Editor’s note: Today’s guest blog is written by Village volunteer Wendy Clarke. She describes the impact volunteering has had on her life and shares other ways she gets involved.
A simple Google search brought me to Give Kids The World Village. Little did I know that typing “volunteering with children” would bring me to a place that would touch my heart so deeply.
In 2012, after my husband and I both finished teaching, we traveled to Florida for the winter and I was quickly thrown into the whimsical world of the Village. Since then, I’ve spent time with 6-foot tall rabbits, served meals in Nancy’s Kitchen, delivered gifts to families, and enjoyed all sorts of volunteer shifts. It’s always a good day when you’re at the Village.
Volunteers like me aren’t here for school credit. We’re here because we get incredible joy out of serving these brave children and families. Over my seven winters of volunteering, I’ve met families who I still keep in contact with, and I follow along on their medical journeys – I’m constantly amazed at their bravery.
That’s why I wanted to find ways to help – beyond showing up for my shifts. So, last year, I did something outrageous: I signed up for Over The Edge. In doing so, I raised money for Give Kids The World, and rappelled down Orlando’s tallest hotel.
I’m not the most courageous when it comes to heights. In fact, I’m terrified of them. And yet, I’m doing the event again this year! Last year, I had to dig really deep and concentrate on the brave wish children who have touched my life – whose names I wrote on my arm. As I rappelled down the Hyatt Regency Orlando, I looked at their names and it brought me the courage to continue.
My heart overflows with love for these families – and I know so many volunteers who feel the same. We’ll do whatever we can to help them … including rappelling down buildings.