Happy New Year from everyone at Give Kids The World Village!
2018 was another wonderful year in the life of the Village, and I can’t thank you enough for your ongoing love and support. The Village is a magical place because everyone – from our volunteers, to our donors, to our precious wish families – creates a bit of the magic. Being part of the Village is a remarkable experience – an experience we hope you’ll carry with you in 2019.
We’re looking forward to an amazing year. Here are some highlights for the upcoming year:
Early this year, we’re opening a new attraction! This exciting swing is another generous gift from our friends at Zamperla, one of world’s leading ride design and manufacturing companies. The swing seats nine and includes a space that accommodates children using wheelchairs. It is located next to JJ’s Express Depot.
Also in January, we’ll say goodbye to the iconic Ice Cream Palace to make room for Henri’s Starlite Scoops! Named for Give Kids The World Founder Henri Landwirth, the new ice cream shop will feature a space theme, a nod to Henri’s early days running The Starlite Motel on Florida’s Space Coast. Since ice cream is a mainstay at the Village, it will be served in Café Clayton until Henri’s Starlite Scoops opens in the fall.
In March, we’ll celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Castle of Miracles. The Castle is, in some ways, the heart of the Village, home to well over 100,000 gold stars, each representing a wish child who has stayed with us. Each star – personalized with a child’s name – is a glittering, tangible tribute to the children and families we serve, a permanent reminder of their connection to the Village.
By year’s end we’ll hit the 4.5 million hour mark for total volunteer hours logged at the Village. I’m sure you know we rely heavily on our volunteers. The Village simply couldn’t function without them. But 4.5 million hours of volunteer time is truly unbelievable. It’s a number that’s almost too big to comprehend.
Put another way, 4.5 million hours is 513 years. Cumulatively, volunteers will have contributed 513 years of service to our visiting children and families. That’s staggering, but, once you get to know our volunteers, not all that surprising. They are some of the most compassionate, generous people on earth.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for embracing our mission. May your 2019 be filled with hope and happiness!