For many kids, summer vacation doesn’t look much like a vacation at all. Limited means, among other obstacles, keep a lot of young people home all summer. No camp, no day trips, and certainly no extravagant vacations. For 150 local kids, the last week of August looked just the way summer vacation should; they spent a blissful 5 days in Orlando, Florida thanks to the Rodman Disney for Kids program.
The Rodman Disney for Kids Program has been helping kids end their summer with a bang, in Walt Disney World, since 1992. Mary Scannell, VP of Programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, has coordinated and run all 27 trips. Over 2,500 young people have been on the Disney for Kids trip in total, including the 150 who took part this year.
The kids chosen to partake in the 27th Annual trip participate in programming at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, as well as other local youth organizations. The Disney for Kids trip is considered the ultimate reward for those who display a good attitude and willingness to contribute positively to their community, as well as maintaining consistent attendance and putting in a solid effort in school. Kids are notified that they’ll be attending with a much-celebrated call home.
The Rodman for Kids organization funds the trip 100%, thanks to support from generous individuals and Rodman Ford employees who donate to the cause. All the kids need to do is show up and have the time of their lives! Their parents rest easy knowing that all expenses are paid and there will be no financial burden to their family.
“The Disney for Kids trip creates memories that last a lifetime but the memories are not solely based on the thrill of the rides. I’ve come to realize that a 45-minute wait for Space Mountain actually gives us a chance to deepen our relationships with children. As we weave through the line, the children talk about their friends and their family. We have conversations about their schools and the upcoming year. But most of all they talk about themselves –what they think about the world; their likes and dislikes, their fears and their triumphs. I have learned that these moments allow children to feel listened to and valued,” said Mary Kinsella Scannell, Vice President of the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester.
The kids had an exciting week hitting the parks, including The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Blizzard Beach, Hollywood Studios, and Universal’s Island of Adventure. The group returned with newfound independence, friendships and experiences to carry with them into the new school year.
“We go to do so many fun things on this trip and go to so many places like Blizzard Beach and the Magic Kingdom,” said one of the grateful kids.
For 150 Dorchester kids, the opportunity to JUST BE A KID for one week was a game-changer.