An employee of the Village meets a volunteer of the Village. October 25, 1998 married in The Chapel in the presence of Mr. Landwirth and many volunteers and employees. It was a beautiful day. -
I started my journey as a volunteer in 2011, unaware that Give Kids The World would change my life forever. I made the most incredible friends at GKTW that I affectionately call my family. I cherish the time I spent working at the Village as a volunteer coordinator. I met so many amazing people, devoted volunteers and heartwarming families from around the world. Every day I felt so gratified at the difference with we were making in so many lives, all of the smiles I saw every day. And after work was done, I got to visit at the greatest place in the world. My life changed forever one night when a young man signed in to volunteer. Had I only known at that time that that man would one day become my husband. That he would arrange a surprise proposal in the Castle of Miracles, surrounded by our Pirate and Princess family. That we would start our own happily ever after, built on the joy of volunteering, giving back to others, and having ice cream for breakfast. Even though we no longer live in Florida, GKTW is always on our minds. We plan vacations to volunteer and visit with our Angel family. No other place on earth could come as close to my heart as Give Kids The World. Henri, you have met so many people throughout your many years that I doubt you remember meeting me. But I very much remember meeting you. I was a starstruck volunteer and employee who couldn't believe I was given the opportunity to meet the man who started it all. Henri, your life story is nothing short of breathtaking and I can't begin to thank you enough for how you've changed my life. Now in Ohio, I volunteer with Make-A-Wish as a wish granter. My goal is to continue to spread the mission of Give Kids The World no matter where I am. I love to share stories of the Village and your legacy with others. Happy Birthday, Henri. Thank you so much for letting me be a small part of your dream. - Nikki C.
Less than a month ago, my sister and I traveled to Give Kids the World in Orlando, Florida. One moment really stuck with me though. I was working at the La-Ti-Da Spa in the Castle which is where little children can get their nails, makeup, and face paint done and also get air-brush tattoos. At around 8:45, a mom, daughter, and little boy come into the Spa. The little boy was about four years old and his mom said he wanted his face painted. I worked on him and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get him to talk to me or even smile. The mom told me that he had not smiled the whole time he was there even though she knew he was happy. I finished with him around 9:15 pm even though the spa was supposed to close at 9 pm. However, when I was talking to the mom, she very nicely and cautiously asked if she and her daughter could get their nails done. Of course I said yes. The mom and daughter had not had any free, fun time to themselves since his diagnosis. Instead, they were solely focused on him. Both of them were so thankful and I was so happy to have been able to bring some happiness to a family that had been in and out of the hospital for a year. This small act of painting nails really was a miracle for the mom who had been so focused on her son that she made no time for herself. It made me so happy to have been able to bring some joy to her life. At Give Kids the World allowed me to interact with children between the ages of 2-17 who had cancer or other terminal illnesses. I was exposed to their lives and their families' lives and it has inspired me to want to help as many children in need as possible. - Sarah B.
We at Chesapeake Hospitality are truly inspired by Henri Landwirth. As fellow hoteliers, we share the desire to have our guests feel pampered and well taken care of. At Give Kids the World, families are not only pampered, their lives are forever changed. They are given the gift of hope and love. Volunteering at Give Kids the World has been life-changing for us as well. We are grateful to serve the families at the Village and to share in their joy; a reminder that it is in giving that we truly receive. Thank you, Henri for your gift to us. We wish you a very Happy Birthday! Sincerely, Your friends at Chesapeake Hospitality
Our daughter, Desolina, was granted her wish at the end of January 2017. The entire trip was indescribable and GKTW was more than we ever could have imagined. Her favorite place to visit was the Castle of Miracles. On our last day at the Village, that was our final place that we visited before heading off to the airport. We went to the star tower to gaze at her star again and she lagged behind. I heard her talking to Stellar, asking her to watch over all the stars and to bring new stars to join hers. She kept telling Stellar thank you for her wish, how much fun she had and that she would come back to visit her again some day. It was a very special moment and just one of the many moments that we realized what a very special place The Village is. Have a very Happy Birthday Henri!!! - Katie P.
Dearest Henri, Our family would like to thank you for GKTW. The whole village and our time there was a blessing to not only our wish child Presley, but our whole family. Presley has loved Batman for years, even the benefit held for him when he was diagnosed with glycogen storage disease was Batman themed. So, when he got to meet "the real Batman" at the village on Halloween night,it was like a second wish had been granted. We had been in the hospital through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then almost missed being home for Christmas. So having the opportunity to celebrate these events together with all of our children was such a blessing. May God abundantly bless your birthday in the same way you have blessed our family and countless others. - Shelley B.
