Disney Wishes Help Get a Life Back on Track

Have you ever wondered what happens to the coins used to make wishes in fountains and other water features all over the Walt Disney World Resort property? Well for the last several years, those coins have helped make wishes come true for the children and teens served by Embrace Families.

Last year, Disney Cast Members voted to designate their “wishing well” funds to make sure that our youth services team has the resources they need to help our older youth get back on their feet when they need it the most. These funds are used to help with such necessities as: deposits to move into apartments, fixing broken down cars, buying groceries to stock a new refrigerator, supplies for school or a new job, gas cards and bus passes to get between work and school, etc… Things that kids often turn to their parents for help with, but that those in the foster care system must figure out on their own.

Having access to these Disney funds allows us to make decisions to help without hesitation. For example: One of our young adults reached out just last month to let us know that he needed help. He was struggling to pay for a car he couldn’t afford. That had caused him to slip into homelessness, and left him without money for food or supplies. It was cold outside. He felt alone and hopeless.

Recognizing that this was a good kid in a bad place, Keri Flynn, Embrace Families’ youth services director, stepped in to help. Using funds from the Disney Wishing Well allocation, she was able to get him into a hotel room and a warm meal. She also provided additional gift cards to help him get the basic supplies he needed, and she quickly engaged our team to help him sell the car that was causing problems.

Often it is a simple reminder that they have someone rooting for them that makes a difference for our kids. Three days after that cold night in a hotel room, this young man enrolled back into school. He has since started classes in culinary management at Daytona State; and is staying with a friend until he graduates in June. He is also working through our jobs program to get a part time job in a kitchen.

There is more than one wish coming true thanks to those coins from our friends at Walt Disney Resort!