February 20, 2009

Close to the Heart

Posted in Causes at 12:20 pm by livethelifeyoudream

We are blessed.  In this crazy economy, we have stable jobs. We have our health and secure retirements. We don’t have expensive tastes. We are happy with our paid-off-vehicles, even though the miles are creeping up. Our house isn’t a show place, but it’s comfortable. We like spending time together as a family. We truly are blessed.

Today I’m letting you in on something that tugs at my heart strings. It puts a smile on my face and brings tears to my eyes, but I know it is something that my family needs to do together—a volunteer vacation.  We donate money to charities, but we have never given our time. Time is precious.  Money is easy.

The story of Give Kids The World begins with a little girl with a wish and the desire of one man to make that wish come true.

The little girl’s name was Amy. Amy had leukemia and one wish – to visit the theme parks in Orlando. To facilitate Amy’s wish, the request of a complimentary stay was made to a respected hotelier. As he had done many times before, the hotelier gladly obliged and Amy’s wish was that much closer to being realized. Sadly, the remainder of Amy’s travel plans took too long to arrange and her wish was never granted; Amy had passed away. Time simply ran out.

This unfulfilled wish inspired a man, the hotelier, to make a vow that no child in need would ever be failed again. That man was Henri Landwirth and his desire to ensure that Amy’s story would never repeat itself is where the story of Give Kids The World begins.

The organization is nonprofit. All of the Orlando theme park businesses have come together to support GKW. The best part is that all the money donated for buildings and projects don’t feature any advertisements. There are no smiling characters encouraging people to visit a particular park or patronize a particular company.

It’s just a bunch of people coming together to help grant the dreams of dying children. As if that isn’t enough to move anyone to tears, wait until you hear about the wishing star. As a child’s trip comes to an end, she gets to put up on the ceiling a “wishing star”. They keep all the stars on the ceiling from their past guests.

I can’t even begin to imagine what these children wish for—health, toys—more time.  For one week a family gets to be a “normal” family. For one week a sick child gets to just be a kid.

For one week, my family is going to give its time.

They rely on volunteers for help.  College and scouting groups, church organizations, and individuals and families can volunteer their time. They don’t require families to work eight hour shifts; they seem very accommodating.

I encourage you to click on the link above and see what Give Kids the World is all about. It looks like the most wonderful place to visit; yet, I am so thankful my family will never have to stay there. Count your blessings today.







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