It was a great sadness when we learned that Give Kids the World Village had to close due to the COVID 19 pandemic. If you follow the channel and are a part of the Mayne Mafia family, you know that Give Kids The World Village has a very special place in my heart and as part of the channel. Personally, I am so happy that finally, Give Kids The World Village is opening back up to welcome children and their families back to one of the most amazing places and experiences right here in Orlando.
As of January 17, 2021, the village welcomed the first group of many more families to come, back to a place where hope, fun and laughter are at the forefront everyday (along with ice cream anytime of the day). Although there are changes that have to be adhered to for the safety of families, volunteers and staff, it was so exciting to be able to see glimpses of families that are arriving at the village, many of whom have been waiting for over 10 months, not knowing if they would be able to even come because of their circumstances and illnesses.
Although some tweeks to how visitors and volunteers enter the village and a new schedule at Give Kids the World Village due to the protocols that need to be followed, everyone will still be part of amazing experiences. Families will still be enjoying the theme parks in Orlando that they choose, riding the many amazing rides created and engineered just for them at the village and the wonderfully immersive “holiday events” such as Not So Spooky Halloween Party, Mayor Clayton’s Birthday and Pirates and Princesses’ Once Upon A Time Village Party and of course, the Winter Wonderland extravaganza that even ‘ol Saint Nick doesn’t want to miss.
Although the village was closed for a time, they still brought hope and joy to those that could help in making sure that the wonder of Give Kids The World Village would be able to remain and be ready on Day One for the families that were looking forward to being able to come prior to the pandemic. Night of A Million Lights welcomed over 90,000 people who were able to see the village, pretty much for the very first time ever, all lit up and sparkling with magic and inspiration when many people needed it the most after such a tough year. I was so blessed to be able to not only visit the village in previous years when children and their families were there but also during this time, which gave a different kind of ‘joy’ to the village and still showed that no matter what we go through, we can always sparkle with optimism and give of ourselves to help others.
I was also so proud and grateful to the numerous influencers who came out, shared and donated through their social platforms to help Give Kids The World Village through this event. Also, my heart is so full of love for the amazing affiliate channel partners, celebrities, support staff and sponsors who were part of the 2nd Annual Magic Streamdom, fittingly a “Holiday Magic Streamdom” who through a united effort, coming together as one, raised over $22,000 this year, bringing our total over just the past two years of over $44,000 raised for Give Kids The World Village! I am excited with what 2021 will bring and I know that together, we are looking to raise even more to help bring as many families to the village that had to put their plans on hold last year due to circumstances beyond their control.
Being a part of such a great community supporting Give Kids The World Village is one of the most important and gratifying parts of my life and I am so blessed that I can help raise awareness in such a small way. There are true heroes that give so much more of themselves, from amazing volunteers like Jim Gourley, who has volunteered over 1,700 hours helping children and their families have the most memorable time to WWE’s NXT superstars such as Shawn Micheals, and Mick Foley and Tammaso Ciampa, and incredible celebrities such as Jodi Benson, who I was so grateful to have be a part of Magic Streamdom this year! From Platinum Sponsors, corporate partners and well know guests to the Village, we all feel that coming to this whimsical and extra ordinary place and doing what we can is what makes our lives more meaningful. I can tell you from a personal standpoint, that you cannot walk into the Village and walk out the same person. Give Kids The World has changed my life, my direction and how I move forward in doing what I do in such a profound and wonderful way.
As we move ahead into 2021, we all hope and pray that things slowly start getting back to a more normal stride, knowing that things may not be back to the way they used to be for a very long time if ever. But, we do know, that with the help of great doctors and advisors, Give Kids The World Village is doing everything in their power, partnering with Walt Disney World and other theme park executives to make sure that everyone that stays at the village is confident that all safety protocols are in place to make sure that their stay is the best. Through additional training and instruction, staff and volunteers will be making sure that they are constantly aware of what guidelines are in place and following protocols as set forth, so that the village can keep on welcoming those deserving and waiting families!!
Again, we are so happy to see the Village back open and I know that I cannot wait to go back and volunteer very soon and do what I can to help bring joy, laughter and a sense of “just being a kid” to those the Village embraces.
Give Kids The World Village; Spokesmayne