Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by *NikkiBell*, May 29, 2011.
I just updated the first post to include GKTW's address and phone number for those needing it.
My life long best friend and her 23 yr old daughter, along with myself spent a day at GKTW in April. We all helped with breakfast in the morning, then in the afternoon, I went to Amberville, the recreation complex and where I got to drive the train. They went to the castle where the biggest deal here is the stars that each child gets. For what it is worth, my g/f said that she would volunteer in a heartbeat again, maybe just not here. Some parents come back and the children are no longer here, as well she had a couple of families who were leaving the village that day and came to see the star with the wish child. For her and this is only her feelings, it was very intimate and very emotional. Her daughter handled it very well, but also said that it was very emotional.
In no way did I post this to discourage anyone from volunteering, this place is truly a magical place and I will never go to Orlando without taking time out to volunteer here. This was just our experience.
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Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience at GKTW! It is pretty amazing, isn't it?
One of the great things about Give Kids The World is that there are SO many different volunteer opportunities. I agree, the Castle can be one of the more heartstring-tugging shifts. Just seeing all of the stars on the ceiling was so overwhelming for me the first time, and it can be very tough when a Welcome Back family is visiting without their Wish Child. I'm sure your friend and her daughter did a great job!
For your next visit, I HIGHLY recommend trying to get a shift at the Ice Cream Palace. For me, this is always a shift that brings pure joy. You get to give out free ice cream to kids for hours -- whatever they want, as much as they want. Everyone is smiling and having a good time -- it is fantastic!
I will keep this in mind - thanks.
We enjoyed helping out with breakfast and will do that again in a heartbeat.
My shift at Amberville included learning to drive the train and taking the kids for rides - that too was pretty awesome.
It is indeed a magical place and I can't wait to go back.
Thank you for this information! I came to this section looking for something entirely different, stopped on this, and in a matter of hours put together my DIS running team to volunteer there next February.
This post made a HUGE difference and all the replies did, too. Your words had the power to motivate me! I wanted to let you know that. I'll report back on our volunteer experience!
I filled out the application/background check and I am signed up for orientation next Tuesday evening!
Oh you will love it. I can't wait to go back.
I wonder how long they keep their records of background info? I volunteered a few times on the college program in Spring 97. The CP volunteer sign ups filled so fast. When I went back on advanced Spring Internship I had over 100 hours from Jan to June. I'm wondering since it was so long ago would they want us to do the background check. Since I was there every Sunday for parents night out there was a group of us core volunteers that assigned the volunteers to families while the parents were sent to dinner. While the parents were away the kids had a cp volunteer that played in the castle, went to dinner with their assigned families, went for ice cream sundaes, and then Nick would have entertainment in the castle. If their were children with more complex needs we may be assigned to that child. Another thing that I got to experience was driving the Mayor's yellow car. I was able to help the Mayor get ready before hand and help lead for the tuck ins. I also saw Christmas at the village. I was able to set up something special for a wish child that would be celebrating her birthday the next day in Epcot. Some people voiced a concern of it being a sad experience. The first time I volunteered I had the same concern but there was so much happy faces that I was relieved of the concern the second I interacted with people in the village. Many times kids seem to perk up and feel better while visiting the village. I credit this experience with me becoming involved with MAW and now cole's foundation.org I have worked with many families and kids. Oh one more question. The village has added so much since I was last there. To volunteer with the horses is their anything special you need?
I believe you would need to redo the background check, as their systems have changed since 1997.
It sounds like you had a great experience while on the CP! I do agree that GKTW is a happy place for families.
They prefer horse experience to volunteer in the horse program, but it is not necessary. You can always contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further questions.
My family (me, DW, and DD-18) volunteered at GKTW on 8/17/14 for the first time, but it will definitely not be the last! What a great experience. The families were very appreciative of the volunteers. It was great to be able to help folks enjoy their time there and see them all smiling and having a good time.
I was the "train conductor" who drove the little tram that shuttles people around the village. I was paired with one other volunteer and we split the shift. I drove first and then we switched and I worked the back, letting people on and off and finding out where they wanted to go. My wife ran the carousel. My daughter was the photography assistant, recording who each photo belonged to.
I would highly, highly recommend doing this on your next trip to Disney. The village is about 20 minutes from Disney property right off route 192. Very easy to get to.
We will definitely go back on future trips.
Thanks for posting this, great info
1) Thanks fo the post.
2) I am a volunteer coordinator at GKTW< and we LOVE to see more volunteers - even for a day.
3) Of coursde, once here, the can come back often and volunteer.
4) It is a really rewarding experince.
NOTE: Yes, the kids do get a kick out of having ice cream for breakfast. BUT, the prents have more fun than the kids. The parents are on-the-go all the time at home and have little chance to veg-out and have fun. Here, WE do the kid-things and help with the kiddies, so the parents frequently get a chance to just go off by themselves and "be adults". It is such a great feeling for them. And, we hear about it often.
Thanks for the posting.
1) I am a volunteer coordinator for GKTW, and we love to see volunteers.
2) Even for one day, let alone frequent-return volunteer visits.
3) It never gets old for us.
NOTE: Yes, the kids love the attention and the activities. However, the parents frequwntly love it more. At home, they are always on-the-go minding and tending to the chiold or choldren. Here, we do most of that and the parents can FINALLLY just be adults, and even get away by themselves for a while. We get these great comments all the time. And, yes, it warms the heart every time.
Does anyone ever carpool? I can't do the cab and we will not have a car but I'd love to come for a few hours!
Im going to WDW for my 1 year ann and we will be signing up to volunteer...I just want to spend some time with these wonderful people( staff And guests)
You will have a great experience there. Just be sure to do everything well in advance. It takes time for the background check. And to have a good selection of available shifts, the earlier you book the better.
This is a very old thread, but I'm going to run the Princess 5k and then do a morning shift at GKTW on Saturday, Feb. 20th. The shift runs from 730 am-11am. If there's anyone out there who will also be going to volunteer and would like to share a cab, PM me.
1) I would like to go.
2) But, my assignments (as a Volunteer Coordinator) are usually Wednesdays.
You know, Rusty, you were one of my earliest inspirations for the idea of doing this! I normally travel with grandchildren and couldn't work it out. But I've been wanting to volunteer for a long time; I work as a pediatric home care nurse and love these kids!
1) You will LOVE your time at GKTW.
2) It gives the kids (AND YOU) such a lift.
. . . I have yet to know a volunteer, even after a long shift, to go home drained
3) In fact, the adults sometimes have a better time than the kids
. . . at home, the parents are always on-guard for the child's safety and needs
. . . at GKTW, the parents get to play !
. . . many of the adults thank the volunteers for allowing them (the parents ) to enjoy themselves
4) I hope you enjoy yourself.
NOTE: I volunteer with four civic organizations during my "retirement", but none are as rewarding as GKTW and Make-A-Wish. I only wish that such organizations did not have to exist. Children should not have to endure such sicknesses.
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