06 Aug Boca Raton’s Sweet Dream Makers
This article was originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, preserved here now for historical purposes.
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Can you imagine being a child, and sleeping without a bed? Unable to get a good night’s sleep because the floor is chilly, or not having the warmth of a comforter?
In 2012, Suzanne Broad started delivering beds to local families in need, with the help of a few friends at Temple Beth El. At the time she didn’t realize how much need there really was in the community, or how many friends she would make who wanted to pitch in, and make a difference.
Sweet Dream Makers is head quartered in Boca Raton, and was founded in 2012 in response to an overwhelming community need to get children into a bed of their own. Sweet Dream Makers delivers new beds, at no cost, to children and families sleeping on the floor, sharing beds, or sleeping in unsafe, unsanitary conditions. In addition to the essential foundation of a safe place to rest, each child gets to choose their own bedding to go with their new bed, giving them ownership and a feeling of dignity and pride along with each good night’s rest.
Sweet Dream Makers has served families in Palm Beach County by providing new beds, bedding, and donated essential furniture to those in need. They give between 1,800 and 2,000 beds to local families annually, but their data shows that requests for beds spike dramatically beginning in July. Sweet Dream Makers attributes this trend to the back to school season and with the support of The Lou Bachrodt Auto Group and the Sokol Foundation, they are rolling out to get every student into a bed of their own during their Back to School Campaign. “We know from our data that this is the busiest time of year for bed requests,” says Sweet Dream Makers’ executive director Suzanne Broad. “Every parent wants their children to be able to get a good night’s sleep so they can do their best in school.” Broad’s organization partners with more than 40 social service agencies to identify families who are sleeping on floors, couches, sharing small mattresses, or in otherwise unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Inadequate sleep is strongly linked to poor social, emotional, and physical health, as well as poor academic performance for children. Of the students who have received beds from Sweet Dream Makers, 80% have improved their grades, behavior, and homework habits once they’ve been able to establish healthy sleep habits in a bed of their own.
“One of the first questions I ask about my students who are struggling is how they’re sleeping,” says Beth Nottman, Director of the Learning Lab at Saint Andrews School in Boca Raton. “A good night of sleep is invaluable for a student, especially one who is having difficulties with attention, focusing, or remembering information.” “Sleep is huge,” Shauntay King, Principal at Pine Grove Elementary School in Delray Beach, agrees. “Children lacking rest often struggle to stay focused and often have less than positive attitudes towards their teachers, peers, and assignments.”
Gift will help the agency deliver beds, and furniture to families in need just in time for Back to School season
The Lou Bachrodt Auto Group has generously donated a 16′ delivery truck to support Sweet Dream Makers efforts for the Back to School season and beyond. The new truck is already on the road in Palm Beach County, helping transport essential furniture from Sweet Dream Makers’ warehouse to area families. “Many of the families that Sweet Dream Makers helps don’t have or can’t afford to rent a vehicle suitable for moving big furniture,” says Sean Bachrodt, COO/President of The Lou Bachrodt Auto Group. “We are delighted to partner with Sweet Dream Makers to help these families get the things they need to sleep better tonight and have a better tomorrow.” This generous gift kicks off Sweet Dream Makers’ annual Back to School Campaign, which has a goal of raising $50,000 to help 200 students get off the floor and into a bed by the end of September. The Sokol Foundation has generously provided a matching grant to help Sweet Dream Makers reach their goal. Donations between now and Sept. 30th will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $25,000, doubling the impact of each contribution!