News

Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon Will Raise Funds for Community Program that Delivers Hope and Compassion to Thousands of Local Residents

DF_FE_Logo_FinalDream Foundation — the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness—will hold its 5th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon on Wednesday, May 13th. Net proceeds from the event are vital to supporting the volunteer-driven program.

Flower Empower would not be possible without the compassion and energy of our volunteers,” says Kisa Heyer, Dream Foundation Executive Director. “We are tremendously grateful to the businesses and individuals who generously donate their time, goods and services to make a difference in this community we cherish.”

Flower Empower Facts:

  • Flower Empower delivers locally grown flowers, fresh-baked cookies, gourmet chocolates and cards made by young volunteers to anyone from Goleta to Ventura in need of cheer.
  • This year’s program sponsors are Santa Barbara residents, Tim & Diane Brown and George & Lisa Hagerman.
  • Two days a week, roughly 15 volunteers gather at designated locations to assemble bouquets with flowers donated by a dozen local growers and distributors.
  • Flower Empower referrals come from cancer centers, nurses, doctors, hospices, elder support organizations and the community at large.
  • Flower Empower recipients do not need to be suffering from a life-threatening illness, as the recipients of Dream Foundation’s primary Dream Granting Program do.
  • The program currently delivers to 29 facilities in addition to private residences.
  • In 2014, Flower Empower delivered, on average, 150 bouquets each week and since its inception, 20 year ago, tens of thousands.

While Flower Empower was designed to remind recipients that they are surrounded by a community that cares, it has evolved into much more. Cards handmade by elementary through high school aged children accompany every bouquet delivered. Through this card-making effort, Flower Empower imparts the importance of giving back to local school children. The program highlights the value of assisting others, which can be fundamental to building confidence and self-esteem among young children.

“There’s so much children can gain from volunteering and it’s never too early to get them involved with causes that are meaningful,” Heyer adds. “We are so grateful to the schools that participate in Flower Empower and are thrilled that our card-making activities can help teach children about the importance of giving back to the community, along with the intrinsic rewards that come with helping others.”

Flower Empower also plays an important role in employee engagement programs for local businesses. Creating bouquets with co-workers provides an opportunity to build relationships, deepen engagement, and inspire and energize a workforce.

“At Deckers, community outreach and volunteerism is a very big part of our company. For our employees, Flower Empower is an opportunity to put their creativity to use in a new way and to also spend some time getting to know each other better. After our last Flower Empower event, I delivered about 25 bouquets to several locations. It was so uplifting to see the smiling faces of the recipients and to know that this happened because my co-workers here at Deckers Brands care so much about our community,” says Barbara Allcock an employee of Deckers Brands who has been a Dream Foundation volunteer since 2006.

Flower Empower does more than deliver flowers.It teaches empathy, builds youth confidence, raises social awareness, and helps strengthen and build community. Flower Empower receives no federal or state funding, relying solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants.

Dream Foundation hopes to raise awareness and its impact with its 5th Annual Luncheon. Ticketing information for the 5th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon will be available soon. For sponsorship information, please contact Stefani Canin-Mullen at stefani@dreamfoundation.org. For more information about the program please visit www.dreamfoundation.org/flower-empower.

Dream Foundation to Grant La Mirada Navy Veteran’s Final Dream to Revisit Military Past, Visit Battleship Iowa

Dream Foundation – the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill hospice patient John Bock’s longtime dream to visit the Battleship USS Iowa.

Bock’s dream is being served by Dream Foundation’s new sub-program, Dreams for Veterans, which will launch officially in Fall 2015. The mission of Dreams for Veterans is to give back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream.

With a prognosis of six months or fewer due to heart disease, Bock, a 92-year-old La Mirada, California resident and World War II veteran, will take his wife, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on a journey he’s been looking forward to for years.

Together they’ll board the (BB-61) USS Iowa, where they will receive a VIP tour and “admire the size of the ship and its guns,” Bock’s Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care social worker Emily Blicha wrote on his behalf in an application letter to Dream Foundation.

