Eight year old Andrew could never sleep without his blanket and tonight was no different. So when bedtime arrived and Andrew appeared restless, “Give Kids The World Village” counselors knew just what the problem was and started a campus-wide search.
Andrew was losing his fight with a deadly form of leukemia and knew that he would not survive much longer. After an exhaustive search of all of the usual places, Andrew was questioned again and quietly told a counselor that he threw his blanket “into the sky”.
The non-denominational campus chapel ceiling is exquisitely painted to look like the sky and that is where Andrew thought God was. He knew that he would be with God soon and wanted to make sure that his blanket would be there when he went to heaven.
Andrew managed to throw his blanket so that it came to rest on the perimeter of the tray ceiling earlier in the day and that is where counselors found it. They managed to return it to Andrew so that he could get a good nights sleep. Andrew was with God a few days later.
This is just one of many stories that you will hear from volunteers at the “Give Kids The World Village” in Kissimmee, Florida; stories of courage, love, caring and an occasional happy ending as defined by a child conquering a life-threatening illness.
Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) is a 70-acre, non-profit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accommodations at its whimsical resort, donated attractions tickets (Disney, Universal, etc.), meals and more for a week-long, cost-free fantasy vacation. With the help of many generous individuals, corporations and partnering wish-granting organizations, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 85,000 families from all 50 United States and over 60 countries.
Peter Yerke and Mark Monzeglio create most of the “whimsical” giant foam flowers, cookies, fruit, vegetables, figures and other creations that make up part of this themed environment. Smooth-On’s EZ Spray™, Jr. system and Styrocoat™ foam coating is an important part making these pieces. The coating provides a tough durable surface which is then painted by the artists.
The following steps illustrate some examples of Mr. Yerke and Mr. Monzeglio’s handiwork which are on display throughout the village, and a "behind the scenes look" at the StyroCoat™ foam-coating process.
For more information or to make a donation to this worthy cause, please contact:
Give Kids The World Village
210 South Bass Road
Kissimmee, FL 34746
Here you can see some of the wonders at Give Kids the World Village. The production area for the foam coating preccess is equipped with adequate ventilation and a compressor. A giant leaf design has been cut out of styrofoam for a "giant strawberry" piece that is being created. To start, the static mixing wand is attached to the Styrocoat® spray cartridges and the cartridges are loaded into the EZ~Spray® gun. The tip and air feed can then also be attached to the gun. The craftsmen working on the project are sure to wear the proper Niosh approved respirators and gloves while working with these materials.
Now it's time to begin applying the first coat to the giant leaf! Notice the stacks of other cut-foam pieces awaiting the coating process as well. The second coat must be applied very quickly, as the coating will quickly cure to a tough, impact resistant surface ready for painting. Peter Yerke can be seen displaying the coated piece. The next step is to sand, paint, and attach the leaves to the base of the strawberry.
The Styrocoat® not only provides impact resistance, but allows the foam elements to be painted with durable, UV resistant paints which stand up well to the Florida sun. This demonstrates the finished 'leaves' shown in the spray pictorial. This strawberry is just one of the many foam sculptures at GKTW.
Richard Boturla (left) and Peter Yerke (right) stand alongside another Syrocoat® foam coated piece. A stack of Giant Foam Cookies are lightweight and withstand children climbing on them. In the final picture, Richard Boturla (left) and Peter Yerke (right) stand beside the Huge Golden Carrots - another interesting example of what can be achieved using the Styrocoat® system.