A week ago, I had the amazing opportunity to be involved with Dreams Take Flight. This is a non-profit organization that takes a plane full of needy/special kids (and escorts) to Disneyland for the day. Yes, Disneyland for the day. 1 day – actually, 8 hours. What a wonderful experience! I have thought about this post for the past week and have come to realize that words can not truly express this experience. But, having said that, I will try.
Our school has had the pleasure of being involved with Dreams Take Flight YVR (Vancouver) for the past 3 years. Each year, we have had the opportunity to take 5 of our students on this trip of a lifetime for many of our kids. They are chosen using the criteria provided by Dreams Take Flight. Even using this criteria, we have so many students at our school who would be perfect for a trip like this. It was really difficult to choose!
But really, while the trip was perfect for our kids, I wonder if myself and my fellow escorts enjoyed it even more than they did. It was amazing to literally watch the experience through their eyes. I spent much of the very long day just watching their faces and their reactions to everything around them. For instance, upon arrival to the hangar at 3:45am, they were surprised when they were handed a complete new outfit (shirt, pants, shorts, sweatshirt, socks, and shoes) and asked to get changed in this new outfit for their special day. Our students were so grateful and some even asked if they got to keep these new clothes after that day. They were shocked when then answer was, “Yes, of course!”
The joy and wonderment continued throughout the day. While I won’t go through everything in detail (as I don’t want to spoil it for others in coming years), I will just say that each of the 106 children on that plane to Disney was very fortunate and came home overwhelmed by the generosity of this organization and all the volunteers who participated (as did I).
I would like to personally thank Dreams Take Flight for the amazing experience. This is one that I will remember for a life-time. I am so grateful to have been able to take part and be a part of making this a day that was all about each of the kids. It was a day that was all about making each child think only of that day and nothing more. This day gave each of them the opportunity to be different for a day. They could be someone who didn’t have specific expectations on their behaviour. They could be someone who didn’t have to worry about what they were going to have for lunch or be concerned if they were going to go to bed hungry. They could be themselves – special individuals in their own right. They had each of us volunteers willingly at their beck and call all day long. What they asked for, they got. What they wanted, was theirs.
As a child myself who grew up in many of the same difficult conditions as some of our kids, I was in awe just watching their experience, living through them. It was truly a very special day – for us all.
I will remember this experience and my fellow escorts forever.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Dreams Take Flight.
You can follow Dreams Take Flight YVR on Twitter here and on Facebook here. You can see the set of photos from the 22nd Dreams Take Flight trip here.
If you are interested in making a donation for this trip, you can make a donation here. Every dollar counts!