The tour will be 10 a.m., Saturday, April 18. At approximately 9:30 a.m. Bock and his family will arrive on site. Press is invited to attend.

Battleship USS Iowa is located at:

Pacific Battleship Center, USS Iowa BB-61
250 South Harbor Blvd., Berth 87, Los Angeles, CA  90731
Ph: 877-4-IOWA-61 (877-446-9261)

Bock served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946, where his position was Gunner’s Mate (GM). “He took care of guns and ammunition and even handled torpedo warheads and bombs,” Blicha continues in the application letter. “John traveled a lot while in the service. He went from San Diego to Fallbrook and from there to the South Pacific.”

Originally from Iowa, Bock—who takes a great deal of pride in his service and comes from a line of decorated Navy veterans—first dreamt of visiting the USS Iowa six years ago when he felt the need to retrace memories of working on a similar battleship deck those many decades before.

According to Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer, “Truly, it is an honor for us to serve those who have so bravely served our country. Mr. Bock’s final dream is a testament to his patriotism and sense of duty. We are proud to share in this momentous occasion.”

As Dream Foundation serves the final wishes of adults nationwide from one small office in California, the organization works with its corporate “Partners in Dreams” and affiliated volunteers to ensure dream experiences maintain a personal touch and sense of community. CKE Restaurants, Inc.—parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® brands—has been a longtime partner with Dream Foundation and pledges additional support to serve the final dreams of U.S. veterans as part of its annual Stars for Heroesfundraising campaign.

In addition to the VIP tour, Dream Foundation has provided Bock’s family with spending money for incidentals and lunch.

Dream Foundation to Fulfill Dying Marine Corps Veteran’s Final Dream to Take Historical Tour of Pearl Harbor

Santa Barbara, CA –  In conjunction with the VA Maryland Health Care System and Disabled American Veterans, Dream Foundation – the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill hospice patient Joseph Hooker’s final dream to explore the history of the U.S. Marine Corps at Pearl Harbor.

Hooker’s dream is being served by Dream Foundation’s new sub-program, Dreams for Veterans, which will launch officially in Fall 2015. The mission of Dreams for Veterans is to give back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream.

With a prognosis of fewer than two months due to heart disease and cancer, Hooker, a 63-year-old Essex, Maryland resident and Vietnam Veteran, will take his brother and sister-in-law, who are also his caregivers, on a journey years in the making.

Together they’ll travel to Honolulu to board the (BB-63) USS Missouri, where they will receive a private tour and “learn, touch, and understand what happened there,” Hooker wrote in an application letter to Dream Foundation.

The tour will be 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 25. At approximately 9:45 a.m.—escorted by local Veterans Service Organization (VSO) volunteers—Hooker, his brother and sister-in-law will meet a representative from the USS Missouri in front of the entrance to the battleship. Press is invited to attend.

On-the-ground contacts:

Barbara Hayes with the VSO: (808) 433-7676

Chaslee Ikawa from the USS Missouri (808) 455-1600 x232

Honolulu VA Public Affairs Office (PAO) (808) 433-0049

Hooker served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1968 to 1972, voluntarily enlisting at age 17 because “that was where my heart led me,” he continued in his application letter. “My heart was telling me that I was a Marine and that I was going to work hard and train to be the best.” During his years of service, he was stationed in Paris Island, Europe and Vietnam.

According to Tova Jussim, Hooker’s Optum Hospice and Palliative Care (a Dream Foundation Hospice Partner) social worker who made the referral to Dream Foundation, “When he was returning home from his time in the service, the ship he was on had a 20-minute stopover at Pearl Harbor. At that time, his superiors shared the Marine Corps history of Pearl Harbor, World War II and the Marines’ role in the Pacific Theater. He saw the Pacific Fleet from a distance in 1972 and promised himself he would return.”

Until now, 42 years later, the decorated Veteran who had worked his way up from Private to Sargent had not had the chance to return.

According to Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer, “Truly, it is an honor for us to serve those who have so bravely served our country. Mr. Hooker’s final wish is a testament to his patriotism and sense of duty. We are proud to share in this momentous occasion.”

