Dave Parfitt, Founder of Adventures by Daddy, shares his insight into individual giving and the volunteer experience.
Last month a little Disney magic, and some Give Kids The World magic, came to upstate New York. It all started when performer, Yehaa Bob Jackson, blew a bugle. The audience jumped up and pounded their chests like a bunch of apes. Confused? That’s OK, let me back up a step.
You see, I work at the State University of New York at Geneseo, just south of Rochester, NY. For the past three years I’ve led a student alternative spring break trip to Give Kids The World Village. Instead of spending their time on the beach, these students volunteer at the Village scooping ice cream, serving meals, painting fingernails, playing with kids and their families during the Pirates and Princess Party, Winter Wonderland, and much more. When we’re not volunteering at the Village, one of our favorite activities is to head over to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort and catch Yehaa Bob Jackson’s “Wild Show.” It’s a great way to get a taste of Disney magic, while on a student budget.
As we began planning this year’s trip, we thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to bring Yehaa Bob to Geneseo to put on a show and raise money for the trip?” Bob was thrilled at the invitation, and the date was set.
On Saturday, October 20, Parent’s Weekend, nearly 100 people plunked down $10 ($6 for children) and crowded into the campus’ “Knight Spot.” Not only did Geneseo students come with their friends, parents and siblings, but families from all over the area and as far away as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Canada came for the performance. People drove four to six hours to see Bob’s show, and get that little taste of Disney magic. Nearly $1,000 was collected for our upcoming alternative spring break trip to GKTW.
Promptly at 6P.M., Bob bounded onto the stage, started pounding out the beats on his piano, sang songs at the top of his lungs, and the crowd joined in too – everyone singing, dancing, and having a grand time. We took a break halfway through to explain why we flew Bob hundreds of miles from Florida to Western New York. We described GKTW, the mission of the organization, and the wonderful families at the Village. Josephine, this year’s student trip co-leader, spoke about her experience going on the trip the past two years, and the connections she made with families at the Village. Josephine shared how her GKTW volunteer work inspired her to intern at a pediatric oncology clinic back home, where she met families whose doctors had cleared them for their own wish trips to GKTW. Josephine’s experience had come full circle, and she knew just what it meant to those families to finally take their own vacation to GKTW.
Before we knew it, the show was over, and our guests started filing out. They came to rekindle their memories of visits to Disney World through Bob Jackson, but they left with a little bit more. Everyone left learning about another magical Village in Central Florida, just a little further down the road from the Mouse. There, wishes are fulfilled every day for children and their families – and a few college students each year as well.
In March of 2013, 12 students from the State University of New York at Geneseo will join Josephine and me at GKTW for our annual alternative spring break trip. Who knows, maybe we’ll get Yehaa Bob Jackson to come over and entertain everyone as well?
To learn more about our previous alternative spring break trip to GKTW, please visit our website.