One of the ways we honor and remember our fallen heroes is in a Remembrance Garden filled with hundreds of flags and placards, each representing the brave heroes our families lost. This garden is an important reminder to our families that they are not alone during this time of year, and their hero’s selfless sacrifice will never be forgotten.
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.
The Gary Sinise Foundation offers an opportunity for families to bond with each other and make new friends and cherished memories with various festivities throughout the year. We show our appreciation to and love for families and the children who continue to bear the ultimate meaning of service and sacrifice.
Another way we’re supporting families year-round is through weekend Empowerment Workshops. During this three-day retreat, surviving spouses and young adults come together to bond with each other and learn about self-awareness and effective communication methods to lead empowering lives. These activities help participants look more closely at their lives after loss and tap into their resiliency to move forward.
Are you a family of the fallen on or after 9/11? Complete our preliminary registration form below.
The Gary Sinise Foundation welcomes the families of fallen First Responders. Registration will be open shortly.
Ready to join the Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express team? Start by filling out our volunteer signup.
We attended [Disney] in 2019, the year of our loss. I cannot express what an impact this made on the kids. Loss is an incredibly isolating experience, but Snowball gave us a sense of community and hope. It helped us build new relationships with other survivor families, who continue to be cherished friends. We are so grateful!! And, the kids had a fantastic time and still talk about it often!
After losing my husband, Snowball showed my girls life still is good. Being around other kids helped them and bought my girls back to life. Thank you Snowball they look forward to seeing their Snowball family.
The grad adventure experience was a great opportunity to be around people my age that not only have gone through the same military related struggles, but also the struggle of not having the high school experience that we thought we would get.
The GSF has been a bridge for me to connect with families who know every emotion, every struggle and every victory to living a life of a community that is often forgotten.
The best experience would be the memories that she and I have made through Snowball Express. She loved making the slime [at Virtual Event 2021], especially as it hadn't been allowed in the house before. She spent hours playing with it and loved seeing her friends on the video call as well.
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.