To lift the spirits of Florida children in the wake of Hurricane Irma, LEGOLAND Florida Resort will donate 18,000 theme park tickets to the UNICEF Kid Power Schools program and 2,000 tickets to Citrus Center Boys & Girls Clubs. Made in conjunction with Merlin’s Magic Wand, the global charity of the park's parent company Merlin Entertainments, the total donation is valued at more than $1.8 million, making it the largest ticket giveaway in the resort’s nearly six-year history.
“As a resort built for kids, we felt compelled to do something special for Florida’s children after Hurricane Irma, which left so many households facing months of recovery,” said Rex Jackson, general manager of LEGOLAND Florida Resort. “While we can’t turn the power back on for those families, we can put smiles on their faces.”
The resort will donate 18,000 tickets to the UNICEF Kid Power Schools Program, a teacher-led experience that incorporates lessons and activities with the world’s first Wearable-for-Good®. In the spring of 2017, more than 200 educators participated in Kid Power’s lifesaving journey. More than 80 percent of students reached with the UNICEF Kid Power program in Florida are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Participating teachers will distribute two tickets per student, which is intended to allow each child to visit the Winter Haven, Fla., theme park with a parent or guardian.
“From UNICEF’s 70 years of work in emergencies and in schools around the world, we know the importance of ‘play’ and free time in helping kids heal from stressful situations, such as a natural disaster,” said Jeanette Duffy, UNICEF Kid Power program director. “This is a fantastic chance for these Florida students to just be kids!”
In Polk County, which LEGOLAND Florida Resort has called home since opening in October 2011, Citrus Center Boys & Girls Clubs will receive 2,000 tickets for distribution to the children it serves through sites in Winter Haven, Haines City and Lake Wales.
Since 1954, the organization has worked to better the lives of children throughout the county’s eastern communities, with programs focused on character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports and fitness, and technology skills.
“This will be such a tremendous treat for our kids,” said Kerry Wilson, the organization’s president and board chair. “Kids who seldom have the opportunity to go to a wonderful place like LEGOLAND.”
Curtis Reddick, chief professional officer for Citrus Center Boys & Girls Clubs, said the donation “gives our kids and their parents time to spend a fun-filled day together.”