 1989, opening its doors to children who have life-threatening illnesses and their families to help everyone forget the worries of this world and spark a child’s joy and imagination with countless rides, games, and activities.
This semester, volunteers from Seminole State College have ventured out to the facility to do what they can to make the children’s dreams come true.
Give Kids the World offers a week of free stay for children who are critically ill, they provide an all-inclusive stay at the location paired with free passes to Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World.
The purpose stems from a little girl named Amy who had leukemia and dreamed of visiting the commonly loved Orlando theme parks. People tried to fulfill her wish as well as provide a complimentary stay the process. But the process took too much time, and Amy had passed before her wish was fulfilled.
Although her dream didn’t become her reality it sparked a fire in Henri Landwirth, who made a vow that no child in need would be failed, and that time wouldn’t interrupt the story of a child’s dream.
Since 1986, this provided a mission that Give Kids the World will continue to fulfill. The SSC volunteers served on a Saturday in March.
“With all service events my motivation is exploring new nonprofit organizations and noticing how we can make a change while getting out of our comfort zone,” said Beverly Sanchez, coordinator of Community Engagement for Student Life at Seminole State.
Ten student volunteers went to the service event on with free transportation from Seminole State College. This is the second time the school has gone to Give Kids the World during the Spring semester. They will be heading out to the location for another event in April. The students volunteered from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. working the kitchen.
“My experience at GKTW was wonderful, I love being around kids I always have,” said Kayla Singleton, a Seminole State volunteer. “I enjoyed walking around with the kids and talking with them and hearing about their time there. One little girl told me she had just got a visit from Santa before breakfast and brought her a baby doll with her very own bottle.”
The volunteers cleaned Nancy’s Breakfast café for families, greeted the guests, helped carry trays for children as well as serve drinks to the families in an attempt to make everyone’s stay feel comfortable and welcomed.
“Before I attended this event for my first time, I was clueless about the purpose of Give Kids the World,” said Kia Singleton, another volunteer.
After her first visit, she said she had a better understanding of its purpose.
“Volunteering here was an eye opener to make me appreciate the time that I have here in this world because tomorrow is not promised to you,” Singleton said. “The children continue to push through their barriers and make every day the best of their lives. This made me understand that I should not let little things deter my happiness and that I should live life to the fullest.”
Others who would like to volunteer through Seminole State can do so by going to Raider Connect to view all upcoming events. There are also many opportunities to volunteer on one’s own time as well and can do so through https://www.gktw.org/.