Multi-Sensory Room for Dream Oaks

$1,600 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 28 people in 52 months
We are aiming to fundraise and gain support for a project based on filling a sensory room that we are constructing for a non-profit organization located in Bradenton, FL.  This organization is called Foundation for Dreams.  Foundation for Dreams serves children ages 7-17 that have any mental, physical, developmental or chronic disabilities.  This foundation creates programs for children throughout the year and in the summer months.  It gives children an exceptional camping experience, while fostering social skills, independence and relationship-building.  

Along with the strengthening of skills, another major aspect of the mission of Foundation for Dreams is the provision of respite for parents of children with special needs.  This organization provides quality daytime and overnight care.  Parents have a full time job, and they often do not receive the essential breaks that they need.  Foundation for Dreams not only gives parents that break, but it also gives children some of the best experiences, friendships and memories to treasure for the rest of their lives.

Foundation for Dreams is never lacking in quality staff or quality programs, but one thing that is lacking is the current amount of sensory equipment available to the children attending the programs.  Our goal is to write a series of grants, fund raise, and gain support in order to construct a small building and fill this building with sensory equipment and technology that will be to every child's benefit.  

Why a sensory room? Sensory input and output is important for many children with special needs, especially children on the Autism Spectrum.  1 in every 68 children in the United States are currently diagnosed with Autism.  Due to this growth in the current diagnoses, a vast number of the children served at Foundation for Dreams are diagnosed with Autism.  Because of sensory sensitivities, or the lack of sensitivities often seen in children on the spectrum, many children who do not receive the proper sensory input/output partake in self-injurious behaviors.  We want to avoid this self-harm and problematic behavior.  

Fulfilling these sensory requirements is very important to the children that Foundation for Dreams serves.  We want to make sensory needs more readily available for every child.  Although this is a lofty project, it is an essential one.  We can't do this all on our own.  We need your help to make this project a reality.
Who are we?  We are three girls attending Grove City College and majoring in Special Education.  We have been touched by so many with special needs.  We want to give back, and we want to make a substantial difference in any way possible.  Here is a little more about each of us:

Jessica's story:
I grew up with a brother that was diagnosed with Autism at an early age, and due to experiencing his trials, I knew that I wanted to serve other children that were alike. I am currently pursuing a degree in Early Elementary Education and Special Education. I am hoping to go to graduate school to study Autism and Early Intervention in the near future. I have been involved in various organizations serving children with special needs, one these organizations being Foundation for Dreams. I have had the unique privilege and opportunity of working with this foundation throughout the summer months. It has completely changed my life. I have a desire to serve children for the rest of my life, and this project is just a small stepping stone that will have a lasting impact on Foundation for Dreams, as well as my life.

Olivia's Story:
Growing up, I have always had a special place in my heart for special needs children and young adults. Every year, I would volunteer at my local YMCA Special Olympics swim meets. Every time I would leave that meet, I would feel like I have gained the biggest reward just from watching the participants cheering each other on, giving countless hugs and high-fives, and showing humongous smiles. Because of this, I am pursuing an Elementary and Special Education career at Grove City College. After brainstorming ideas for our project, it was clear that helping build a sensory room at Foundation for Dreams was going to be the one. Just knowing that you did something to help students with special needs and seeing their smiles light up because of that is definitely going to be the best accomplishment.

Julie's Story:
I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher from a young age.  I have always connected well with children and I know that I have been given a gift to be able to work with children. I decided to go to Grove City College for an Elementary/Special Education degree. As I have had more experiences working with children who have special needs, I have realized that is where my heart lies. Seeing those children make even the slightest gains and seeing how excited they get when they learn a new concept is so awesome to see. Knowing that sensory rooms are so beneficial for kids with special needs, especially those with Autism, makes me so excited for this project. If we can make just a small impact on the lives of these children, it will be so rewarding.
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New and exciting updates, everyone! This has been a very long process, and all of your support and contributions have not been overlooked. After waiting and waiting (longer than August, which is when we anticipated hearing about the grant), we unfortunately found out that we did not receive the additional funding needed to build the new sensory room building. As this does come as a disappointment, we know that this grant was not a guarantee. We had developed a back-up plan in case we did not secure funding to build. This back up plan ensured that all of your donations did not go to waste, and still provided a sensory room for the kids at Dream Oaks Camp.

