Give Kids The World Village News

Let’s Talk About Give Kids The World…

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Give Kids The World News, the official e-newsletter of Give Kids The World Village!

With GKTW News, you’ll get exciting recaps of the latest Village happenings — all delivered straight to your inbox. In our first edition, we turn the spotlight on some great corporate partners, feature our most delicious fundraiser, and highlight a recent New York City event organized by a young woman dedicated to helping our visiting families.

GKTW News is our chance to give you a look inside the Village and your chance to tell us what’s on your mind. Just send us an email.

As always, thanks for being part of the Give Kids The World family.

Ownes NYC event

New York City’s Party with a Purpose

Isabelle Owens knows how to throw a party.

The daughter of GKTW Board Member Bob Owens, Isabelle took it on herself to organize and stage a New York City fundraiser to celebrate Give Kids The World’s 30th anniversary. The April 22 event attracted more than 100 people to the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel and raised more than $38,000 through sponsorships, donations, ticket sales and a silent auction.

The guests included Deidre Pavlis, a former wish child who visited the Village in 1990.

Deidre told the crowd how special she and her sisters felt being met at the airport by Village volunteers — and how giddy they were to find their villa refrigerator stocked with “Lunchables.” But mostly, she said, she remembers how her family’s stress magically melted away.

The Village, she said, lets families “relax for at least a small amount of time — gives them time to just be a family.”

Isabelle Owens has known that for years. As a high-school student, she volunteered at the Village while working at Walt Disney World in the character program. Some days, she’d see the same families both at the Village and, later, at the theme park.

After college, Isabelle relocated to New York City. When her father told her about the Village’s 30th anniversary plans, she decided she wanted to play a part in them. There’s now talk that her cocktail party fundraiser could become an annual affair. Isabelle remains inspired by the Village and the impact it makes on visiting families.

“I remember being at the carousel and a parent came over to thank me,” she said. “That was special because it showed that it’s not just what the Village does for a child with a life-threatening illness — it’s what it does for the whole family.

“And that’s important. Hope is important for everyone.”

While Isabelle was the driving force behind the party, she had plenty of help from Owens Services, James and Carolyn Bankston, Mike and Sally Algiere, Nick Hayden and James Moyle, another Village board member. Auction items were provided by Alphabet City Beer, Plan de Ville, Bronx Brewery, U.S. Rep. John Mica, Sweet Craft Cake, Edie Parker Handbags, ALEX AND ANI, The Carlyle Hotel and One More Cast Charters. Starbright Floral Design graciously provided the floral arrangements for the evening.

Family Letter

“An Experience We Will Treasure Always…”

Ella-Grace Honeyman, a wish child from the United Kingdom, was part of a Give Kids The World contingent that met the Invictus Games athletes and Prince Harry of England. Ella-Grace’s mom, Laura, wrote us this kind letter.

Our family has just returned from a truly magical experience granted to our daughter, Ella-Grace Honeyman, by Starlight Children’s Foundation and Give Kids The World Village.

It was a true honor and privilege to meet the athletes of the Invictus Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. To be able to witness training preparations, to see a collection of the different venues and meet some of the International Paralympic competitors was very humbling.

We believe this was an integral lesson for our children to learn and witness for themselves, that, despite great adversity life does go on, and we should all be grateful for what have… It helped to highlight that people from all walks of life can find common ground and should strive to be the best that they can be, no matter what the limitations are.

The ultimate highlight was meeting HRH Prince Harry who has brought the Invictus Games to life.

We found him to be very humble and extremely personable. You could clearly see he has a keen passion for supporting all these heroes. He understands that sport can give people back their lives, some element of control, and something to strive for — a renewed purpose in life.

He took a keen interest in what we all had to say and interacted with the children beautifully, making them feel at ease. This was an experience we will treasure always and will be a story to tell future generations. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity. Thank you.

Laura Honeyman
Norfolk, UK

Mako Mania

VIP Ride for SeaWorld Orlando’s New Roller Coaster Mako Auctioned for Charity

Hurry and join the bidding to be among the first to ride SeaWorld Orlando’s new Mako roller coaster, the most anticipated addition to Central Florida’s theme parks this year!

Learn More

Recipe winner

Recipes For Hope Celebrate the Power of Ice Cream

Our recent Recipes For Hope contest drew some amazing suggestions for building the world’s greatest ice cream sundae.

Your “Super Sundae” creations called for everything from waffle cones to gummi bears to Fruity Pebbles. One featured a splash of maple syrup, another included an avalanche of pretzel nuggets.

