College Students Running for Give Kids The World Need Your Help

Regular readers may remember I’m training for the 2014 runDisney Walt Disney World Half Marathon to raise money for Give Kids The World, and many of you donated to my fundraising efforts (thank you very much).  Give Kids The World Village is the resort where children with life-threatening illnesses stay when they have a wish to visit Walt Disney World (or Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, anything that could be related to Central Florida), and for the past four years I’ve taken groups of college students to volunteer for a week as an alternative break.  [If you don’t remember, click here for the 2013 trip highlights.]  Two of these students with big hearts have agreed join this inaugural Run GKTW Team to earn a Walt Disney World Half Marathon finisher’s medal.  However, these kind students need OUR help to meet their fundraising minimum to get them to the runDisney starting line.  Continue reading to discover why these students are so committed to running for Give Kids The World, and please consider donating to their efforts through the links below.  Thank you.

Give Kids The World Alternative Break

Click Here for Caitlyn Dowell’s GKTW Fundraising Page

Click Here for Felicia Vanacore’s GKTW Fundraising Page

Both Caitlyn and Felicia are education majors and committed to helping children.  They have all the qualities to make excellent teachers because I saw first hand how dedicated they are to helping others.  Caitlyn, Felicia, and all of my students “gave up” their college spring break trying to make the day a little brighter for the families in the Village.  [Although, none of us feel like we gave up anything, and certainly gained from the experience.]

GKTW Alternative Break

Caitlyn Dowell (right) Volunteering at Give Kids The World Village


After their spring break, Caitlyn and Felicia wanted to continue to raise awareness for the work done by Give Kids The World as well as give back to an organization that had a major impact on them.  Felicia added this story about how volunteering at Give Kids The World has strengthened her resolve to pursue a career of helping others.

GKTW Alternative Break

Felicia Vanacore (left) Volunteering at Give Kids The World Village


On my first full day at Give Kids The World I had the opportunity to work in the Gingerbread House.  Walking into the Gingerbread House I felt like a kid again with magic surrounding me.  The activity I was given was to bus tables and help carry trays for the families.

It was early and not many people had arrived yet when I noticed a little girl in her wheelchair with one adult, the others were getting the breakfast.  She seemed as if she was the happiest girl in the world.  I walked over to say hello, but she didn’t respond with words.  Instead, she responded with a smile, and in that moment my heart melted.  We had an entire conversation with that one smile.

The little girl started to grab my hat, and I found out she loves hats.  It was from that point on I was no longer nervous to be a volunteer.  Every encounter at this magical village restored my faith in Hope.  The smiles from the children, the dedication of the staff and the appreciation from the families helped me to realize that I want to work at GKTW one day.  My career path has changed.  I have always wanted to be a classroom teacher, but now I realize I can spread happiness and appreciation with children at non-profit organizations.  I want to help children’s wishes come true.

Angel Fountain at Give Kids The World

I’m asking you to please consider donating to Caitlyn and Felicia’s fundraising efforts.  Maybe you remember your time in college, and living on a college student budget.  They are not running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon for a trip to Disney, instead their desire is to help children and families in need.  Would you consider sponsor them $1 for each mile of the half marathon – $13.10 total.  If that’s not possible, consider pledging $10, $5, or even $1.  Whatever you could spare would help and be greatly appreciated.

Click Here for Caitlyn Dowell’s GKTW Fundraising Page

Click Here for Felicia Vanacore’s GKTW Fundraising Page

As a father, I’m extremely fortunate to have two healthy children, and we have taken a number of family vacations to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld.  These students have also traveled with me to Central Florida, and have seen, first hand, the good work done by Give Kids The World.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.