Earlier this week, Mickey Mouse and more than 250 Walt Disney World Cast Members kicked off the month-long 30th anniversary celebration of Disney VoluntEARS.
The VoluntEARS program is a global, company-wide initiative that provides Cast Members with the chance to contribute their time and make a positive impact on their community. In 2012, Walt Disney World VoluntEARS donated 230,000 hours to support more than 1,700 organizations in Central Florida. And this year, Disney is donating $916,000 to 450 local non-profit agencies and service groups through Disney’s EARS to You program.
“Walt Disney World is proud to be a member of the Central Florida community,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “We live in a dynamic community with many needs, and our VoluntEARS invest their time and talents in a variety of endeavors. Through them, we inspire children and families, revitalize our environment and improve the quality of life.”
This month, Cast Members around the world are commemorating the 30th anniversary by participating in activities that promote the happiness and well-being of children and families. Cast Members at the Walt Disney World Resort have already committed to nearly 50 volunteer activities for the month of May, including serving meals to the homeless and building playgrounds in local neighborhoods.
At the kick-off event, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Community Involvement Team was named the VoluntEAR Team of the Year and veterinary assistant Liz Hedrick as the Disney VoluntEAR of the Year. Both Hedrick and Disney’s Animal Kingdom tem received $3,000 each for charities of their choice – Wildlife Rehabilitation of Central Florida and the SPCA of Central Florida.
The VoluntEARS program started in 1983 at the Disneyland Resort and became a company-wide program in the 1990s.