At present is Valentine’s Day, and for higher or worse, most of our minds are on one factor — love. Now we have it, we wish it, we’d prefer to overlook it exists for the day. For these within the final class, put together for a change of coronary heart.
Due to a particular occasion at Give Children the World Village this morning, I had the pleasure of spending the start of my Valentine’s Day surrounded by of us who have been joined collectively in celebration of the purest form of love there’s: the unconditional type.
Whereas one of many many issues GKTW does is present critically ailing kids and households with entry to the huge array of thrilling Orlando sights, not each theme park experience could be skilled by everybody. Typically, as a consequence of sickness or incapacity, entry to sure sights turns into all too troublesome. Situations need to be met to participate in them.
Give Children the World doesn’t function on exclusivity, and it’s fairly clear that not a single youngster’s good time will probably be uncared for beneath their watch. Living proof: The group unveiled one other totally accessible attraction contained in the Village as we speak, one which has a protracted way forward for offering enjoyable and leisure to everybody, no matter bodily restriction.
See? That’s some really unconditional love proper there.
The attraction – Kelly’s Sunny Swing — was revealed this morning by Give Children the World CEO Pamela Landwirth. In the event you’ve by no means heard Pam converse earlier than, I encourage you to take a look at this interview she was gracious sufficient to provide us. (Put together to complete that video with fewer tissues however extra religion in humanity than you had if you began it.)
GKTW has a behavior of naming issues across the Village after kids whose lives, personalities, and tales have had a profound impression on the group and the oldsters who work and volunteer there; Kelly’s Sunny Swing is not any totally different.
The origin of this attraction’s identify could be present in a letter that Pam carries together with her, one thing she has carried together with her on daily basis since October of 1993. The phrases she at all times retains so near her describe the immense impact that Give Children the World Village had on an Eight-year-old woman and her household. Pam shared the story:
Despite the fact that we didn’t meet her, it was a letter we received from the household shortly after their go to that simply embodies every thing that the Village means, what the expertise meant for his or her household, and the way it carried them by way of a few of their darkest hours…It was a really particular letter for me, it was a really particular letter for Henry — our founder — and we’ve stored it very near our hearts. And this valuable little woman’s identify, she was Eight years outdated and she or he got here to us from Pennsylvania, her identify was Kelly.
After a short however extremely transferring ceremony, Pam unveiled the brand new experience to a immensely enthusiastic viewers. To say that the temper was constructive can be an understatement of virtually felony proportions.
I can actually say this, although: In the event you’re having bother discovering love this Valentine’s Day, maybe you’re searching for the flawed type, because it was evident to me this morning that the world is totally bursting with it. Love for a good looking day, love for an exquisite group, however most significantly, unconditional love for kids going by way of unimaginable difficulties and for the households that assist them.
As Want-mom Stacie Jackley remarked, “This place runs on love, so it’s applicable to have one thing like this on Valentine’s day.”
Stacie, her husband Tommy, and their extremely charismatic kids Kaylin and Kellen — a Want household since 2014 — have been completely radiating constructive vibes this morning. Kellin actually loved his experience, exclaiming, “It’s very superior, and I like swings!”
The household additionally praised Kelly’s Sunny Swing for its accessibility, with Tommy remarking, “Having the wheelchair accessibility constructed into the center of it’s A-plus too.”
Kaylin was fast to interject and clarify the worth, saying, “That signifies that any child of any age, even when they’re in a wheelchair or crutches, they will nonetheless get pleasure from and be comfortable right here.”
This isn’t GKTW’s first foray into accessible sights, in fact. Pam reminded the viewers that the Village debuted the very first wheelchair-accessible carousel anyplace, the Enchanted Carousel hooked up to The Fort of Miracles, again in Might of 1994 — virtually 25 years in the past. Since then, they’ve additionally added JJ’s Specific practice attraction and Laurie’s Magical Flight, each of that are wheelchair accessible. The Carousel was donated by Vekoma, and the next three have been donated by Italian experience producer Zamplerla.
Lest you suppose that these donations are merely tax write-offs from distant, impassive firms, Pam additionally defined the significant relationship that the Village has with Zamperla. “Mr. Zamperla has turn into a really pricey buddy through the years,” she stated. “I’ll always remember the second that he got here to the Village and we rode Laurie’s Magical Flight collectively and it was simply such an incredible expertise for him to show round and see a toddler in a wheelchair having the ability to expertise it.”
Now, all of us present our love in several methods. Not like Zamperla, most of us don’t have 1 / 4 of 1,000,000 to spend on a brand new experience for critically ailing kids. That doesn’t make our love any much less essential, although. That the majority elegant of feelings is about intention as a lot as the rest, so whether or not you’re focusing yours right into a grand new attraction, a small, manageable donation, or only a little bit of free effort and time, directing your love in the direction of Give Children the World Village ensures that your coronary heart is in the correct place on the proper time.
Your coronary heart will probably be in the correct place, as a result of theirs is. They supply every thing these households want — from meals and lodging to transportation, medical care, entry to Orlando theme parks and sights, and particular in-house occasions — so households with critically-ill kids can put their ache, concern, and frustration apart lengthy sufficient to only get pleasure from what it means to be a loving household for a short time.
You may make direct donations right here, and discover ways to volunteer your time right here. (You don’t even need to be an Orlando resident; loads of of us take a time out of their Disney or Common holidays to lend a serving to hand.)
Don’t overlook the unimaginable array of fundraising occasions which you could get in on both. Take a look at the Village’s upcoming occasions right here, and preserve an eye fixed out for particular parks-related ones like An Night with Ron Logan, the place Disney followers can get an inside look into the creation of world-renowned exhibits like Illuminations and Fantasmic! from one of many minds behind them — former Govt Vice President and Govt Producer of Walt Disney Leisure Ron Logan himself.