Give Kids the World Village

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Give Kids the World Village
Give Kids The World Village Logo.svg
Motto Where Happiness Inspires Hope
Formation 1989
Purpose Resort for children with life threatening illnesses and their families
Headquarters Kissimmee, Florida
Location
Region served Worldwide
President Pamela Landwirth
Main organ board of directors
Budget $31.6 million US
Website www.gktw.org

Give Kids The World Village is a nonprofit resort in Kissimmee, Florida for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The resort's focus is providing accommodations and access to donated theme park tickets. Access provided through partner "wish granting" organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.[1]

The resort includes 140 villas on 70 acres. Eighty-eight of the villas were refurbished in a renovation as of 2014.[2]

History[edit]

Give Kids the World was founded by Henri Landwirth, a Belgian Holocaust survivor who spent 5 years in Auschwitz and Matthausen concentration camps. Landwirth immigrated to the United States, where he studied hotel management. While operating a hotel in the Orlando area, he became passionate about helping sick children fulfill their dream of a family vacation.[3]

The Village[edit]

Themed carousel at Give Kids the World Village

The Village has a whimsical theme. It features 141 family villa accommodations, the Gingerbread House Restaurant, the Castle of Miracles and its Enchanted Carousel, the Ice Cream Palace, Julie's Safari Theatre, Matthew's Boundless Playground, and other attractions and facilities for its guests. The village is operated by a small professional staff augemented by thousands of volunteers each year. Roughly 1200 volunteer shifts are completed each week.[4]

Every year, the Village welcomes more than 7,000 families; in 2010, it welcomed its 7,000th family from across the United States and more than 70 other countries.

Wish program[edit]

Children between the ages of 3 and 18 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness by a licensed doctor are eligible for a GKTW Wish. One of over 250 wish-granting organizations worldwide coordinates transportation to Central Florida, while Give Kids The World provides accommodations at its resort, meals for a week-long vacation, and donated admission tickets to local attractions including Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando Resort.

Tickets are also available for other attractions if requested. Busch Gardens in Tampa is one of the many places that can be requested. The location of the "Give Kids the World Village" is relatively close to most of the popular attractions. This is set up in a way so the families do not have to travel far. The child with a life-threatening illness is given a special badge with his or her name on it that grants access to shorter lines or the disability entrance to many of the parks.

The organization partners with corporations for volunteers, donations and in the case of Boston Market and Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, restaurants supplied with both food and volunteers inside the resort.[5] Families are also provided a complimentary rental car courtesy of Avis Rent a Car during their stay which they pickup at the VIP counter at the Orlando airport. With the exception of certain souvenirs, there is no charge to the children or their families for rooms, food, ice cream, treats, transportation, activities, or anything else on site (known as being "Within The Village"). [3]

Executive board[edit]

The organization's executive advisory board includes author Ken Blanchard, astronaut Scott Carpenter, former senator John Glenn, anthropologist Jane Goodall, actor John Stamos, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts president Al Weiss along with representatives from Universal Orlando and Seaworld.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "FAQ". Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  2. ^ Kissimmee, Business Briefs Florida Trend March 2014
  3. ^ a b Gonzales, Arturo (May 12, 1996). "Visitors Always Welcome at Give Kids the World". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved 2009-06-21. [dead link]
  4. ^ "volunteers". Give Kids the World. Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "New Give Kids the World restaurant". Orlando Business Journal. February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 28°17′25″N 81°27′27″W / 28.290324°N 81.457508°W / 28.290324; -81.457508