• ABC's Extreme Makeover revamps Kissimmee nonprofit


    A huge effort is underway in Osceola County to transform a Kissimmee nonprofit that provides dream vacations for sick children who are terminally ill.

    On Friday, “Good Morning America” and designer Ty Pennington will be in Kissimmee for ABC’s Extreme Makeover’s big reveal of the renovated Memory Maker’s building for the Give Kids the World organization.

    Channel 9’s Lori Brown got a sneak peak of the progress being made.

    The Villas hadn’t been updated for 25 years and started to look a little outdated. They’re now being transformed into places for families who could really use a break.

    Organizers told WFTV the old buildings would no longer do for the very important children who go there only once, sometimes for the last vacation they will ever have.

    “We get one chance to make sure children have the best experience,” said Mark Hoewing with Give Kids the World Village. “This tile used to be really old.”

    Crews funded through donations are working 24 hours a day for two weeks to completely refurbish all 88 villas, with new floors, kitchens and furniture. 

    The idea to speed up renovations started with the 8-year-old son of a Wyndham Executive.

    “He said how many properties do you for Wyndham every year. He said 5,000,” Hoewing said. “The sons said ‘you could do 88 villas in a week couldn’t you?”

    Volunteer John Russell builds architectural scale models for a living. He said he gets the most satisfaction from busing tables for the nonprofit.

    “It’s awe-inspiring, I’ve never seen such organization, on such a great scale, it’s unbelievable to witness this,” Russell said. “One child touched my heart, because he said it’s great to be here, I can actually feel normal again.”

    Even though a lot of the villas are less than 50 percent finished, crews are going to keep working around the clock to make sure construction is complete by Friday.

    The big reveal will be aired on “Good Morning America” between 7 and 9 a.m. Friday.

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    ABC's Extreme Makeover revamps Kissimmee nonprofit