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Give Kids the World

ericshainock's picture

30 years. 30 years of providing weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. This is what Give Kids the World Village has provided to families for the past 30 years. The story began quite simply: Amy, a little girl with leukemia, had a wish. She wanted to visit Orlando's theme parks - something that many little children wish to do. One gentleman helped to accommodate the housing, but remaining details took too long to arrange and her wish unfortunately was never granted. Henri Landwirth, the hotelier, who initially offered to provide the hotel stay vowed that no child would ever miss out on this wish and created Give Kids the World.

Each year 27,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The Village and its partners provide children accommodations in fully-furnished villas, tickets to theme parks, meals, and entertainment. In all, it's a weeklong escape from the challenges these children face day in and day out. According to their website, their goal is "to provide everything these families need to make their trip the vacation of a lifetime." Over 79 acres and 144 villas, the Village provides entertainment attractions and fun activities for children of all abilities. The Village has welcomed more than 143,000 families from all 50 states and 75 countries, with the help of corporate partners and wish granting organizations.

What makes this so special is that it's in the heart of the theme parks at Disney. Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort are top corporate partners, which ensures the backing from some of the biggest players in the area. The organizations are in total alignment, and also might help Make-A-Wish as they have children request trips to Disney as his or her wish. In all, there are 16 corporate partners (Platinum, Gold, Silver) that help make dreams come true for these children. These brands are better able to engage and make a difference while helping bring to life a once-in-a-lifetime dream for thousands of children. In addition to these partners, There are featured events that help raise money to keep the mission alive. From 5K runs, galas, and cooking competitions, there are events year-round to ensure that Henri Landwirth's mission stays intact and Amy's story would never repeat itself.

Eric Shainock works for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as an Account Representative in the Strategic Partnerships division after previously working at Intersport, a sports marketing agency. He is a 2014 graduate of the Ohio University Sports Administration Graduate Program. Feel free to reach out via email: or on Twitter: @ericshainock.


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