Fulfilling Dreams On Coast Village Road

A working non-profit organization, Dream Foundation began in 1994, in Santa Barbara, with the work of founder Thomas Rollerson and has now established itself as the first national wish-granting organization for adults over the age of 18 suffering a terminal illness. The wishes expressed through the program range from desires to fly and see family members to requests for admission to Disneyland; all these wishes are granted due to donations and volunteer work.

Though it’s now a national organization, Dream Foundation still takes part in causes specific to the Santa Barbara Community. Flower Empower is one of these programs. The program focuses on gathering flowers, homemade cookies, and cards to distribute to ill patients in local facilities. Designed to remind local individuals that they are not alone, Flower Empower works as both a tool for awareness as well as a means for community contributions.

Volunteers who participate with the Flower Empower program meet every Saturday at the downtown Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market at booths set-up by the organization. There, they collect donated flowers that come from both commercial growers, such as the Sun Valley Group, as well as local family farmers. The flowers are then put together in bouquets and transferred to people residing in the facilities of Casa Dorinda, Serenity House, Goleta Valley Hospital, Hospice, and some private residences. Volunteers have delivered over 20,000 flowers throughout the Santa Barbara community.

The success of the Flower Empower booths in downtown Santa Barbara sparked the spread of Dream Foundation booths to other local farmers markets such as the one on Coast Village Road. In response to opening its first booth in Montecito, the Dream Foundation program will host a Flower Empower Community Day Friday, August 3. This event will be held at a stall in the Montecito Farmers’ Market.

Stephanie Forrester, Program Coordinator for Flower Empower and longtime Dream Foundation volunteer, believes the booth is important to Montecito because of the work Flower Empower already does with Casa Dorinda residents. She says the organization also seeks to draw support from families and local schools to help volunteer or contribute. Forrester hopes the addition of the Flower Empower booth will endorse activism in the Montecito neighborhood. “The more volunteers we have,” Stephanie says, “the more people we can provide service to and touch in the community.”

The Dream Foundation plans to run the Flower Empower booths throughout the summer. Volunteers are needed and encouraged to help. Anyone interested should call 805-564-2131.