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Meet Nicole Russell of Precious Dreams Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Russell.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nicole. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started the Precious Dreams Foundation in 2012, to help youth transitioning through foster care and homeless shelters, find comfort at bedtime. Our unique mission was to provide bedtime coping therapy and donate basic comfort items. I personally remember bedtime being the time of day that I focused on my dreams and changing the trajectory of my life as a child. Today we have chapters in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, Chicago and Baltimore. Over 6,000 children have participated in our programs and we play a small part in helping them navigate through the unfortunate circumstances of living in transition.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not at all. I’ve been learning a lot as I go, which means a lot of hard lessons and setbacks but that comes with starting any organization or business from scratch. One of our biggest struggles was losing team members. When a non-profit isn’t in a position to pay its staff, you’re relying entirely on dedicated volunteers. Before we found true success, we relied on people who often didn’t take their commitments to the organization seriously because our opportunities weren’t paid. It’s hard finding people to volunteer time and services. A lot of people will donate an hour or maybe a couple of weeks but everyone is living busy lives so I try not to take it personal.

One of my personal struggles happened before we got our first office. I used to run the organization out of my apartment and unfortunately got bed bugs two times from people donating used items. That was rough! I remember having a breakdown once because it happened right after Christmas and I didn’t have the money to exterminate and clean out my place. I questioned everything. I remember wondering why bad things happen to good people but I was fortunate enough to have other places to sleep and exterminate properly. There are people living with bed bugs that can’t afford to do anything about it. I always think of those with less and it’s the quickest self-check that I can do.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
Precious Dreams Foundation empowers youth living in foster care and homeless shelters to focus on their dreams and self-comfort. We teach youth how to independently cope with their troubles. We do this through a variety of programming and intimate events. We go directly to the group homes and shelters and sit face to face with every child. I think that’s what makes our organization special. No one gets lost in a crowd at a Precious Dreams Foundation experience. Our volunteers leave knowing every child by name and our children feel supported by people that make them feel seen. Every child that attends a Comfort Drop, receives a Comfort Bag, full of age appropriate pajamas, plush items, journals, books and stress toys.

In 2017, I started a consulting agency called Pitch House Productions that helps large corporations respectfully partner with grass-roots organizations like Precious Dreams Foundation. I wanted to help smaller organizations, my peers who are on the grounds doing impactful work and create partnerships that truly change lives.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love that LA is a city of hope. Everyone is chasing a dream and can relate to those holding on to one ( regardless of their circumstances).

The thing that I least enjoy about LA is that the uber drivers ask too many questions. Why do the drivers want to know where I’m going, what I do for a living and what I’m doing tonight? I think it’s the strangest thing to share such personal information with a complete stranger that now has your address. Maybe it’s the New Yorkers in me, but I don’t want to talk in my uber ride.

Pricing:

Contact Info:

  • Address: 116 e 27th st. 10th fl
    New York NY 10016
  • Website: preciousdreamsfoundation.org
  • Email: info@preciousdreamsfoundation.org
  • Instagram: @preciousdreamsfoundation
  • Facebook: precious dreams foundation

Image Credit:
Teri Parker

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