ACCS students help grant wishes to children in Orlando

Published 1:09 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — Students from the Adams County Christian School student council recently spent three days helping Make-a-Wish children at a charitable resort.

Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Fla., is a large nonprofit resort that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to nearly 8,000 children with life-threatening illnesses and their families each year.

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For the second year in a row, ACCS students volunteered at the resort, performing tasks such as running the kitchen, spa and entertaining the young children.

“Everything has to be run by volunteers,” said Mason, a sponsor for the trip. “No one works there; there are only volunteers.”

Upon arriving at the village, children receive free tickets to any park they want, such as Walt Disney World or Sea World, Mason said.

“We worked Halloween and Village Idol events,” Mason said. “(Village Idol) is the village’s version of American Idol.”

The volunteer students said they most memorably worked at Star Tower and the Castle of Miracles, where children have been placing personalized stars on the ceilings of since 1995.

“When you walk in (Star Tower and the Castle of Miracles), each child gets a star that stays on the wall forever,” Mason said. “Those stars give you one more thing to hold onto.”

The trip to the volunteer village made them realize how much of an impact they could have on the lives of children in need.

“It makes you feel good, makes you think of how lucky you are,” sophomore Shelby Mason said. “These kids need this, it could be their last thing.”

One student, Heidi Zimmerman, said while wearing a Minnie Mouse visor, a girl pointed it out to her parents and asked if Zimmerman was Minnie Mouse’s helper.

“It’s really good to be able to give back,” Zimmerman said. “I told the girl Minnie Mouse was her favorite and that you have a safe time back home. I gave her my hat and she gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Senior Bailey Boyd said some of her peers at ACCS thought her group was using the volunteer work to go to amusement parks, when they actually just enjoy their time with the children.

“A lot of kids take this kind of stuff for granted,” sponsor Dee Ray said. “I was impressed, since it was a no-cellphone zone. We didn’t see a cellphone until we got back on the bus.”

The students attended the village April 17 through 19 and collectively volunteered 430 plus hours by the end of the week.