May 25, 2008
Written by Alex Stezskal
University of Illinois
Today was our second day in Orlando and a day off the bicycles. None the less, we had a 7:00a wake up which was especially difficult because we were staying in comfortable hotel rooms. For breakfast we were back to Give Kids the World. I was especially excited to be back because last night when were there I got to be Mr. Mint in their life size Candyland game. That by far was my most amazing experience thus far.
Breakfast was great and the team was split up into several different volunteer groups. I got placed in the auditorium pictures with Mickey and Minnie from Disney World. Our job was to direct the families to the stage and take pictures with their cameras. I made sure to take as many pictures as possible to try to truly capture the moment. By far Give Kids the World has been the most exciting and rewarding Friendship Visit thus far. I hope to go back there in the future, if not on my own time, and volunteer there again.
After Give Kids the World, we drove to Wet N’ Wild water park, but, after seeing the long lines and realizing we only had an hour or two we decided to go back to the hotel and relax.
Tonight we had another amazing Friendship Visit and amazing dinner. We went to the Russell Home, which is a privately owned and operated housing for people with disabilities. The residents along with the employees and operators of the facility were very inspirational and moving. We talked to them awhile about how they need a new house and how we could possibly help.
This trip so far has been by far the most amazing experience of my life and I don’t want it to end. The Friendship Visits have definitely been the best part of the trip. They’ve taught me a lot about people and myself personally. I can’t wait to do either Gear Up Florida or Journey of Hope again next summer.