On Saturday, July 22, 2023, Disney VoluntEARS descended on Pearson Park in Anaheim for a special morning beautifying the park and celebrating 40 years of volunteerism. This event kicked off a summer of service initiative of beautifying four parks in Anaheim that is being funded by Disney. Disney VoluntEARS is partnering with the City of Anaheim and Love Anaheim for this initiative. It also comes as the Disneyland Resort celebrates its 68th anniversary and The Walt Disney Company celebrates 100 years of making magic. Along with beautifying Pearson Park, Disney VoluntEARS will be working on Pioneer Park, Chaparral Park, and Oak Canyon Nature Center this summer.
The kickoff celebration was held in Pearson Park Amphitheater and began shortly at 7:00 AM. Disneyland Ambassador Mark Everett King Jr. served as the emcee for the morning. He shared about the history of Disney VoluntEARS and reiterated Disney’s commitment to investing in the community. King Jr. was joined by Mickey Mouse and leaders of the City of Anaheim and Love Anaheim, who shared their gratitude to Disney and Disney VoluntEARS. They also shared their goals for investing in the community as well. Anaheim City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Natalie Rubalcava presented both Disney and Love Anaheim with certificates honoring their contributions to the community.
Following the kickoff event’s conclusion, over 100 volunteers consisting of Disney VoluntEARS, members of the community, and Love Anaheim members made their way out into the park. The morning came alive as these volunteers worked to beautify Pearson Park by planting new trees, painting fences, gardening, and more! As the volunteers worked on the projects, the positive energy could be felt throughout the park. The volunteers were all having a great time. Disney VoluntEARS would walk up to Disneyland Ambassador Mark Everett King Jr. and share how excited they were for the day and reminisce about other projects they had worked on through the years.
History of Disney VoluntEARS
Disney VoluntEARS began in 1983 when a very special group of Disneyland cast members came together to make a difference in the community by volunteering and providing meaningful services to the community. This group was organized as the Disneyland Community Action Team. The group would assist multiple nonprofit organizations in Orange County, California. The movement eventually grew beyond Disneyland and Orange County. In 1992, The Walt Disney Company launched Disney VoluntEARS. Disney VoluntEARS continues to support communities around the globe with meaningful support. In general, Disney VoluntEARS focuses on the communities where Disney businesses and cast members can be found. Through the decades, Disney VoluntEARS have given well nearly 13 million volunteer hours and $23 million in Disney VoluntEARS Grants. This has been through community projects, volunteering in hospitals, beach cleanups, community builds, and more!
The Disney VoluntEARS program is a part of Disney that deserves much more attention than it gets. This is a group of people who want to make a positive difference in the world, and have a grand old time doing it. While watching the celebration ceremony and then the projects at Pearson Park, it was impossible to not realize how special this program and the people who bring it to life really are. This kickoff of the parks beautification project in Anaheim is just one story of thousands (if not millions) where Disney cast members go above and beyond to volunteer and make a difference in their community. This is not a glamorous way to make a difference but it is an important one. Whether it is weeding gardens, planting trees, supporting children’s hospitals, or cleaning up beaches, the Disney VoluntEARS are using their free time (they do not get paid to do these projects by Disney) for good. That is a very good thing.
Moving forward, Daps Magic will be looking for and sharing stories of different ways that Disney VoluntEARS are making a difference in their communities around the globe. This is a wonderful program, and the celebration of its 40th anniversary is worth recognizing and honoring.
What do you think of this special milestone for Disney VoluntEARS and the good work that they do? Would you like to hear more stories about what they do in communities around the world? What do you like best about Disney VoluntEARS? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!