Our Founder Henri Landwirth once said, “I met the executive director of Make-A-Wish foundation and I told her that I’d like to help the families coming into this area. What would be the thing that they needed, and they said we need a place for them to come…It was exactly what I was hoping I could do.”
Give Kids The World Village exists because Henri asked how he could help. Now every day we get to welcome families from all over the world to our whimsical Village and help fulfill their wish. This process is not done alone; it takes a Village to make a critically ill child’s wish come true. Give Kids The World is one piece of the journey of a child getting their wish but it doesn’t start with us.
It all starts with a wish
The journey begins with our over 230 wish-granting partners, who help determine whether a child is eligible for a wish. They then work directly with wish families to determine what the child’s wish is. If the child’s one true wish has anything to do with Central Florida, in most cases the organization will then contact us to fulfill the wish. Wish-granting organizations usually book 3-6 months in advance but a wish trip to Give Kids The World can be booked in as little as 24 hours.
Village Director of Mission Delivery and Outreach Amy McClintock says, “we can’t do what we do without them doing what they do, it’s truly a partnership.”
The wish reaches the Village
Once the wish trip has been booked with our wish-granting partners, the wish moves to our Village Vacation Planning Services (VVPS) team. At this point they begin to prepare for the arrival of the wish family. About 10 to 14 days from a family’s arrival, one of our VVPS Itinerary Fairies will give them a call.
Not only does VVPS work with families to prepare them for the magic that awaits by helping them get to know the Village and answering questions, they even have a personalization team dedicated to making sure each wish family’s trip is unique and special. No matter how large or small the request may be, this dedicated team works to make it happen.
Family arrives in Florida
Once our wish families arrive in Florida, their time at Give Kids The World truly begins. When a family lands at an Orlando-area airport, many times an airport greeter from the Village meets them to help with any baggage and transportation needs. This our first chance to welcome them “home” and truly starts the magic that Give Kids The World is about to bring for an entire week. Families who drive get an equally warm welcome from our Welcome Hut before they even enter our gates!
A week of happiness and hope
Give Kids The World is full of wonder and magic at every turn. We serve ice cream for breakfast (and all day long) and invite everyone of all abilities to experience our attractions. There are nightly parties that celebrate Halloween, Christmas and even Mayor Clayton’s surprise birthday! One walk across the Avenue will show you how real this week of happiness and hope actually is. The smiles and laughter are contagious.
Ignite enduring hope
Even after families leave the Village, they stay forever in our Castle of Miracles, which holds the stars of wish children from all over the world.
The Village is a home-away-from-home for many alumni families. All wish families can return for day trips up to 4 times per year! We love to see their smiling faces return to experience the magic once again.
While Give Kids The World is one stop on the journey of a wish, we are “home” for wish families from all 50 states and 76 countries. The Happiness that Inspires Hope is alive in our whimsical Village 365 days a year.
By subscribing to the blog and visiting our website, you can learn more about how you can be part of the magic of fulfilling a wish.