For children with life-threatening illnesses, a magical village with rides, Disney characters, and unlimited amounts of ice cream is a dream come true. To help make every moment count, 17 students from the University of Hartford’s Women’s Advancement Initiative spent parts of their winter break volunteering at Give Kids the World Village in Orlando, Fla. It is an organization that provides free vacations for severely ill children and their families.
Watch the video to learn how our students make a difference for the kids and their families:
says Caroline Zeiser ’19, a prosthetics and orthotics major, who spent the week serving meals, operating rides, and helping families get around.
For many of the children, Give Kids the World Village is the first place they have ever ridden a carousel or gone to the movie theater because of health risks. Thanks to volunteers like UHart students, everything is clean and wheelchair accessible.
Not only is the volunteer experience rewarding for the students, but the kids also teach them important life lessons. After talking to a three-year-old boy using sign language, Tatiana Jenkins ‘ 19, a health science major, felt inspired to become a speech pathologist.
“These kids go through so much but they still have a smile on their face,” Tatiana says, humbled to be part of the experience. “