Sweet Dreams Fund

If we can’t end the violence, we can at least help provide a new beginning. Support domestic violence shelters with donations in cash or kind. Even the simplest of gifts can mean a lot to women and children escaping abuse.

macyjamesIn early June of this year, my wife’s family experienced something so unimaginable that even those not related to them were left numb to the core. I have written a few blog posts about what transpired in case you’re interested, here:

After the Tragedy – Anguish and Anger

During the Trial – May the Gavel Precede Justice

After the Verdict – An Open Letter

Thank YOU! – Sweet Dreams in Action

This is a page devoted to springing hope from tragedy and to try and offer some peace to those who were devastated by what happened. On June 8, 2009, Macy (age 5) and James IV (age 3) were slain at the hand of their father…a man they were born to trust and a man who the courts inexplicably entrusted their lives with for an unsupervised visit. Also killed was their beloved grandmother Margaret who’s only crime was having an unbreakable bond with her grandchildren.

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By the grace of God, their mother Marci was spared his physical wrath but the emotional pain she endures on a daily basis is something we can’t be expected to comprehend. Thousands of people attended the wake for these three beautiful souls and to say their final goodbyes. Tears flowed freely and countless embraces tried in vain to squeeze the pain away. I felt helpless and I vowed to do something beyond granting words of sympathy.


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I take solace in knowing that these children were guided through the gates of heaven hand-in-hand by the grandmother who loved them so very deeply but this does nothing to quell the anger I feel over something so tragic and inexplicable.

This is when I decided to do something about it. To channel the anger into something more positive. I called a number of domestic violence shelters and asked what their biggest needs were outside monetary donations. The answers were surprising to me and the concept behind my Sweet Dreams Fund was born.


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When women make the decision to break away from domestic violence and seek shelter they often arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs and children in hand. On more than one occasion I was told by domestic shelter administrators that they could really use pillows because they have to constantly recycle used pillows as women and children come and go.

It takes a lot of courage and a lot of sacrifice to leave an abusive relationship and turning to a shelter can’t be easy. But it is a safe haven. And I wanted to do something to help make what may be their first night of peace as comforting as possible. With your help, we can do just that.


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Every penny that is contributed to my “Good Night’s Sleep” Sweet Dreams Fund is used to purchase new pillows, pillowcases, plush bears, crayons, and coloring books in bulk which are then donated to an increasing number of domestic violence shelters.

When women and older children arrive at the shelter, they will be given a fresh, clean pillow and a pillowcase. Younger children will also receive a soft plush teddy bear, a coloring book, and a box of crayons just for them. Best of all, they get to take these items with them when they leave.


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If you think that this sounds trivial just speak with a domestic violence shelter and your opinion will quickly change. These women often arrive with nothing and even the smallest gesture can warm the heart and provide an added level of support for their decision to end the cycle of violence.

Leaving with something they can call their own, something that provided them with some comfort, will have a positive emotional impact and I’m committed to seeing this happen as often as possible.

I will be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to help raise money for the Sweet Dreams Fund and I kicked off the fund raising with my Flirty Girl Fitness Challenge.

My hope was to raise $500 by shaking my booty but the support was overwhelming. In the end, we more than DOUBLED our goal and raised more than $1100 for the Sweet Dreams Fund through the Flirty Girl Challenge. You have no idea the impact this will make on women and children escaping domestic violence. Thank you so much and I’ll be keeping you all posted on the next fundraiser.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Terri July 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Great website Greg. I passed it along to a lot of people. I really hope this makes a lot of money for all the women and children. You have our support 100%, not to mention LOVE to see you dancing…hahaha

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David Atwood July 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Great job. I thank God that my daughter has someone with a caring heart and a fantastically creative mind. Thanks for this. As you say, words can not express what we feel. Hugs transfer the love we have for each other and allow us to share the pain. This is a beginning of doing something to ensure as many children and women as possible can continue their lives without the fear of bodily harm and possibly death. Good Luck on your Flirty Girl Challenge. Dad

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Christine Cugno July 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm

This is a great idea. I will do what I can to spread the word. Every little bit helps. Your sense of humor brightens even the darkest challenges these families face. That will capture people's attention and the support will come. I hope Marci can find some peace in the knowledge that many will be helped by the Sweet Dreams Fund.

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Stefanie July 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I am so sorry for your families incredible loss! What you are doing is great and I hope to be a part of it. I think your idea is wonderful and I can't wait to help you and all the mothers and children in domestic violence shelters!

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Firefly July 20, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Words can't describe how sorry I am for your families loss. Those beautiful children and their grandmother are missed by family friends and new friends trough this fund that you are doing which is so wonderful. I'm here to help, domestic violence needs to stop and those affected by it need to be protected and helped.

I tweeted about this (http://twitter.com/FireflyShop/status/2753296785)

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Telling Dad July 20, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Thank you everyone and this fund is so motivating. I really can't wait to share the feedback we receive from the shelters we donate the Sweet Dream packs to. Vocalizing it is just as powerful as monetary contributions and my hope is to keep this fund as the driving force behind my blog.

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Renee July 21, 2009 at 3:56 am

I admire you for stepping up and creating this heartwarming fund, and the website. This will keep the memories of 3 precious souls alive while making sure other precious souls have the opportunity to make memories throughout their lives. I pray for Marci to have the strength, and the faith to cope with this oh so horrible loss. My heart hurts for you all, and I feel the total urgency to rush home to my 3 year old son, Halsey. May God shine his lovelight on you, and yours. Blessings of God's love….

