For the past several years, I have had the great honor and privilege to be involved with one of the most amazing organizations imaginable: Dream Foundation.
Dream Foundation is the first and largest national organization committed to delivering end-of-life wishes to people 18 years of age and older. As a hospice nurse and social worker, this work has incredible meaning to me. I worked with so many people who had dreams that unfortunately (often tragically) went unfulfilled.
There are three main programs of Dream Foundation that serve a wide array of people.
The Dream Granting Program is the heart and soul of the organization. Dream Foundation is passionate about making dreams come true for adults suffering life-limiting illness, and in doing so – improving the quality of their lives in ways medicine alone cannot. Through this non-traditional, palliative form of healthcare, Dream Foundation provides those at the end of life’s journey with resolution, completion and peace. Some dreamers long to make happy, lasting memories with their loved ones. Others want a friend brought to their bedside for a few final moments of comfort. And still others desire to take a trip they’ve always dreamed of. Dreams can be about leaving a legacy, such as a garden, or publishing a book of poetry… or receiving help with a utility bill, or a wheelchair ramp. There are no typical dreams. Dreams are as unique as the dreamers.
The Toy Program is another very special component of Dream Foundation. Nearly 40 percent of the dream recipients have young children at home. Coping with the loss of a parent and the intense emotional, physical and financial strain terminal illness has on a family may well be the most difficult challenge a child can face. (Cue the tears!!!) Dream Foundation’s Toy Program provides age-appropriate toys for dream recipients to give their children, allowing them to share happiness and smiles when illness has brought so much pain. It is truly empowering for a sick parent to offer their children these boxes, and receive the smiles, hugs and squeals of excitement that come with the reveal of what’s inside.
Special to Dream Foundation’s hometown of Santa Barbara, Flower Empower is a volunteer-driven program that delivers hope and compassion – in the form of beautiful bouquets – to those in need. Each Saturday, a group of volunteers gathers at the local farmers’ market, where they prepare dozens of arrangements using donated flowers, and then make deliveries to hospitals, hospices and homes. In addition to abundant bouquets, flower recipients also enjoy fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates and cards handmade by local school children. It is the hope of Dream Foundation that volunteers across the country will establish Flower Empower programs in their own communities, spreading hope across the nation‚ one flower at a time.
In addition to the above magnificence of Dream Foundation, the organization continues to receive Four Stars (the highest award possible) from Charity Navigator, America’s premier independent charity evaluator. What this means is that Dream Foundation has demonstrated exceptional financial health, outperforming most of its peers in its efforts to manage and grow its finances in the most fiscally responsible way possible.
One of the big needs of DF is for air miles for dreamers and their families. Dream Foundation currently has a tremendous opportunity to benefit from United Airline’s “10 million smiles for charities” campaign. Charities with the most votes will receive the greatest percentage of miles! How’s that for a wonderful Silver Lining?
A miles gift of any size would be HUGE to Dream Foundation travel-related dreams in 2012 (bedside reunions, final trips, and joy-filled escapes). To vote, go to http://
For obvious reasons, I hope that you never need to use Dream Foundation; however, if you do, isn’t it the greatest thing to know that an extraordinary place like this exists to make dreams come true during the most difficult of circumstances? The ultimate Silver Lining!
Glee Cast Members Amber Ray and Naya Rivera performing at this year’s Dream Foundation Gala
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am not for others, who am I?
And if not now, when?
- Rabbi Hillel