Sarah Jane Kyle
Dream Guild helps nonprofit adoption agency make waves for low-income families
“I couldn’t afford clothes for my kids if it weren’t for places like this. They just grow so fast you can’t keep up.” Victoria Moul, Dream Room client.
If you’ve ever cared for a growing baby, you realize how quickly clothes can wear out.
As I watched 16-month Alex crawl, run and giggle around the Dream Room in the basement of Fort Collins nonprofit Adoption Dreams Come True, 316 W. Mulberry, I couldn’t help but smile. His mom couldn’t help but thank Dream Room volunteers for keeping the active little tyke occupied while she thumbed through the rows of donated clothing to get him through his latest growth spurt.
Around the same time, Victoria Moul of Estes Park and her oldest daughter Caliah Cooper, 14, were searching for clothes for the three babies in their family. The 40-mile drive isn’t what most would call short, but even the gas money spent getting to that little basement just off Mulberry was worth it to help lessen the 5-child family’s economic load.
The Dream Room started as a resource for birth mothers who came to the adoption nonprofit but decided to keep their baby and parent, offering a resource for free clothes, diapers and supplies to get them started. The agency offers counseling to birth parents regardless of whether or not they choose to put their child up for adoption. On an average year, founder and Executive Director Cindy Sarai said she might facilitate 2-18 adoptions, but serves up to 40 birth mothers.
As Sarai watched the Dream Room unfold to help the women who chose to keep their babies, she realized a greater need in Larimer County for low-income parents to have access to a similar resource and decided to extend the closet’s mission to provide baby clothes for everyone in the community.
The community closet offers parents up to seven outfits, seven sleepers, diapers as they are available and a variety of other supplies once per month at no charge. Sizes available include birth to 24 months, though volunteers told me they often struggle to bring in donations for older babies. For the families who visit, the Dream Room provides one less financial worry in the ever-expensive task of raising a child.
I could not afford clothes for my kids if it weren’t for places like this,” Moul told me. “They just grow so fast you can’t keep up… and we’re a big family.”
Nearly all the families who stopped by the Dream Room when I was there said they plan to bring back the clothes once their child outgrows them, “paying it forward” for other families in their situation.
The Dream Room is entirely operated by volunteers from the Dream Guild, a group of 19 active and 61 supportive volunteers who exist exclusively to facilitate volunteerism and fundraising for the agency. The Dream Guild was founded by Dorothy Fitzgerald to support Sarai and her mission to provide affordable adoptions to families of all types and preferences.
The guild takes in donations and maintains the Dream Room, hosts fundraisers such as a weekly bingo session each Monday at 1 p.m. at Bingo Planet in Loveland, creates and sells handmade crafts and greeting cards and provides various other supports for adoptive and birth parents.
Adoption Dreams Come True is able to provide adoptions on a sliding-scale fee largely due to the fundraising efforts of the Dream Guild, Sarai said.
“We never wanted to price good parents out of adoption,” she said.
“The way they do things at Adoption Dreams Come true is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” added Fitzgerald. “I’m so proud to be part of this… it’s truly rewarding to help them.”
Adoption Dreams Come True, Inc.
What: Adoption Dreams Come True believes every child deserves a home that is loving, safe and permanent. This agency works to make this dream come true for Colorado children by supporting birth parents in their decision around an unplanned pregnancy, aiding adoptive parents in their process to adopt and working to make healthy, happy families. Volunteer efforts for Adoption Dreams Come True are led through the Dream Guild volunteer group. For more information, visit www.adoptiondreams.org.
Who to contact: Ginger DeReus, director of development, (970) 493-2557
Volunteer prerequisities: Volunteers are required to sign a confidentiality agreement. There is an hour of training required, which is held in the Dream Room typically on Tuesdays but must be scheduled ahead of time.
Volunteer responsibilities: Volunteers can help Adoption Dreams Come True through the Dream Guild, a group of individuals who work to increase public awareness of the agency and its clients, as well as community education and child advocacy, raising funds and organizing and promoting activities and events. The Guild operates the Dream Room, a no-fee based resource for low income families in Larimer County with children ages 0-2 years old. Volunteers in the Dream Room greet guests, fill out paperwork and assist with the selction of items and inventorying donations.
Typical time commitment per week: The Dream Room is open Monday 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11-1 p.m. The minimum commitment is 2 hours on a given day, with most volunteers needed on Wednesday and Thursday.