Saturday, January 30, 2016
Shameless Plug Saturday: Give Kids The World
Normally for Shameless Plug Saturday, I feature a website, YouTube channel, or deviantART profile. But for this week, I wanted to share something truly special. To end this Disney-themed month, I could think of nothing more fitting and more shameless than to feature an organization that helps children make their dreams come true by giving them the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World.
Give Kids The World is a non-profit organization in Kissimmee, Florida that provides accommodations and access to Walt Disney World and other Central Florida attractions for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The organization operates a 79-acre resort complete with 144 villa suites and other amenities including a restaurant, play area, swimming pool, ice cream parlor, movie theater, miniature golf course, and even horseback riding. Everything from the tickets for local theme parks, to the on-site lodging, food and ice cream, transportation, and other activities, are all provided to children and their families completely free-of-charge.
Give Kids the World has a very interesting history to say the least. The resort was the brainchild of founder Henri Landwirth, a Holocaust survivor who spent five years at Auschwitz and other concentration camps before being set free and later immigrating to America to become involved in hotel management. Wanting to give others a better life than he had suffered, he became invested in helping provide travel accommodations to children with special needs and life-threatening illnesses.
After one little girl, Amy, who was suffering from Leukemia, had died before being able to visit Disney World due to her travel accommodations taking longer than usual, Landiwirth vowed to ensure that no child misses out on such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and in 1989, opened his resort to ensure that children have such accommodations available to them. Since then, the resort has welcomed 143,000 families from all 50 states and 75 countries.
I first visited Walt Disney World in 1994 at the ripe age of eight, and since then, I have had the privilege to visit the park at least five times in my life. Being able to visit the parks proved to be one of the most magical moments of my childhood. There is nothing more I would like to see than for other children to have this same opportunity that I had growing up as a kid. As such, it’s encouraging to know that such an organization as Give Kids The World exists to give children such an opportunity, especially during the hardest moment of their lives.
I firmly believe that every child should be able to visit the Disney Parks at least once in their life. I especially consider this true for children whose lives are unfortunately being cut short by a fatal illness or disease. If one kid can spend the reminding days of their life experiencing a Disney World vacation, that would be nothing short of a miracle. Fortunately, Give Kids The World allows such miracles to happen, and for that, I support them, and so should you.