Submissions came from all over the map — Oregon, New Hampshire, Canada, England. One contestant introduced her bid with a poem.

When the votes were counted on May 7th, Nolan’s "Vermont CandyLand" came out on top. His recipe included one banana, one large scoop of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked Ice cream, and one large scoop of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby. It was topped by a drizzle of Vermont maple syrup, whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, swirls of caramel, fudge topping and, lastly, a cherry!

As our winner, Nolan will have his recipe displayed in the Ice Cream Palace. He and his family will also receive a $100 American Express gift card to help pay for their own ice-cream party.

Ice cream is one of the little pleasures we talk so much about at the Village. For a family facing a life-threatening illness, moments spent laughing and talking at our Ice Cream Palace are priceless. Yes, we give our visiting wish families as much ice cream as they want, but more importantly, we give them time together.

Corporate partner Friendly’s knows how a simple bowl of ice cream can bring families together. That’s why since the beginning of this year, all Friendly’s in Florida have been hosting special give-back nights, giving 20 percent of proceeds to the Village. So far, the company has donated more than $6,000 — for which we are deeply grateful.

If you’re a Florida resident and would like to eat some ice cream for a good cause, just call your local Friendly’s and ask about its give-back night. The campaign ends in July.

Tourico Holidays

Tourico Holidays: Seven great years of helping the Village

As happy hours go, this one was pretty epic.

Hosted by Tourico Holidays at its headquarters in Altamonte Springs, Fla., it featured free ice cream, raffle tickets benefiting GKTW, and opportunities to sign up for volunteer shifts at the Village. It was held at the Village in January, and more than 60 Tourico employees came out to support GKTW.

Coupled with other fundraising efforts in 2015, Tourico and its employees raised more than $22,000 to help the children and families we serve.

“Tourico Holidays cherishes, and is privileged to partner with, Give Kids The World,” Tourico Holidays Chief Marketing Officer Amir Kalmar said. “Our company and volunteers find inspiration and strength being involved with the kids at the Village.”

Since 2009, Tourico Holidays has done it all for GKTW — from adopting and maintaining two villas for the past seven years, to helping out with Give Kids The World’s special events.

Every year since 2012, Tourico has donated vacations — including trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas — as exciting silent auction items for our Black & White Gala. The vacations, along with other auction items, help us raise more than $250,000 each year. The company also sponsors Give Kids The World’s Gingerbread Run 5K by providing travel prizes as fundraising incentives for runners.

The company’s commitment to the Village extends far beyond its prize packages and financial support. In 2015, Tourico employees came to the Village at least once a month to volunteer.

Whether it was dancing with families at Winter Wonderland, cheering on contestants at Village Idol, or talking like a pirate at the “Once Upon a Village” party, Tourico was there. The company also holds yearly toy drives for kids celebrating birthdays during their trip and candy drives for the Village’s weekly Hare-Raising Halloween party.

“We believe that our commitment and partnership with GKTW is not a choice,” Kalmar said. “It's our duty."

As a testament to that duty, Tourico Holidays extends a special offer to all Give Kids The World supporters. When you visit its Last Minute Travel Club website at, and use the promo code GKTW2016, not only will you get a free membership to discounted travel, but Tourico Holidays will donate 1% of all confirmed bookings to the Village.

On behalf of all the families who visit the Village, we thank Tourico Holidays for embracing the spirit of the Village and being a part of the happiness that inspires hope.

30th Anniversary

Happy 30th Anniversary!

Give Kids The World turned 30 years old on March 7, and the birthday party was spectacular. There was a pool-side party, a parade of Village characters and, in a Village first, a fireworks show over the Happy Harbor Fishing Pond. Check out the photos — and a special anniversary song — here.

Learn More

Save the Date

O-Town MacDown

O-Town MacDown – Saturday, August 20, 2016 A creative mac-n-cheese cooking competition determining the tastiest mac-n-cheese in Orlando. Learn more.


Black & White Gala – Saturday, September 24, 2016 A night of gourmet food and world-class entertainment. Learn more.

Gingerbread Run

Gingerbread Run – Saturday, November 12, 2016 Give Kids The World’s signature race that allows participants to walk, run or roll past a magic castle, a snoring tree, the world’s largest CANDY LAND game and more. Learn more.


Run GKTW – Thursday, January 5 – Sunday, January 8, 2017 When you register to run in the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, you are raising money to fund dream vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses from all over the world. Learn More.

Give Kids The World Village