With the weekend ahead of us, it's only appropriate to raise a toast and celebrate something good. Good as in something that is completely selfless. Something that not only teaches others about empathy, but puts it into action. Something that is simply, awesome. In my mind, Designing Dreams is just all that. I've had the pleasure to learn more about what Designing Dreams stands for from the creator behind the organization, Lauren Curwick.
Since this is a "Toast" post, first things first...drink of choice? Wine, always.
Now that we got that out of the way, tell us more. What is Designing Dreams?
The mission of Designing Dreams is to inspire hope and happiness in the lives of children with cancer and cancer-like conditions by making their dream bedroom a reality. We provide a positive space of healing for children on their journey to recovery through complete transformation and redesign of their bedrooms.
We have been told by parents that when their child was diagnosed with cancer, their whole world stopped. They stopped thinking about high school or college graduation, weddings, or even the next day. They began focusing on solely on making it through the current day filled with medications, doctor's appointments, and procedures. However, Designing Dreams has pulled them out of that rut and gave them hope and something to look forward to in the midst of a unbelievably difficult time.
Our overall goal has been to inspire hope in the lives of children, but in turn the children have inspired me more than I could ever imagine.
What inspired you to start Designing Dreams?
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a physician. When I began college at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, I immediately began searching for a volunteer position where I could work with children battling cancer and other critical illnesses. By sophomore year, I had yet to find a position that fulfilled my desire for a hands-on experience making a difference in children's lives. The only logical solution I could think of was to start my own, unique organization, and I became set on bring this dream to life. My mother Mardel, a decorator, proposed the idea of redesigning children’s bedrooms, and I instantly responded, “Designing Dreams!” From that moment on, Designing Dreams was no longer an idea; it was an action plan.
Are you currently collaborating with anyone?
Love Your Melon is a new partnership we launched at the end of 2016, which we have been very excited about. Over the years we have also been lucky to have the support of The Peder Hedberg Foundation who has donated large sums over the years. Establishing more collaborations is one of our major goals for 2017. We have had many generous individual donors and company donations, which we are so appreciative of. It's amazing the support we have received from the communities we work in, in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.
What challenges have you faced in starting Designing Dreams?
If you would have told me in 2012 that we would be a fully functioning, tax-exempt nonprofit, completing 8 bedrooms so far with 2 in the works, and raising nearly 50,000 in one year, I would've thought you were crazy. When we started, we just wanted to do something nice for these children facing cancer. I had no idea about all the behind the scenes work there is, paperwork, and all the laws.
What advice would you give to someone trying to start their own inspirations/business?
Don't wait until tomorrow, because the perfect time is never going to come. The best way to learn is by doing. You can study and read as many books as you want, but that is extremely different than real-life experience. If you are truly passionate about something, your passion will show through in all that you do.
"Shoot for the moon."
Cheers to you Lauren and the Designing Dream team!
Have a child you would like to refer? Feeling inspired and want to donate? Or do you simply want to read more about the children touched by Designing Dreams? Do so at Designing Dreams website and make sure to follow them on social media!