HOLIDAY, Fla. – Tampa-based children’s charity Kids Wish Network hosted an event this weekend to honor the young athletes who participated in this year’s Special Olympics Broward County. During a day of festivities, Kids Wish Network distributed toys and gifts to children from the Broward County area. Kids Wish Network is an international charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations.
“It was our pleasure to host the young athletes of the Special Olympics Broward County. These children are an inspiration to young people across this country struggling with life-altering illnesses,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director, Anna Lanzatella. “Through this partnership and others like it, we are able to honor the hard work and commitment that children of all backgrounds and circumstances are demonstrating every day throughout the country.”
Although known for its wish granting for children facing life-altering issues, Kids Wish Network also works with more than 180 hospitals and care facilities throughout the United States and Canada to distribute more than $2 million in gifts and necessities each year. Kids Wish Network provides toys and necessities to hospitals, advocacy centers, shelters and other facilities for distribution to the children in their care.
This weekend’s event was made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Arnold and Joy Gottlieb Family Foundation, whose ongoing support has allowed Kids Wish Network to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of toys and necessities to hospitalized children in the Florida area. Kids Wish Network’s Board member Andy Gottlieb, a trustee of the Arnold and Joy Gottlieb Family Foundation, volunteers his time with Special Olympics Broward County as a specialized coach in aquatics, basketball and soccer. Gottlieb and Lanzatella coordinated this weekend’s event, in partnership with Special Olympics Broward County Director Linda Mills, which included a day of laughter, activities and music for young athletes, aged 2 to 16. Before they departed, the children were each given gift bags overflowing with age-appropriate toys and games.
“The event was a big success,” said Gottlieb. “This was the first time the two organizations joined together and it was a lot of fun for the kids. They were just smiling and having a good time. Hopefully, based on this event’s success, we can make this an annual event and it will grow and we’ll have more and more people get involved.”
A division of Special Olympics Florida, Special Olympics Broward County was founded in 1972 and currently serves over 600 athletes of varying ability levels and offers competition in 22 different team and individual sports. Without regard to economic, demographic, religious, or social factors, and without fee, the athletes are trained by certified coaches and supported and encouraged by more than 1,000 volunteers.
For photos from this event, visit www.kidswishnetwork.org/media.
For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit www.kidswishnetwork.org.