On the Fly™ - Editorial Commentary by Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

September 6, 2004: "What Time Do the Waves Stop?"
--by Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

Today is Labor Day and school is starting around the country. To get the class talking, writing and creating expressive artwork, many children will be asked by their teachers, “What did you do on your summer vacation?” Childhood summers, in a perfect world, should be filled with joyous moments of discovery on new roads, new paths, new trails where loving parents are accompanying their children on traveling adventures fill with enriching learning experiences.

But this is not a perfect world and there are children living, not 10,000 miles away on other continents but, right under our noses in the USA whose parents can't, won't, or just don't provide the simplest necessities of survival for their children and, for whom, exciting travel experiences are not a possibility.

One such group of children came to my attention in April when the Executive Director of The Giving Tree Outreach Program, Libby Wright, called in from her home in Arizona and won a stay in San Francisco on my nationally syndicated radio show, “Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams!” on the Business Talk Radio Network. When I learned of Libby's work rescuing homeless children from the streets of Tucson and that Libby had a dream of getting the kids who live at the organization's residence for homeless children, Grace Home, out of Tucson's heat and to the beach to see the ocean for the first time in their lives, I told her that I could help to make that a reality.

When you reach the intersection of Children and Travel, you have my complete attention! I believe that the need for travel to play a vital role in the educational process of a child's upbringing is as important as the child's survival. I believe that seeing the natural beauty of the world, experiencing the attractions along the route, seeing how other people have used their creativity and imagination to enchant the visitor can create those childhood experiences that provide the fuel for goal-setting and dream-building in positive directions.

As a result of the generous response to my request for assistance for this group of children from Woodfin Suites Hotels, Choice Hotels, Sunstone Hotels' Hilton Del Mar, Thrifty Car Rental providing 7-passenger vans for the 12 children and 4 chaperones, revenue created from my donation of a stay at the Ti-Kaye Village in St. Lucia which they auctioned on Ebay plus the caring support of the Morris Family Foundation, Libby Wright was positioned to lead the merry group to Los Angeles and San Diego for a 12 day trip to visit wonderful places including the Pacific Ocean.

After making all of the arrangements for the group, I just couldn't resist Libby's requests for me to fly to California and meet them so I organized it as a surprise! And it was no surprise for me find out what a fabulous learning experience these children had! Kamisha learned how many people used their imaginations to build wonderful attractions in California. Diego learned that seashell are beautiful works of art, fun to search for, and are free! And seven year old Lenny, worried on his first day at the beach that the fun might stop at any moment, learned the answer to his question, “What time do the waves stop?” And there is no question that they felt the impact of the care, generosity and love of so many people and companies in the travel industry who pulled together to make this trip possible. And they had to be touched by the people they met at a church they visited on Sunday of their first week who took the group as their guest to a concert given by the Huntington Beach Symphony and treated them to lunch, to the woman on the beach in San Diego who treated the group to dinner, and to Gailene from Oregon, a guest at the Woodfin Suites Hotel in San Diego, a grancmother traveling with her 2 grandchildren, who handed me twelve $20 bills with instructions to give each child $20 for spending money. There is no question that these children learned there are loving people in the world.

I have no doubt that the children from The Giving Tree were inspired, enriched, uplifted, and enlightened by their trip to California that showed them life beyond the streets of Tucson. And now that they are home and back in school, they have a wonderful adventure to share with their classes to answer the question, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”

The needs of the children served by The Giving Tree are infinite. To help them continue their good works, with the help of Holiday N Travel in Austin, Texas (www.HNTtravel.com), an opportunity to sail on the brand new Holland American ship, The Westerdam, on its inaugural sailing in the Caribbean, has been created as a fundraiser for The Giving Tree. Holland America Line has provided philanthropic rates to assist in this effort which are more than 50% off the brochure rates and the rates include port charges and taxes. I hope you'll join me December 5-12, 2004 as we sail roundtrip Fort Lauderdale with cabin specially priced with the Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams rate starting as low as $659 per person/dbl. including port charges and taxes for this maiden voyage! I hope you and your friends and family will join me for this incredible opportunity! Give yourself the gift that keeps giving and do your holiday shopping in a unique way in exotic ports of the Caribbean!

Gotta Fly Now!

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