As Dream Foundation serves the final wishes of adults nationwide from one small office in California, the organization works with its corporate “Partners in Dreams” and affiliated volunteers to ensure dream experiences maintain a personal touch and sense of community. CKE

Restaurants, Inc.—parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® brands—has been a longtime partner with Dream Foundation and pledges additional support to serve the final dreams of U.S. veterans as part of its annual Stars for Heroesfundraising campaign.

In addition to the USS Missouri tour, Dream Foundation has provided the airfare from Maryland to Hawaii, as well as four nights in Hawaii, accommodations on either end due to layovers, and financial assistance for meals and incidentals.

Dream Foundation Reaches Milestone 20,000th Dream Served, Granting 34-Year-Old Woman’s Final Wish to Make Memories with Her Family

Dream Foundation 20,000th DreamerDream Foundation — the only national dream-granting organization for adults and their families battling life-threatening illness—has served 20,000 dreams since it was founded in 1994. The milestone 20,000th dream was recently granted to Yvonne Rodriguez, a 34-year-old woman from Los Angeles, CA. The wife and mother of two has been battling terminal breast cancer and dreamt of sharing a special trip where she could enjoy time with her husband Michael and children, Ava, 9, and Eli, 4.

Rodriguez and her family visited SeaWorld San Diego, the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They spent three nights at the Hilton Grand Vacation Pacific Palisades resort. “It was fabulous; it was better than anything we could have asked for,” her husband said.

Dream Foundation will be celebrating its 20,000th dream milestone with the Rodriguez Family at 11:15 a.m., Wednesday, January 21st at Dream Foundation headquarters, 1528 Chapala St., Suite 304, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 with a special recognition ceremony. Press is invited to cover this event.

Yvonne with family at Seaworld

John Wolfsohn Photography and Video

“What dreams do for individuals like Yvonne is allow them the chance to dream again and create memories and experience moments that are among life’s most important, for themselves but also for their loved ones,” said Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer. “A dream for an adult is often a humble request about gathering with loved ones, making the most of the time they have left and celebrating a life lived.”

Final dreams range from basic needs items such as a mobility scooter, lift chair, working appliance or laptop, to bedside reunions, final vacations with family or meeting a personal hero. Dream Foundation has never turned down a qualified dream request. The organization receives no federal or state funding, relying solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants.

“Year after year, we continue to see a rise in dream requests, and our goal is to continue to be a resource for those in need,” Heyer said. “After 20 years, our dream recipients continue to inspire us to do the important work of providing comfort and closure during the end-of-life journey. With the support of our dedicated community, we are looking forward to ensuring that Dream Foundation is an important part of people’s lives and dreams for the next 20 years.”

Dream Foundation Joins the National #GivingTuesday Movement To Encourage Spending With A Purpose

Dream Foundation has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners—charities, families, businesses and individuals—to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world.

Taking place December 2, 2014 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.

Dream Foundation invites its communities to share their reasons for giving and help raise awareness and funds for its own mission, as well the work of other non-profits that strive tirelessly year-round to make a difference and give back to those in need.

“At Dream Foundation, our staff, volunteers, donors and corporate partners know how the rewards of caring for other people can far outweigh the charge,” says Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer. “During the holiday season, as we give thanks for all we have in our own lives, we are also grateful for the support from our village of dedicated volunteers, donors and partners whose efforts come together to make thousands of dreams come true every year.”

Seeing an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by the non-profit community and cultural center 92nd Street Y (92Y), came together in 2012 to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving. Thought leaders in philanthropy, social media and grassroots organizing joined with 92Y to explore what is working in modern philanthropy and how to expand these innovations throughout the philanthropic sector. The concept gained steam, and with the help of the United Nations Foundation and other founding partners, more than 10,000 organizations have joined the movement and are providing creative ways people can embrace #GivingTuesday and collaborate in their giving efforts to create more meaningful results.

“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” says Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”

Those who are interested in joining Dream Foundation’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit www.dreamfoundation.org/givingtuesday. For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website (www.givingtuesday.org).

Subscribe to our newsletter Sign up