Apr. 18, 2012

Spring break trip Gives Kids the World

Give Kids volunteers

For three years, David Parfitt, director of the Teaching and Learning Center, back row center, has led alternative spring break trips of students who volunteer at Give Kids the World, a resort that offers children with life-threatening illnesses and their families a cost-free fantasy vacation. The Geneseo crew helps serve meals and do other necessary jobs to make the experience a great one. /PHOTO PROVIDED.



Thirteen Geneseo students recently spent their spring break giving children a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Led by David Parfitt, director of the Teaching and Learning Center, the students volunteered their time and talents for 140 families staying at Give Kids the World in Kissimmee, Fla.
Give Kids the World is a nonprofit resort located near Walt Disney World and other attractions, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to week-long, cost-free fantasy vacations.

They spent the week helping with practical tasks to keep the resort running smoothly, such as organizing storage sheds, and joined in the fun for families by painting nails and performing other fun primping at the kids' spa. They also served meals and performed other volunteer work. Parfitt also took a turn transporting families around the resort in a fire-truck-designed tug tractor. It is the third year Parfitt has led the alternative spring break trip. He blogged about the experience and posted photos.

A Walt Disney World aficionado, Parfitt felt fortunate that he has been able to take his family several times. He created the experience as a way that he, as well as students, can give back to the community. Walt Disney performer Yehaa Bob Jackson performed in the resort for the Geneseo crew and families this time. Last year, Parfitt organized a performance on campus by Yehaa Bob that raised $600 for Give Kids the World.

"This trip has turned into one of the highlights of my academic year. In my role as director of the Teaching and Learning Center, most of my daily work is with the faculty, and I relish this time spent with the students engaged in service," says Parfitt. "One student said, 'The trip has been a life-changing experience.' Those are the transformational learning moments you live for in academics."