It’s that time of year again when Disneyland Resort honors cast members who give back throughout the year by announcing the Disney VoluntEAR of the year. With April being National Volunteer Month, Disneyland Resort is pleased to announce this year’s winners.
To become the Disney VoluntEAR of the year, cast members are nominated by their peers before attending the Disney VoluntEAR of the year ceremony where they are honored with medals and awarded $2,500 for a nonprofit organization of their choice.
During this year’s ceremony held on April 8th, Disneyland Resort announced the VoluntEAR of the year was Craig Kawamoto. Kawamoto regularly volunteers at the Orange County Food bank, as well as, the resort’s military care package drives, Walk the Farm charity walk at Tanaka Farms in Irvine and much more! It is no wonder why his fellow cast members nominated him. “Seeing so many of my direct reports get involved with VoluntEARing efforts has been wonderful,” said Kawamoto. “I definitely wanted to be someone who ‘walked the talk’. Being able to inspire others to volunteer has been very personally rewarding.” Kawamoto champions volunteerism in his role at the Walt Disney Travel company by leading team building events and motivating his colleagues to get involved. Congratulations, Craig!
Disneyland Resort also named the VoluntEAR team of the year: The Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, Reservation Sales team. The 20-member team, which includes Craig Kawamoto, volunteered a total of nearly 1,400 hours in 2018 alone. Team member Alondra Preciado recalls a favorite memory from when the team volunteered at an Orange County Food bank event, “We had a wonderful turnout of 11 Aulani Participants to help pack food boxes, and with that high number, we were able to have our own dedicated product line. We celebrate each other’s victories and encourage the concept of Ohana.” Congratulations to the Reservation sales team at Aulani Resort & Spa.
Lastly, during the Disney VoluntEAR of the year ceremony, Disneyland resort also named the VoluntEAR family of the year. Family members Melinda Lawless, Cory Lawless, Melissa Vince and Mila Lawless became a family of volunteer after Mila turned 5 years old. The family can often be found volunteering at events such as Relay for Life, CHOC walk in the park, toys for tots drives and the Orange County food bank. Mila’s mother, Melinda, was particularly touched when Mila chose to highlight volunteering as part of a class assignment, “Mila didn’t want to talk about being good at hula dancing or karate as her favorite hobby. She said, ‘I’m good at helping people; I want to put that.’ Her poster has a picture of her performing her cardboard duties at the Orange County Food Bank. It warmed my heart that volunteering was the first thing she thought of, and that she’s proud she helps others. We are fortunate to work at the happiest place on earth, and if we can spread some of the happiness around by volunteering in our community, we want to take the opportunities we’re given to brighten someone else’s life.” Congratulations to the Lawless family!
Congratulations to the Disney VoluntEAR of the year nominees and winners for the 2018 year! We look forward to seeing next year’s winners!
Source: Disney Parks Blog
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