Happy Birthday Henri!! Our wish trip to GKTW for our 4yr old son, Nar, was a little over a year ago. It is hard to pick just one favorite memory because every single day at the village was simply magical! The first sign that we were surrounded by incredibly special people happened within hours of arriving at the village when we visited the Gingerbread House to eat. Our son was full of nervous, excited energy and started to run around the building. I was feeling slightly worried that he wasn't behaving when a staff member, Mercedes, noticed his love of running. She challenged Nar to a race while all the volunteers around us helped us get our meals together. Our son was thrilled! From that moment on, every time Nar & Mercedes met up at the Gingerbread house , they raced! They had an immediate friendship and something so small meant so much to us all! There are so many other amazing moments with the Angels you have working at GKTW! Nar talks about the Village on a regular basis and thinking of returning for a visit someday helped him get through his Bone Marrow Transplant. Being in such a magical place with so many wonderful people gave us the gift of watching our child experience pure, unbridled JOY.Our time at the village created some of the most beautiful moments and memories of our lives. With our most heartfelt Gratitude, The Scaia Family
We recently stayed at GKTW Village and were so very impressed by it all. The Castle of Miracles was humbling & inspiring, the detail of each building & walk way was inspired, the volunteers & employees were like family, it truly was a magical place to be! I wish we could have spent more time there exploring & playing, it was such an amazing spirit felt in the village. We loved every single minute of our visit & are so very glad we got to spend time making memories with our children that will last us all a lifetime. Happy birthday Henri! You have created a legacy of hope, light & love that encapsulates the magic of being a child. Thank you for your contribution to our family, as well as all others who have been village guests. What an incredible individual you are with such a rich, deep history. Thank you for giving kids the world so they can live a week without their typical cares & worries. You are a blessing to many. Best wishes!. - Loomis Family
Hi. We arrived at the village really tired as Ruth had been in the hospital just 2 weeks before our arrival. We kept her home and isolated so we could make the trip. Walking into our "home" we were greeted with a beautiful Mickey Mouse stuffy for her. She ran to him and hugged him so tight. I teased her he couldn't breath. They were inseparable the entire trip! Myself l just loved all the volunteers. Everyone was so kind and friendly. It is a place we're love and kindness abound. For families who get to experience it is like heaven on earth. - Gail W.
My daughter Ashlee had a wonderful wish trip with our family to Give Kids The World in Oct 1993, The trip was a nice respite from cancer treatments. Ashlee was more sick than most kids there. Henri kindly sought Ashlee out whenever we were on the grounds and spent time taking to her, making her laugh. I didn't know who Henri was until our last day there when a volunteer told me. Ashlee died 2 months later. I will always fondly remember Henri's kindness and the magical Give Kids The World. Thank you Henri. - Deborah
Happy Birthday Dear Henri, I am one of many, many Angels fortunate to volunteer at GKTW. I would like to thank you for acting upon your idea of creating this very special place for children and families (staff and Angles, too!) I know the children and their families are deeply touched by the Village. I see their appreciation in the twinkle of their eyes and the sparkle on their faces when we speak. I feel their appreciation in their hugs when they thank me for the Village. I feel love, care and appreciation in the air as I walk through the Village or work with other Angles. I have talked with many parents - through their tears of gratitude for GKTW - they are overwhelmed by their time in the Village and their child's ability to be normal for a bit. You have given me a gift that I can never repay - the opportunity to serve these children and their families! I am honored to be part of the Village. I look forward to my return trips to the area. Thank you, Henri and Happy Birthday to you! God Bless you. - Jan R.
My son Nathaniel had his wish trip to Disney world in 2006. We stayed at give kids the world. What an amazing place !!!!! Amazing people volunteer there and help make our kids stay so special. It did not matter when we went by the merry go round , they always put it in for Nathaniel to ride. We were so sad to leave. Our last night , we had mayor Clayton come tuck Nathaniel in. The one thing I will always remember is the right , warm hug mayor Clayton gave me. Wonderful place. Thank you Henri and happy 90th. You are a true hero to us!!! - Sara
We had the privilege to visit the Village last May for our Son Martin's MAW trip to Disney. We had the best time of our lives and enjoyed every thing the village had to offer. Martin's favorite thing to do was have breakfast then go ride the carousel every morning. He rode a different animal each day we were there. We would like to thank the founder Henri Landwirth for having this dream and fulfilling it so families like ours can keep making these memories with their children. - Jodi G.
Our family recently had the opportunity to stay at GKTW and nothing could ever explain how much it meant to our family, and no gesture could thank you enough. Elijah had a wonderful time. It was the first time he had really been out in public in 9 months, and what a grand re-entrance into the world he had! Elijah loved GKTW just as much as he loved visiting Disney World and the other theme parks. He asks everyday when we can go back so he can play mini golf, swim, and so he can check out the life size Candyland game that we didn't get a chance to see. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for creating such a magical place. - Christine D.
I came to the Village in 1994. It was the best trip I ever had. My dad was in the military and we moved so much. We never had time to take a real family vacation because of my illness. In 1994 the doctors gave me six months to live. My make a wish was for my family to have a real family vacation together and have good memories just in case I didn't make it through the Bone Marrow Transplant I needed. When we arrived at the Village it was so great. We had the time of our lives. I saw my parents stress free for the first time in my life. Seeing other sick kids made me feel right at home. No one made fun of me because we all were sick. After my dad retired we moved back to Florida and I became involved with Kids Club. Then my mom got a job at the Village. I started volunteering and giving back to the place that gave me the strength to go back home and fight for my life. I got to meet so many great kids. My favorite person I met was Henri. We quickly became great f riends. He is such a great person. I love him with all my heart. He did so much for me but most of all his friendship is what I treasure. Happy 90th Henri. I love you. Your friend John. - John G.
My grandmother Lillian Schwartz was one of the original volunteers who worked for Give Kids the World. Henri, she spoke about what a great person you were and I think she went to some dinners and received an award. I know when she passed away, you honored her with a Stone Paver with her name on it. She loved meeting the children and their families at the airport in Orlando and helping them get their rented car, or get situated. She adored all the children who she got to meet. Thank you so much for creating a wonderful organization. - Geri M.
I had my wish granted 11yrs ago. My favorite part was Mayor Clayton tucking me in. Wonderful memories helped me through many operations after that. My family always come back to find my wishing star when we are on vacation. Thank you for everything! - Jennie