The Friday before the Enchanted 10K, we had our volunteer opportunity and team dinner at Give Kids The World. GKTW had a bus pick up the crew who wanted to volunteer before the dinner, and for the majority of us, it would be the first time we would be meeting after months of conversing online. It was interesting to hear everyone's story and why they chose to run for GKTW, some were GKTW alumni, some knew someone or had a family member who had visited GKTW, others wanted to raise money for a wonderful charity while having the ability to run as well, there were even two teenage girls who were running their first half marathon and wanted to raise money while they were at it. Quick side note, I wish I had started at their age before my body started revolting every time I do something quasi active.
As soon as I stepped off the bus, I knew the place was something very special and I wish I had the words to adequately describe it. It's not just the aesthetics of the Village, it's the people, the atmosphere at GKTW that is magical, and it's easy to see that incredible things are happening there.
We were put to work at the Village, helping to stuff pillows that are given to the Wish kids as part of a little ceremony. I don't mean to brag but my group totally killed it with the pillow stuffing, our pillows are extra magical. While there, the team got to know each other a little better, shared some stories and some laughs. One of the employees at GKTW showed us some LARGE binders they have made of the thank you letters that the children and families have written to the Gift Fairy, who leaves gifts daily, not just for the Wish child but for their siblings too. It may have made me well up just a little.
From our volunteering, we moved on to our team dinner where we were welcomed by Mayor Clayton and Ms. Merry. The dinner was followed by the awards, an event that was moving; the team consisted of some pretty incredible people. One of our team members (a GKTW alum family member) was actually on both of the inaugural Run GKTW teams, he originally raised $6000 for the Marathon weekend in January, then he proceeded to raise another $3000 in the span of 8 days, so he could be a part of the Princess weekend. It was hard not to be inspired by not just my fellow team mates but the atmosphere on the Avenue of Angels before the Pirates and Princess party. Before we were sent off on our tour of the Village, we had to partake in a tradition of dancing the "Cupid Shuffle", it's hard not to smile when you're doing the "Cupid Shuffle"....true story.
|This good looking group is the Princess Weekend team! I'm in the back row as per usual.|
Lots of tears were shed, before during and after the visit, and it was great to experience what makes Give Kids The World such a special place, and such a great charity to fundraise for.