Have we mentioned that our omni-talented Office Manager, Katy, is also an amazing writer?! She wrote this beautiful post about bloom's experience volunteering at Give Kids the World on our annual company retreat to Orlando, Florida. We'll let Katy take it from here! Enjoy :)
We know that we told you before about how bloom goes on an annual retreat in Orlando, Florida, part of which includes our whole company volunteering at Give Kids the World. For those of you that don’t know, Give Kids the World, partnered with the Make a Wish Foundation, hosts wish children and their families when a terminally ill child dreams of visiting one of the Disney parks. If you have ever visited there, however, you would know that it is so much more than a place to stay.
Visiting families are housed in fairytale villas where giant bunnies come to tuck children in bed and kiss them goodnight at the end of each day. There are ice cream sundaes and milkshakes at all hours. There is a carousel that makes its rounds under a giant mushroom at the foot of a moat where a dragon dwells. Trees open their eyes and talk to you when you pass. Santa Claus comes with all of his elves and of course toys for all. And there is the castle where a star shines bright for each and every child.
It is a magical place because the children believe it is magical. This belief lends all of the children, whether they are the wish child, or a healthy sibling, a fresh breath. Children that haven’t smiled in months light up and laugh. Little ones that haven’t walked in weeks, stand up on their own and dance. The joy of this place gives them strength and hope. Two things they need most.
We all feel so privileged to be able to volunteer at such a wonderful place where we can see in the eyes of the families we interact with that we are truly making a difference. Whether we dress up as an elf and dance, or make it miraculously snow on a clear night or help a family find their star, we are creating a week for these families that they will never forget - a time of happiness that they needed and can always cherish. Of course we were all moved by so many of the children, but we are just going to share our memory of one little girl. On our first night volunteering we were working the Village Idol event which starts off with a red carpet party outside the theater where the kids can get decked out with hair dye and tattoos at the Rockstar Salon, make VIP passes for the show and sign up to perform later on in the evening.
After that is the show itself where children have the opportunity to share a talent before a panel of judges. Most of the children sing or dance to music, but this time there was one little girl who wanted to sing by herself. She was very frail, in a wheelchair and seemed to be blind, but she knew she could sing her song on her own. Her mom wheeled her out onto the stage and she began singing out a jazzy Christmas song asking, “Do You Know Blitzen?” Everyone was legitimately blown away because she was singing alone, without music, on beat, belting it out – she was fearless. She couldn’t see the audience, but she knew we were there because we were clapping along with her. She was perfect.
It is hard to imagine the feats this little girl has probably had to face, the trials she has been forced to encounter, and yet she was probably one of the bravest people in the room.
What if we were all more like her? Willing to sing a song if we wanted to sing it? Closing our eyes before our fears and showing others strength even if we are weak? She inspired a room full of people that night. What if each of us could inspire just one other person? How might we plant a seed and watch it bloom?
Do you have any stories of a time that you have been inspired by someone? Any positive volunteering experiences? As always, we’d love to hear from you. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may become a featured #bloomgirl !