What is Family Forward? On The Mom It Forward website the explanation for the event says:
Orlando Adventure gives families experiences, ideas, and skills to embrace bonding in the digital age through workshops centered on topics like charity, communication, creativity, team building, and trust. Our premise is that whether you are unplugged or are plugged in, you can maximize opportunities to create connections with your family. Family Forward: Orlando Adventure will give social media influencers the opportunities to create meaningful moments that will last a lifetime all at a price they can afford. What’s more is that attendees will be able to apply the creative ideas they develop and the skills they learn about into their everyday lives once back at home.
Sounds great, right? I guess so. It has been sold out for months! I will be working so my family won’t be joining me. As I was learning about all of the amazing things that we will be doing during the conference one thing in particular caught my eye. One of the evening activities has Mom It Forward hosting a party at Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida. I had never heard of the organization so after work one night I started doing some research.
Give Kids The World
The history of Give Kids The World begins with a girl and a wish, and one man who wanted to make that wish come true. The girl’s name was Amy. Amy had cancer. Her one wish was to visit the Orlando theme parks. To make Amy’s wish come true, requests were made for a hotel stay. Once the hotel was set up other arrangements just took too long to arrange. Amy never got to Orlando has she unfortunately passed away before she made her trip. Time simply ran out.
The man who owned the hotel was Henri Landwirth. His desire to ensure that what happened to Amy would never happen to any other kids is where Give Kids The World begins. He enlisted help from colleagues in the hospitality industry to help bring families to Florida within 24 hours if need be. He called the project “Give Kids The World,” because that is just what he wanted to do. He wanted to provide memorable, magical, cost-free experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses. As the program got bigger, Give Kids The World needed to have a place that would serve the special needs of the families. Give Kids The World Village opened in 1989. Today the Village is a 70-acre resort. It has over 144 Villas, attractions, venues, and fun designed for kids with special needs. With the help of generous individuals, corporations and partnering wish-granting organizations, Give Kids The World has had more than 130,000 families from all 50 states and over 75 countries come and stay with them.
Okay now isn’t that amazing? How have I not heard of this organization before? The love of one man started an organization that has helped 130,000 families. I really can’t think of a better way to spend some time than helping with an organization that gives everything it has to kids in need. After reading all about this organization I realize how truly blessed and grateful I am to have four healthy kids. I know that everyone is not as lucky and it makes me appreciate my health and my kids health that much more.
What Can We Do?
Give Kids The World relies very heavily on volunteers, which are know as Angels. Angel fulfills hundreds of volunteer shifts a day. If you are in Florida or visiting and would like to volunteer you can apply here. If you aren’t in Florida, and most of us aren’t, there are still lots of ways to help! On their website they have a Wish List of things that they need to help keep costs down. And yes, you can donate money but we all don’t have thousands of dollars to donate. They have a list of items that they need as well. Most of the things are normal everyday items that we take for granted. They need everything from:
- office supplies: post-it notes, scissors, bubble wrap, paper clips, tape
- landscaping supplies: rakes, shovels, wasp spray
- random supplies: bubbles, pipe cleaners, sunscreen, ponchos, disposable cutlery
Plus so much more! If you are interesting in helping them with any small items or large items you can find their Wishlist here. We have all gotten so excited about helping in some way that my girls have asked me to take them out to pick up some small things that I can take down with me to donate when I go.
They also host tons of fundraising events including 5Ks, cooking competitions, golf tournaments, you name it. They really have endless ways that people can help, in Florida or from all over the world.
I am getting more and more excited for this trip the closer it gets. I am not only excited to work a great family conference but also have the experience of going to Give Kids The World seeing all of the amazing things that they are doing for families.