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Volunteer Together with Family Volunteer Day at Walt Disney World

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On Saturday morning, instead of lounging around the house enjoying the first day of the weekend, we attended the first annual Family Volunteer Day at Walt Disney World. While we were gathering to volunteer together in Florida, across the world at all the Disney Parks, others were doing the same.

What Is Family Volunteer Day?

Family Volunteer Day is a global day of service that celebrates the power of families who work together to support their communities and neighborhoods.

How Do You Find Out About Family Volunteer Day?

I found out on Facebook! Sometimes checking local events is super helpful in finding out about opportunities like this. Later at a media event, I met the person in charge of media invitations, but we were coming anyway because this is where my heart is – making memories with my family and spreading joy in our community.

Family Volunteer Day at Walt Disney World Resort

The Walt Disney Company and Points of Light honored the “Volunteer Family of the Year” at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, Nov. 23, 2019, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. During an inspiring ceremony, the Family Volunteer of the Year, the Aguirre family of McAllen, Texas, was celebrated by guests and Disney Cast Members along with Walt Disney World Resort President Josh D’Amaro (left of Mickey Mouse) and Disney characters. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

This year, the Walt Disney Company and Points of Light honored the “Volunteer Family of the Year” at Disney Springs. After a nationwide search on “Good Morning America”, the Aguirre family was chosen as the first Disney and Points of Light “Volunteer Family of the Year.”

The Aguirres started their organization after their daughter asked how they could help the homeless in their community. What started as a small family volunteer project has now grown to a volunteer group of more than 100 people delivering 40 meals a day to people in need.

The Walt Disney Company and Points of Light honored the “Volunteer Family of the Year” at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, Nov. 23, 2019, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. During an inspiring ceremony, thousands of guests and Disney Cast Members celebrated the Aguirre family of McAllen, Texas (purple shirts), along with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek (center), Walt Disney World Resort President Josh D’Amaro (right of Mickey Mouse), Points of Light CEO Natalye Paquin (left of Minnie Mouse), and Disney characters. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

During the ceremony, thousands of guests and Disney Cast Members celebrated the Aguirre family of McAllen, Texas, along with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek, the new Walt Disney World Resort President Josh D’Amaro, Points of Light CEO Natalye Paquin, and Disney characters.

Volunteer Village at Disney Springs

After the ceremony, everyone was invited to the Volunteer Village to celebrate the power of volunteerism. Thousands of Disney Cast Members and guests participated in events with local nonprofits that encouraged families to volunteer in their communities.

This was my favorite part!

We filled hygiene bags for Clean the World. Each hygiene kit includes items such as a bar of recycled soap, repurposed bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, a washcloth, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a note written to encourage the recipient. Our kit also included a pair of socks.

Another station was where we got dirty. We made seed mounds that will be planted around Walt Disney World Resort property to help feed the butterflies. While we keep saying we will build a butterfly garden when we move into a house, we were reminded that we can have a container garden right on our back porch! Did you know that when you buy dill weed you shouldn’t buy it from big box stores? Me either! Local nurseries are the best place to find native dill weed because they typically don’t spray it with pesticides to keep it looking pretty.

Writing a note of thanks to those were work hard to save animals was definitely a highlight of their day. My oldest son drew a giraffe to say thanks.

Finally, we wrote thank you postcards to our military servicemen and women. Thanking them for their service and for helping to keep our country safe. They even drew pictures for them. I hope that they bring a smile to whoever gets their postcards.

We had an amazing morning serving together doing little acts of kindness to help spread joy and happiness. 

To me, THIS is Disney. You know how much I love Disney Parks and character interactions. We vacationed in Florida for years before moving here and did all the Disney vacation things.

This is why we keep coming back. Disney is about spreading happiness throughout our communities and I am here for it. I can’t wait to see how we can partner with them next.

What Is Points of Light?

Points of Light is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. It mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Points of Light engages 5 million volunteers in 20 million hours of service each year. They bring the power of people to where it’s needed most through volunteers in 250 cities across 37 countries and with partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations.

WE CAN FIND MEANING AND REWARD BY SERVING SOME HIGHER PURPOSE THAN OURSELVES, A SHINING PURPOSE, THE ILLUMINATION OF A THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT… WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE. “— PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FOUNDER OF POINTS OF LIGHT

How Do I Get Involved?

Points of Light makes it SUPER easy to get involved wherever you live! Send a text to the number above and you can choose where you live. They told me you can even search for opportunities by age!! You have no idea how excited I was to hear that. When my children were tiny, we tried to volunteer at different places and we weren’t allowed because of their ages. This is a great way to make sure your whole family can volunteer together in your community!

Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program

Disney and Points of Light have inspired more than 3 million hours of service through the Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program, which grants Disney theme park tickets to eligible U.S. nonprofits and schools for hosting family-friendly volunteer projects.

Since launching in January 2018, more than 700,000 families have volunteered. While more than 8,500 nonprofits and schools have participated in the Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program. The Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program is part of Points of Light’s ongoing effort to encourage more families to volunteer together and builds on their annual Family Volunteer Day, an 11-year partnership with The Walt Disney Company.

How Do I Earn a 1 Day Ticket to Walt Disney World?

Disney Parks and Points of Light celebrate family volunteerism by rewarding nonprofits and schools in the United States with Disney 1-Day Park Hopper tickets for hosting – or participating in – family volunteering activities. This is subject to the completion of the project.

To be eligible, the projects must:

  • include families
  • help your community or organization
  • include an educational element
  • be sustainable, recurring projects
  • be a project where adult family members and students can volunteer together or at the same event
  • have a minimum of 15 volunteers, which includes a combination of adults and youth.

An eligible project would go beyond something like a canned food drive. Instead, you could hold a canned food drive where families are asked to talk about healthy eating. Each family would be asked to donate three-five items that would be part of a healthy meal. The kids bring in the cans, sort them (by size, by meal, by type of food, etc) to create meal boxes and put in cards and drawings with greetings and inspiring words of encouragement, and then the boxes are donated to a food bank. That is an eligible family volunteering project.

Even without earning a 1 Day Ticket to Walt Disney World, I hope that you consider texting that number to Points of Light to see where your time and energy is most needed in your community. Our world needs more kindness and joy. Thanks, Walt Disney World and Points of Light, for that reminder.

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