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Dreams Take Flight

Vancouver, BC – 150 of the Lower Mainland’s poorest kids are enjoying the day of their lives today as they make a whirlwind tour of Disneyland thanks to the Dreams Take Flight program. Ten of those kids have been invited from Union Gospel Mission’s Families and Children’s programs.

The kids said goodbye to their parents and boarded their own plane at the crack of dawn today, and will be given fanny packs and cameras to enjoy their day on the rides. In the early evening, they will get $25 of Disney money to spend on souvenirs, and the chance to visit Mickey Mouse at his house. In years prior, the children were given a bag full of toys from Mattel Corp plus a backpack of school supplies and an embroidered Mickey Mouse hat.

This incredible one-day marathon journey was the brainchild of Air Canada employees who, from pilots to baggage people, volunteer their time to take these vulnerable children on a plane for the first time, to a magical land they’d otherwise never get to visit.

“There is nothing quite like seeing the look on a child’s face when you tell them that they are going to Disneyland in a few days,” says Union Gospel Mission Coordinator of Families Ministries Stephanie Curtiss. “And it is all the sweeter because these are kids who are living in situations where they would never have dreamed of doing this otherwise. They’ll remember it for the rest of their lives.”

The trip will be over in a day, but the results may last a lifetime. Curtiss says that the kids who have had this opportunity in years past are doing better in school and generally feel better about themselves.

Union Gospel Mission has been reaching the hungry, hurting and homeless for nearly 70 years. Through its 10 locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides counseling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery to men, women, youth and children struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. UGM is a proud member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. To find out more, visit www.ugm.ca.

19/10/2009
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