The Snowball Express is a 4-day event at Disney World sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation for Gold Star Families from across the United States. These are families with children who have lost a parent while in full-time military service. The focus of this amazing program is to help these families, who have sacrificed so much, create new and happy memories during a difficult time of the year. Last year over 250 TFA students, parents, and faculty participated in creating a wonderful experience for the 722 Snowball Children and had an amazing time doing so.
You can watch a video recap of TFA’s participation here:
Snowball Express was extremely grateful for the contributions of TFA and this year we hope to exceed their expectations. The “main event” that we participate in is welcoming all of the families on arrival day at the Coronado Springs Resort on Saturday, December 7th. There are a number of tasks that we performed last year and they are listed as part of the sign-up process, but we learned that volunteers need to be prepared to go where they are needed as the event has many moving parts that are changing constantly. All roles are critical to the success of the event and all are equally important, so please keep that in mind. We hope that many more will choose to participate this year!
A Few Guidelines:
Any Upper School student can participate without a parent being present. Community service hours will be awarded for the hours volunteered. They register via the form below only.
Middle School students are also encouraged to attend, but they must be accompanied by at least one adult. They also only need to complete the form below.
At this time, Lower School children are not allowed to attend unless the family has older children (MS/US) and parents are also attending as a family volunteer event. (Please understand that 100 arriving buses, flexible job assignments, long walks accompanying families, and other required volunteer tasks are not conducive to having young TFA students attend).
All adults, including Middle School parents, faculty, and those with work-related security clearance, must be cleared by the Gary Sinise Foundation security firm due to their access to the 1200 children who attend. The background check cost is $9.95 and the link can be found at the end of the form below. PLEASE SAVE YOUR EMAIL RECEIPT from the security company that you receive when you complete it.
All volunteers will receive a free Snowball Express t-shirt and a free meal during their shift. (Note: student volunteers do not get the meal, but meals are available to purchase as part of the form below. Student volunteers are encouraged to purchase a meal this year as we learned last year that there are limited food choices on-site).
The very full day is broken down into three 4-hour shifts (10:00am – 2:00pm) (1:00pm – 5:00pm) & (4:00pm – 8:00pm) The shifts overlap so that new arrivals can be assigned and trained by those volunteers ending the prior shift. Volunteers are welcome to work more than one shift or even all day, but in order to make sure we have enough for each shift, it will be difficult to make shift changes, so please mark your calendars as soon as you sign up for your shift/s.
We truly look forward to partnering with our TFA families to serve these Gold Star families during the holiday season. If you do register to volunteer for Snowball Express, we will be in touch as the date nears with necessary further details and instructions. Thank you and God bless.