Through your donations, and donations from other organizations, we have enough funding to fill a room that is already in a building at Foundation for Dreams. This past week I was able to collaborate with two others who work at Foundation for Dreams in order to create a game plan for this project. We picked a room that is on the camp grounds that will be used as our sensory room! Right now, we are deciding on colors to paint the room, purchasing items and designing the space.

The sensory room is projected to be up and running by June 2016 for the first week of the summer camp session this year. Many of the children that attend the camp's programs need breaks throughout the day. This room is going to serve as a much needed outlet, a relaxing and calming environment, and hopefully a means to decrease frustration and problem behaviors. With a new program like this in place, many other items must be considered: staff training, proper implementation of the room, fidelity of the program, rules and regulations, child transition plans (to and from the room), etc. All of these items are starting to be developed at this time. We will be collaborating with occupational therapists in the area, and creating a training that I will be presenting to the staff in early summer.

The items purchased will be a base for this room. We don't want to stop here! We want to continually be adding and expanding this space. Please continue to share this project with others that may be interested.

We have not forgotten about you! We want to thank you for your support and donations. This entire project was only possible because of the support that we received early on in this process. We will continue to update you (frequently) on the room through this website.

We appreciate you!
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First and foremost, we would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming amount of support that this project has had. And since it has been a while since our last update, we would also like to update you a little on how our project is going!

I am pleased to share that our grant was successfully completed and submitted this past week! We are very excited to start moving this project along. As many of you know, there was a large wait between when we started planning this project and when we were actually able to submit our grant to Lowes simply because the grant application was not yet open for this year. If you would like to read more about this grant opportunity, view this website ( and read under the Lowe's Community Partners tab.

We will be notified if our grant was approved 90 days from the end of the grant cycle. In this case, we should know by the end of August.

In the meantime, the funds that we have already generated (due to all of your wonderful support!) will be used to start buying the actual sensory equipment that will go on the inside of our room. This equipment will be items such as therapy balls, bubble lights, gym mats, padding for walls, light covers, a projector, sound machines, a ball pit, etc.

For many of you who have followed this process, it may have seemed like the last few months have been sort of a standstill in the project. I'm very happy to inform you that we are still continuing to receive additional support. Recently, we were fortunate enough to receive a donation of $500 from Publix Store Charities to our project. We have also received $500 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and an additional $200 from private donors who chose to mail checks instead of donate online.

This sensory room started off as just a simple idea and is slowly turning into a reality that will benefit children for years to come. We are beyond thrilled to see this project through.

Please continue to share this project with anyone who may be interested. The more support, the better!
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We made it to Florida and were able to do a good deal of planning, and meet with various businesses to spread the word on our project! Pictured here, is the current golf-cart covering which we hope to transform into our one-room building and our multisensory room! We are so excited for this opportunity and to continue making progress for our cause. Thanks to all for the constant support and encouragement.
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We are overwhelmed by all of the support and donations so far in this process. We want to thank all of you for the generous contributions and for sharing our project with others. We are officially going to Florida on November 21 and we are so eager for this opportunity. From here on out, all proceeds will be going directly to filling our sensory room. Please continue to share our story and help us to proceed in making our dream a reality.
Off to Florida
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Barbara Freda
52 months ago

I pray that all who see this , will be able to help make this project come true. God Bless you, dear Jess, and Olivia & Julie

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$1,600 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 28 people in 52 months
Created October 28, 2014
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51 months ago
52 months ago
gene armieri
52 months ago

keep doing great work!

Rebecca McIntyre
52 months ago

Bob & Becky McIntyre

Barbara Freda
52 months ago

I pray that all who see this , will be able to help make this project come true. God Bless you, dear Jess, and Olivia & Julie

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