Lilburn resident steps into role of executive director for Dream House

LILBURN — Cathi Durham said she feels like she’s come home.

The first week in September, Durham returned to Dream House for Medically Fragile Children as the organization’s executive director.

Dream House provides support and resources for families who have medically fragile children so those families are better equipped to care for their children and keep them at home.

Durham was originally hired by Dream House in 2003 as the first corporate employee to help develop and oversee programs, and she worked for the organization until 2008. At that time, Durham left to pursue a position with the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians, a medical society, as director of outreach.

“I hated to leave in 2008 and I was very glad to come back again,” Durham said. “I feel like I’ve come home. I love the opportunity because I have such a passion for Dream House and its mission and I loved working here before and working with these families and children. The Dream House mission is very dear to my heart.”

As executive director, the Lilburn resident oversees the staff of Dream House, grant writing, fundraisers and serves as a mediator between the staff and the board of directors.

“I know much of the staff, I’ve worked with most of them before, so it’s great to be back and working with them again,” Durham said.

Since she’s been back, Dream House has connected with Bill and Stacy Halstead, the parents of Tripp Halstead, a toddler who was injured at his Winder day care when a tree limb fell and hit him in the head. The Halsteads spoke at a recent fundraiser for the Dream House.

“Talking with them and discussing our resources for them, I know they’ve touched many people and they come to mind right away (as a family who is special),” Durham said.

Durham said her love and passion for Dream House grew from getting to know families and getting to see the challenges they face and how the organization can help.

“These families are under a lot of pressure and stress caring for a medically fragile child and if there’s something we can do to support them, I just feel like they do amazing things and I love the opportunity to help them.”

Durham said her job is extremely rewarding.

“To be able to help these families and support them in caring for their child, a child, as you know, thrives in a home that’s stable with a loving family. To be able to empower that family to do that and for that child to stay at home and be in a loving family, it’s just the best to be a part of that,” she said. “I so love this job. I do.”