When I ran the Give Kids the World Gingerbread Run this past November, it was the first time that I had seen it. I was amazed. So when I got to attend a Blogger Bash there, I jumped on the chance.
The Bash was held in the new Towne Hall, which just opened in June.
We listened to a presentation by several speakers, including Pamela Landwirth. I learned so many things about this amazing place.
There are 144 two bedroom villas currently and they are breaking ground on 24 more which should be ready next summer.
Everything is paid for, for these families--food, rooms, tickets to the theme parks. Give Kids the World is a magical place where families can go to escape their illness for a little while. Every Monday, it's Halloween where kids can go trick-or-treating for candy. There's Village Idol on Wednesdays and it's Christmas every Thursday where each kid gets presents. Disney and Universal send out characters so the families don't have to wait in line at the parks.
After listening the presentation, we were treated to dinner at Cafe Clayton.
Local restaurants provide food for GKTW-- Boston Market, Papa Johns, and Perkins. But you won't find any logos anywhere on property.
I decided on some yummy food from Boston Market. We were also treated to cupcakes from Gigis.
And I got to take a picture with Reme, one of the friends of the Give Kids the World Village.
Then it was time to take the tour.
The first place we went to was probably my favorite. It's called the Castle of Miracles.
When every child arrives, he or she gets a gold star to write his/her name on. Then the star fairy goes and puts their star in the sky.
Then we checked out Scoops of Hope where kids can have ice cream any time, even for breakfast.
Amberville is a mini train station that has video games.
So many things are wheelchair accessible too---the Enchanted Carousel
Lori's Magical Flight has 2 pink butterflies that are handicap accessible.
And the pools are zero-entry so kids in special wheelchairs can go in.
Marc's Dino Putting has a unique story. A wish kid named Marc wished for one million dollars. When his parents asked that if he couldn't have that, what would he want, he replied that he just didn't want to be forgotten. He passed away shortly after his trip to GKTW. When the mini golf course was being created, they discovered that it would cost about 1 million dollars so they named it after Marc.
The Safari theater has special events.
And you know I had to get a pic with the giant popcorn box outside.
And I had to visit the house of Mayor Clayton.
It truly is a special and magical place and charity (and only 6.9% of money raised goes towards administrative costs...that's incredible!)
Want to get involved? Join Kevin Bacon in the #GKTWChallenge What's that?, you might ask. Well, seven-year old Ethan challenged Kevin Bacon to see who could eat the most ice cream in 6seconds. And the loser has to donate 6 dollars to Give Kids the World. Why six dollars and six seconds? Because everyone in the world is connected to a child with a life-threatening illness by six degrees or less.
I truly felt honored to be able to take a tour of the Village and know I'll definitely be back to volunteer.