My Experience at Give Kids the World Village

According to its website, Give Kids The World Village is “an 84-acre, nonprofit resort in
Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with critical illnesses
and their families.” Having attended with CCC this past weekend, I can say that it is, without a
doubt, an incredible sight to behold.

Upon my arrival at the Village on the first day, everything looked bright and cheery—the
buildings were colorful, the volunteers looked happy, and all the kids that happened to be up at
the time had the same huge smile plastered on his or her face. Needless to say, I was already
excited.

Quickly, we received orientation, got our assignments, and took off towards our
respective jobs. A Castle attendant, I made my way over to the large structure and entered,
catching sight of the glittering ceiling full of stars—one for every wish child that has ever come
to the Village. During my time there, I helped a few more children add their own stars to the
collection, showing others, who had previously made theirs, where the stars they had created
could be found.

That night, the entire CCC group helped out at the Village pool party, setting up games,
making bubbles, or turning kids into fairytale characters via face paint. I helped out with the
last one, and though few children decided they wanted me to turn them into mermaids with my
face painting abilities, I did not mind. All around me, families were dancing, smiling, and
splashing in the pool—nothing could be better than that.

The next day, I found myself scooping ice cream, and let me tell you, if you haven’t seen
a kid’s face light up after receiving a banana split for breakfast, you’re missing out. All morning,
I handed out cups, cones, and milkshakes left and right, loaded with toppings and drenched in
chocolate syrup. Meanwhile, that feeling I got from those beaming children never once left me.
Working at the spa that evening was just as enjoyable, as I got to reprise my role as
face painter extraordinaire. Kids came in smiling, excited to be transformed, leaving with
painted nails, airbrushed tattoos, intricate hairdos, or paint on their faces. I turned children into
cats, foxes, unicorns, and cheetahs. With Disney music blaring in the background, it truly felt
like a magical place.

The last day had me in the pizza parlor, doling out slices to kids and their families who
walked in hungry, looking for some food. Talking with them, I met so many incredible people—
people with stories that reflected their utter strength, perseverance, and complete love for one
another. All that time I thought about the castle full of stars I saw on my first day. Every one of
those children and their families were just as bright.

Spending my weekend at Give Kids the World Village was certainly an incredible
experience, and I thank CCC for giving me the opportunity to attend. As for anyone who has
never gone, I strongly recommend that you make the time to do so. Volunteering there is
something that will impact you profoundly in one way or another. I can guarantee it—100%.