Making sweet dreams come true
Most people don’t think of a bed as a luxury, but as a basic necessity. For some Oklahoma children, beds just aren’t available, and without a bed, foster children might be split up from their siblings. Edmond nonprofit Fostering Sweet Dreams provides essential resources like beds, car seats, and dressers to children in need.
Founding and finding purpose
Fostering Sweet Dreams was established in 2016 by Randy and Kristy Payne, who had recently wrapped up their calling to foster care after adopting two children. The Paynes knew there had to be another way to stay involved in making an impact for many more children.
Through her various volunteer work, Kristy saw firsthand the need for bigger items like beds and dressers that no other nonprofit provided. Even though she didn’t know how to start, she knew her next step would be starting an organization that solely focused on providing these large tangible items.
Kristy formed Fostering Sweet Dreams in August 2015 and received its official nonprofit status in March 2016. The organization was offered a building space, and the community jumped in, dropping off gently used beds and furniture to share with those who desperately needed them.
“Our sole purpose is to provide essential resources to Oklahoma’s vulnerable children, and beds are the number one resource we provide,” said Payne. “One of our favorite things is being able to keep siblings placed together in the same home by providing the necessities such as a bed.”
Partners in action
Several other nonprofits and private foster agencies depend on Fostering Sweet Dreams for resources for their clients. They have worked with homeless liaisons, ReMerge, Red Rock Behavioral Health Services, Care Center, and local schools.
“The most challenging aspect of running a nonprofit is having to sometimes decide where our resources should go if we have low inventory,” said Payne. “I never want to hear about a child sleeping on the floor or not being placed in the same home as their sibling because of the lack of resources.”
Many of their recipients are kinship foster care placements or unexpected traditional placements that don’t have many belongings to call their own. Foster families are not reimbursed for these necessities, but Fostering Sweet Dreams can provide them with little notice.
“Sometimes a bed can make the difference in a whole night’s rest and truly change a child’s world,” said Payne. “Through community partners, we connect with these families in need and provide resources, because of amazing donors and people who want to make a difference.”
Payne also strives to build a team of like-minded individuals and let their gifts shine through to make even a greater difference for the mission.
“Getting to provide an environment of people who come together to care for children in need is a blessing,” said Payne. “What I like most about running my nonprofit is watching others come in and take ownership of our vision and mission.”
A lasting legacy
After six years, Fostering Sweet Dreams now has a full board of directors, a loyal base of volunteers, and numerous contractual workers. Payne is still involved as the organization’s director, overseeing day-to-day operations, but her long-term plans include a permanent paid-for location and a budget with paid employees who have a like-minded vision.
“One of my strongest desires is to build sustainability for years to come even after I’m not around,” said Payne. “Fostering Sweet Dreams has a strong foundation to carry on for generations to come.
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About Tim Priebe
Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.
Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.