Several Visit Orlando staff members recently came together to volunteer at The Russell Home for Atypical Children, established in 1951 as the country’s first nonprofit caring for brain-damaged youth. The Russell Home, located in Edgewood, has been an indispensable part of our community ever since and, in fact, is a charity Visit Orlando has worked with in the past.
In 2016, the organization received a donation totaling $195,125, thanks to Visit Orlando's Magical Dining program, where one dollar from every meal goes to a local charity. Those funds enabled the Russell Home to build a 1,200-square-foot girls’ dorm it named for Visit Orlando. As a result, the group has been able to serve even more children in need.
"The Russell Home for Atypical Children has been blessed to work with Visit Orlando," said Vantrease Blair, executive director. "This event changed the life of our home; the gift we received allowed us to complete the girls dorm within our new home! Since then, the Visit Orlando team has visited the home both personally and through their office, working on volunteer projects. The entire team of Visit Orlando truly loves Orlando and works within the community to make Orlando a great home!"
Our team members were excited to spend a day giving back to such a wonderful organization in a deeply personal way. Together, they assisted with several important tasks, from vehicle maintenance to organizing pantries and spending one-on-one time with residents in the classroom.
“When I signed up to volunteer, I knew I was going to walk away feeling good,” said MaryBeth Pierre, convention marketing senior representative. “But I ended up gaining so much more. I made a new friend, Kenny, who happened to be the oldest resident at the Russell Home, and I was also reminded how even small efforts can make a huge impact. To put things simply, my heart was full. I look forward to returning to the Russell Home and visiting my new friend.”
Supporting the needs of our community is an important role for Visit Orlando, and one we continue to expand upon. Look for an announcement soon about the next recipients of our 2021 Visit Orlando Magical Dining program, which runs Aug. 27 through Oct. 3.