Renee

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Marci Weidler July 21, 2009 at 10:14 am

I hardly know what to say, but I am so incredibly sorry for your loss and my heart just breaks for Marci~ only those who have endured such suffering could possibly relate and I pray that there are others who can lead her through this dark and horrifying chapter of her life. Bless you that you have chosen to start a meaningful work borne out of tragedy~ FYI there is a Pillows of Love chapter here in PA http://www.pillows-of-love.com/ that you could contact for additional donations of pillows. May God's immeasurable peace and love touch your hearts and surround each one of you.

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Liliana July 22, 2009 at 12:56 pm

A big hug to you, Heather and the family. I will be sure let all know about the Sweet Dreams Fund.

Good luck with the challenge. I am sure I will be transfixed (and dumbfounded) when the videos come out!

Love, Liliana

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Sabrina @ Twiggles a July 29, 2009 at 2:12 am

i will be RTing this as much as i can

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terri July 30, 2009 at 8:53 am

wow this really is a great thing. it is really sad what happened. thanks for letting everyone know.

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Melanie B July 31, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I've donated to domestic violence shelters as well and they asked for journals for the mom's to write down their feelings, etc. Thinking outside the box is a wonderful way to contribute to people of domestic violence, etc. This is a wonderful cause, Greg

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Dee G August 25, 2009 at 4:48 am

Read about this site in the comments section of the Repository – hopefully, you will receive many visits and contributions due to just one comment. I will be helping to spread the word!

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lorraine bouton September 1, 2009 at 1:05 am

thank you …

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Erin Kewer September 18, 2009 at 3:32 am

Love the idea. This is such a wonderful thing you are doing

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What-I-Found October 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Having just found this blog I also figured out how to re-tweet the message at the top of this page…my first time. I'll be back with more support, I think this is wonderful way to help.

(I might add that a local shelter mentioned wanting kits of needlework for the women to pass the time. There are lots of simple things we can do.)

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claire February 17, 2010 at 5:59 am

This has brought tears to my eyes, thank you for what your doing & I hope to help support this cause, as I can, as well.

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Dan Dement March 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Wow! Just read this after sending you an email about another topic (RE: Chief Parenting video). What you are doing is to be commended. While reading the background story, then seeing the kit contents, I've never had the emotion to cry come up inside of me so fast before. I will definitely be back in touch to discuss ways I and my soon-to-launch company can assist you and this cause.

Dan

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jessica June 6, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Amazing, it is hard for people to come out of such a horrible thing with something so great, you are amazing! I passed this one and hope that it helps!

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Donda June 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I think this is a great thing you have done. I am a news junkie and I remember this story. I thought, "that poor Mother". The thing is domestic violence is more than just a news story. I grew up with it. My heart goes out to your family and I have posted a link to the fund on my fb wall for lots of people to see.

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Jenny June 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

OMG. I read teh post on why you made this and I just… OMG. O. M. G. !!!!

It's nice that you made this. I really hope it does well. 🙂 Good luck.

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Alison June 10, 2010 at 12:50 am

You are so sweet Greg. What a wonderful thing you are doing! Those poor children. I am sorry for their lose. Now I'm going to sit here and cry… and donate!

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Mary October 14, 2010 at 11:16 am

Are donations tax deductible? DH would kill me if he found I was donating to a "cause" found on a blog without further information. haha

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Telling Dad October 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Because I'm not a non-profit organization the donations aren't tax deductible. I was told that the IRS treats me as a separate entity unless I file a 503c or something like that. Because all donations are pass-through and I'm not a corporation, it doesn't provide that benefit. The cost and requirements just aren't sensible yet but I'll be working on that if I can get this fund growing.

Karen December 4, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I just found your blog tonight through momdot. I grew up in a home where violence was the norm, where my father regularly beat my mother up. When I grew up and got married, I told myself I would not live that way. When my second husband hit me and my son for no apparent reason the first time, I packed up my children and left in the middle of the night. It was not fun, but I got out of a bad situation after only being married to him for 4 months.

A few years later, I was on the board of directors for a shelter for battered women in my hometown. I agree that there is a big need for pillows and pillow cases. Thank you for doing what you do–I appreciate it for every woman who has the courage to walk away.

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Mitchell Allen December 21, 2010 at 1:53 am

Greg, this is a wonderful idea. Did you ever get 503c status? I work with another domestic-violence related charity called Bears on Patrol. I wonder if we could collaborate?

I'll be retweeting this and everything else.

Sincerely,

Mitch

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Tonja August 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

I shared this on facebook as well as tweeted it. My contribution will be forthcoming for sure. As a survivor of domestic violence myself (step-father from Satan) I completely identify with these people. God bless you and your family.

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katie October 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I read this post with tears running down my face. I commend you for recognizing the beginnings of what could turn into indifference in your child. I also am touched that you were able to channel your hurt and anger into something that help women and children more than you probably will ever know. I believe in everyday angels…and that’s what I believe you are. Thank you for caring, and working to inspire it in others.

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Tonja August 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

some things I don’t care about being tax deductible. It’s the right thing to do and not about me at all.

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