What started out as a dream for one woman turned out to be reality for thousands.
Pediatrics nurse Laura Moore was saddened to see medically fragile children who were abandoned by their families and left to exist in hospitals where their only human contact was with nurses giving them pills or technicians taking their blood.
She dreamed of a home where these children could live in a loving, stable environment. She knocked on doors of churches and businesses seeking their support. After corralling hundreds of volunteers and winding her way through bureaucratic red tape, Moore's dream - the Dream House for Medically Fragile Children - came true.
It was Moore's dream, but it is children who are living it. The Dream House can accommodate only six children at a time, but the services go well beyond the building.
So far this year, Dream House has served more than 125 medically fragile children and 140 caregivers. Since its inception in 2001, the Dream House has helped 640 children and 580 caregivers in 28 Georgia counties.
And the Dream House Advocacy Program has provided a unified voice for more than 6,000 medically fragile children in the state, increasing awareness among teachers, government officials and Department of Family and Children Services workers of their special needs.
Moore's dream continues to grow. In Conyers, a new Dream House Resource Center will include classrooms and skill labs, respite and day care for children and short-term housing for caregivers.
As facilities and services expand for the Dream House, so does notoriety. Moore was twice a finalist for the Volvo for Life Award. She was featured in People magazine and honored as an ABC News Person of the Week.
Atlanta Braves player Jeff Francoeur, who grew up near the Dream House, is now a spokesman for the organization. But he does more than just talk. He gets talked about.
For every home run he hits, Delta Airlines contributes Sky Miles for children who need transportation for medical procedures. Every time he hits a homer, thousands of people hear about the Dream House.
And besides all that, he even sings. This summer he donated his winnings from a radio karaoke contest to the Dream House. (And he keeps on singing at www.allthehitsq100.com/bertshow.)
Speaking of singing, the Dream House's fifth annual fundraiser, Music on Main, is coming up on Sept. 8. Lilburn Park will be transformed into a virtual beach party, while Hit the Beach performs and diners enjoy barbecue from Famous Dave's and bid at the silent auction.
Sounds like lots of real fun for something that started out as just a dream.
For more information, visit www.music-on-main.org or call 770-717-7410.
Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.