ORLANDO – Orange Park High teacher Christine Jump has had her share of unique charity involvements, including the start of her then-7-year-old son’s Tyler's Tabs enterprise that collected soda can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House in Jacksonville.
Tyler Jump is now 24 years old, still running Tyler Tabs and wrapping his education to become a middle school teacher in Mississippi.
Now Jump jumps for another charity, Give Kids the World Village – and she’s literally jumping – make that, rappelling – off a building.
"This is my second time at the Over The Edge jump in Orlando and I'm still terrified," said Jump, prior to her scaling down Hyatt Regency's 428-foot, 32-story rooftop to support her donations for the Give Kids the World Village foundation. "We do a day of training, harnessing and mental training, haha, then we go. The first step is the scariest because you have to go over the ledge. Once I'm settled and I start moving, that second leg over the edge is the scariest because there is no turning back then you get super focused on the ropes and technique."
Jump's efforts were to benefit the Give Kids the World Village in Orlando, which is an 84-acre non-profit "storybook" resort in the Orlando area created to give children with critical illnesses a weeklong, cost-free vacation. Jump noted the efforts raised more than $140,000 from last weekend’s rappel. Children from the Make a Wish foundation can stay at the Village while their "Wish" is fulfilled. The donation goal was $100,000.
"The Village is an amazing gift set up by a gentleman named Henri Landwirth from Ponte Vedra [Beach] that I met in 2008," said Jump, noting that Landwirth's wife Pam is currently CEO and President of Give Kids the World. "He was a Holocaust survivor that came to the United States with $15 in his pocket. He became a successful hotel manager and owner after starting as a bell hop at a hotel in Cape Canaveral."
According to the Give Kids the World website (gktw.org), Lendwirth, who died at 91 in 2018, was affected by a young child to garner support from his hotel connections to bring her, named Amy, and other families to Orlando to give children with critical illness "a best day."
"Landwirth's known for saying he never wanted a child to not have a best day," said Jump. "While at his Cape Canaveral hotel, he met many influential people, including Astronaut John Glenn and newsman Walter Cronkite, and started the foundation from there."
Jump noted that the Give Kids the World Village includes a 24-hour ice cream parlor, Santa Claus visits "because they may not get a chance to see him in December or a second time, said Jump" and a ton of amusement and fun activities. Statistics show that 175,000 families from all 50 states and 76 countries have been to the Village.
"It's pretty overwhelming to see what they do," said Jump.
The Over the Edge jump for Jump entailed a two-day excursion for Jump to not only rappel herself, but to also prepare other jumpers for the opportunity.
"We had a few Amazing Race competitors from TV that were going to be a part of the weekend and us volunteers were there for them to get ready," said Jump. "There is a smaller wall inside the Hyatt that we practice on and there is some instruction involved, obviously," said Jump. "Each jumper raises $1,000 for the jump that goes to the foundation."
Jump measured the intensity of the jump from the top with the size of the hotel pool down below.
"From up there, the pool looks tiny," said Jump. "And, after actually seeing it on the ground when we arrive, and then seeing it from up top, it's pretty scary."
Jump also observed family members and parents of Make A Wish kids who did not live to get the Wish making the jump in their honor.
"There were lots of tears and emotions," said Jump. "One dad said his kid fought with all his heart to live and that he, the dad, was going over no matter how terrified he was for his boy."