Can you tell us a bit about Precious Dreams Foundation and how it started?
PDF is a 501(c)3 organization that I started with my mother in 2012, in hopes of providing a solution for the lack of comfortability that foster and homeless youth face at bedtime. It started with us simply providing pajamas, plush and books, which then grew into a national organization with programs that teach children positive coping mechanisms for self-comforting at night. I would say we're providing the tools to help underserved youth focus on their dreams.
What can we do to help make a difference in the children and teens lives that PDF works with?
Sponsor a child with a good night's sleep! It only takes a $25 donation to provide support and a comfort bag for one child living in transitional housing. I always encourage people to give back in this way especially now during the holidays. When I think about the holidays, I instantly think about new warm pajamas or a super cute onesie. I think all children deserve that now and throughout the year. I also recently released a YA self-help book titled, Everything a Band-Aid Can't Fix. It's my way of providing outreach for youth beyond Precious Dreams Foundation and all teens facing basic peer pressure, societal, family and confidence issues. Parents should buy it for any child trying to navigate the turbulent passage from teen to adulthood.
Do you have any events coming up?
We're partnering with Spiked Spin for a fun charity ride at the top of the year, so stay tuned for more info. We're also constantly putting on fun events with our Junior Board to raise more funds. Aside from the fundraisers, we have weekly events for children in NY and seasonal events for children in Los Angeles, Baltimore and South Florida. There's typically a wait list for volunteers but we're always looking for people that are great with children or that have experience working with foster and homeless youth. Volunteering with Precious Dreams Foundation is a fulfilling experience for all.
What other non-profit organizations are doing fantastic work like yours that we may not know about?
One of my favorite organizations is The Kite, it's a non-profit that does writing workshops for incarcerated youth and children tied to the juvenile justice system. They do incredible work and we partner with them often. #FosterCareUnplugged is another organization that we love that provides once in a lifetime opportunities for foster youth and Hope for Youth is another one of our favorites. Hope for Youth provides housing, therapy and preventative services for foster youth in Long Island, NY.
What’s your favorite thanksgiving dish?
Baskin Robbins makes the most delicious egg nog ice cream and they only sell it for a limited time between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year. It's been a holiday must-have for my family for as long as I can remember. It is literally the best egg nog (anything) that I've ever had in my entire life. There's nothing like it. Thank me later.
Nicole Russell // Precious Dreams Foundation
The amount of abandoned journals I own with one (1) angsty entry is comical. Looking back, all of these journals were purchased in a time of transition and tribulation. This time last year, to say I was struggling with some growing pains would be a gross understatement. I just graduated from college with a degree in basket weaving (basically), and had no idea what what I was doing with my life after abandoning my 20 year plan to be a lawyer. Life seemed really overwhelming. I needed some inspiration and positivity, not from external forces but from myself. It occurred to me that maybe the reason I couldn’t keep a journal through my teens and early twenties was because all of my entries were about what was plaguing my life, what was wrong, and what I lacked. That’s hard to write, hard to read, hard to live.
I decided I would start keeping a journal of a different kind - one where I wrote about the daily joys in my life, what I’m grateful for, my gifts and talents, my wildest dreams, and all the resources within my possession to make them come true. I keep it simple. My rule for gratitude journal keeping is this: write exactly what you want, say exactly what you mean, and be intentional. No “I can’t”. No “I shouldn’t”. No “I fear”. No “I’m not”. Since starting this journal, my entire perspective in life, and in effect, the trajectory of my life has changed. It’s not perfect. It’s not glamorous. But it’s exactly what I hoped for and then some. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I wrote this entry this time last year:
Fast forward a year: my current reality is exactly what I’ve described. I believe so strongly in the power of thought and manifestation. What you think becomes the house you live in, and what you speak becomes your truth. Most of all, I believe that honoring your blessings - the talents you possess, the people who support and love you, the job and home you keep - is the only way to multiply them. Nothing about life is simple or easy, but it’s a lot simpler when you acknowledge what you have and can control rather than constantly acknowledging what you don’t and can’t. It seems trivial to say that the reason I have the life I do right now; living in New York, pursuing my career as a curve model, establishing myself in an industry built without me in mind, is because of a journal. Of course - I did, and am, and will continue to do the work. But, I wanted these things long before I ever wrote them, and my expression of this desire was always drowned in self-doubt, and truthfully, a complete lack of gratitude for who I am and what I am capable of. I love this time of year because it gives everyone an opportunity to do just that. Maintain that energy 365/year and watch what it will do for you. Grab yourself a journal at Target. Take some time each day, set your intentions, and manifest those dreams. Stop complicating your world with “buts”, “ifs” and “can’ts”. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by acknowledging your power. Be thankful and blessed bbys <3