What it Means to “Give” Kids The World

Murphy the Gingerbread Man,  a beloved character at Give Kids The World, recently spoke with several staff members at the Village and shares with us what it truly means to “give” at Give Kids The World.

Give Kids The World. Four simple words, but their combination holds such meaning, power and emotion. Give Kids The World means a lot of things to a lot of people.

As we approach the holiday season, I thought it’d be interesting to ask a few staff members what it means to “give” at Give Kids The World.

“Every gift, regardless of how big or small, has meaning and some are more personal than others,“ says Vice President of Operations and 12 year GKTW employee, Mitch Goldberg. “ I remember several years ago receiving a card from a family describing how much fun it was to play basketball together at the Village when they returned from the theme parks every evening.  Inside the envelope was a $20 bill with the added note that they wanted to make sure we could buy a new basketball so future guests could enjoy playing outside together when they visited too!”

Barbara Zeballos is one of the newest members of the team at GKTW.  Among her many duties, Barbara opens the daily mail.  “It is a great feeling to know that so many people support our mission, but a greater feeling than receiving the gifts is to open each one of the thank you letters, notes, cards and drawings from different families that expressed how coming to Give Kids The World has been a positive experience in their lives. Most families express their gratitude to the staff, volunteers and everyone that made their children’s dreams come true. And that “everyone” includes every single person, company and organization that makes a gift to us. Families often express how they want to come back to volunteer and give back; some of them will include financial gifts because they want to make sure that more families are granted that same opportunity. Overall, opening the mail and seeing so many gifts is more than just seeing a dollar sign, it is the ability to see a family smile and a child’s dream come true.”

Angela Haber, is the head grant writer for the Village and reaches out to dozens of organizations each year seeking their support for our mission.  Says Angela, “The most important thing to consider when selecting a charity to entrust with your gift is transparency. GKTW has earned several distinctions that speak to our transparency. We have earned the Guide Star Exchange Seal of Approval. We are an accredited organization with the Better Business Bureau, and Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator, has verified our 7.5% administrative rate, which certifies that 93 cents of every dollar goes directly to the families who visit GKTW. When you give to GKTW, you can be sure that your support will help create magical memories for families who need it most.”

Abby Kracoff is the Director for Entertainment and leads the team who is responsible for creating magical experiences for our guests every night.  When asked what giving a monetary donation could do for this aspect of our mission Abby shares, “The Entertainment team could better maintain the prizes and giveaways for the families each night and we would also be able to update our costumes.  Most importantly we need a venue where we could hold everything indoors, large enough to accommodate all families!”  Abby is referring to Mayor Clayton’s top secret plans for a new Town Hall.

Tami Wright is the longest tenured staff member at the Village and recently celebrated  25 years at the Village.  Says Tami, “I think that Henri’s original vision on how the community would support the Village was to get more people aware of who we are and what our needs are.  I know that in the beginning we only wanted things that were free; we didn’t want to partner with anyone unless it was all free – no discounts – just free.  As the years have passed, this has changed somewhat, but the spirit of giving to our needs remains. ”

Charlie Diauto is a Manager in our Volunteer Services Department. From his perspective, “A donation of someone’s time deeply connects them with the mission of  Give Kids The World and inspires the volunteer to be involved in our mission in every way. Donating large sums of money can in some ways make a larger impact. It can help sustain a nonprofit organization, help bring awareness to our program and make a larger impact than solely volunteering time by allowing for more families to enjoy the GKTW experience.”

Robert Cook, our Chief Financial Officer has experience working with other well regarded institutions and I asked him what sets Give Kids The World apart.  He replied with the words of recent publications who recognized the Village’s high level of fiscal responsibility. Shared Robert,  “Being rated #1 in the nation, partly for its ability ‘to efficiently manage and grow its finances’; and ‘Give Kids The World consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America.’”

6 comments… add one
  • robin spencer

    Thank you so much for what everybody is doing! I am COMING there in November 1 thru 7 with my son Tyler. He got his wish granted and we are so EXCITED! He has cystic fibrosis.

    • We are so excited for you to come experience the GKTW magic, Robin! We have a lot planned for you and Tyler so get ready for some major fun! You’ll be here during a very exciting week- the Gingerbread Run 5k. Participants will be running, walking, rolling and strolling through our whimsical Village all to raise awareness and funds to fulfill the wishes of kids just like Tyler. We’ll see you soon!

  • Julie Mckiven

    Thank you from our family for a wonderful, memorable experience at GKTW a few years ago. May you continue to work your magic and touch other children and families as you touched ours! Thank you to all of you who work to make dreams come true.

  • Jolene Scott

    GKTW is the most amazing place on earth. My daughter had her wish granted and we were at the villiage in Feb 2010. The memories that we have will last a lifetime and the people that we met will forever be in our hearts.

  • Elizabeth Walker

    GKTW was so amazing to all of us, but especially to my little boy Connor. We were there the first week of May. I can honestly say that was the happiest most carefree week of our lives. Connor was made to feel like he was the most important person in the world by everybody he came in contact with. There were no looks of pity or disgust, just people treating him like a kid. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for everything you do! We will never forget our time with you. I can not even put into words what that week meant to our son and our family. Thank you so very much!

    • Alex Harney

      Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth! It means so much to hear from the families who’ve visited GKTW. We are thrilled that we helped Connor’s wish come true!

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