Imagine being a kid again. Now, imagine being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Your life has changed, in immeasurable ways. There's rarely a break from hospital visits. When there is, you're stuck at home, waiting for the next one.
Now, imagine celebrating Halloween every Monday. Ice cream for breakfast. These are things that happen every week at Give Kids the World in Orlando, FL. Give Kids the World works in conjunction with Make a Wish to bring kids with life threatening illnesses and their families on a cost free vacation to Central Florida; it gives these families a break.
Over the weekend, 90 GBers loaded busses and went off to the Give Kids the World Village. The Village is 84 acres and takes a lot of maintenance work just to maintain - not to mention supplies and help with the activities such as hosting Halloween every Monday and working in the ice cream palace in the mornings.
This is the eighth year of the partnership between the Workers Compensation Institute and GKTW and GB’s fourth year participating. This year the group was 702 strong in total, representing 109 companies. Over the course of one morning, the group completed over 2800 hours of work - more than the village volunteers complete in a full year.
GB volunteers completed tasks such as stuffing wish pillows, cutting out masks, serving ice cream, painting, pulling weeds, spreading wood chips, and laying bricks and black top. Pam Landwirth, President and CEO, shared that the masks cut out during the event will last the village through two months of Halloween Mondays and the kids will have so much fun coloring them for the party.
Following the volunteering event, the group gathered in the evening at the Orlando World Marriot to attend the WCI Give Kids the World Gala. The Gallagher organization raised half a million dollars, through the selling of socks, for Give Kids the World and the check was presented to Pam Landwirth following the dinner. In return, Gallagher Bassett received the “Spirit to Serve Volunteer Award” for the second time.
“It is truly amazing what you can accomplish for the greater good when you work together to benefit a worthy cause,” said Mariellen Johnson. We look forward to continuing the partnership and hope to double the volunteer numbers next year.