Honoring those we lost & left behind
No matter where these families are in the grieving process, we hope to inspire them to believe that anything is possible. By providing fun experiences and beneficial resources in an emotionally safe and inclusive environment, we’re creating a community to learn, grow, and make lasting memories with new friends.
healing & celebration
The holidays can be especially challenging for grieving families. Each December, we host a five-day experience for 1,750+ children of the fallen and their surviving parent or guardian. With special time to honor their fallen and a blend of fun entertainment and inspiring programs, these families can lean on their peers for support. Which is why we keep bringing Snowball Express back to Walt Disney World® Resort each year!
In addition to the magic of Disney each December, we’re also hosting community events for these families all year long. From baseball games to arts & educational opportunities, to overnight experiences these families can strengthen their community close to where they live. These events are essential for children and surviving spouses to develop bonds with the only people who can truly understand their loss: each other.
Another way we’re supporting families year-round is through weekend Empowerment Workshops. For three days, surviving spouses and young adults come together to look more closely at their lives after loss and dream again. There is work on, in and for themselves including challenge activities that help participants tap into their resiliency and empowers them to return home on a clearer path within their control.
american children have experienced the deployment of at least one parent since 2001.
Escort Authorization / Medical Consent Form
School Absence Letter
Work Absence Letter
By the numbers
children of fallen military heroes & their surviving parent/guardian joined us for Snowball Express since 2018
It isn’t easy to put into words what Snowball Express meant to my 8-year-old daughter and me but I will try. I guess the easiest way to explain it is to simply state that it was the first time since losing my husband that I went 5 days in a row without crying. Sure, there were a few moments of filling up with tears. However, those were tears of gratitude and pride.
Virtual Remembrance Garden
Each year, during the Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express, we honor and remember our fallen military heroes in a Remembrance Garden filled with hundreds of flags and placards, each representing the brave heroes our Gold Star families lost. In 2021, the tradition of this important tribute looked a little different. Thanks to the generosity of the American people and partners like, WoodmenLife, we were able to create a Virtual Remembrance Garden where all of our Snowball Express families could honor and pay tribute to their fallen hero from the comfort of their own home. The Virtual Remembrance Garden was an important reminder to our Snowball Express families that they were not alone during this time of year, and their hero’s selfless sacrifice will never be forgotten.