Volunteering and giving back to the community is a great attribute and something not routinely recognized enough. In DC many people donate their time, talent, and treasure to a variety of different worthy causes. Glenda Fu the Executive Director of Dreams for Kids is someone to look up to when it comes to giving back to the community. Dream for Kids is doing important work and producing quality events in the process of driving home their mission to empower children with physical and developmental disabilities. FamousDC is honored to recognize Glenda’s work in this Famous 5 interview.
Tell us a little bit about Dreams For Kids DC and the events that you host, projects, and new initiatives that you have launched as the Executive Director.
Dreams For Kids DC provides life-changing activities that empower children with physical and developmental disabilities to unite with their peers and realize their potential. All too often children with disabilities are isolated and don’t have adequate opportunities to partake in physical activities that other children are able to experience daily. We differentiate ourselves from our competitors by the quality and abundance of volunteer support we offer. Each of our clinics ensures a 1:1 ratio of volunteer to participant. We have three free programs:
1) DFKDC Clinics: DFKDC events are adaptive clinics held once or twice a month for children with disabilities aged 4 – 24. Through our events, those with physical and developmental disabilities can come off the sidelines and unite with their peers. The empowerment and self-confidence gained through the clinic will carry over from the field to the home, classroom, and the community, allowing them to realize that their disability will not prevent them from fulfilling their dreams.
2) DFKDC Holiday Celebration: The DFKDC Holiday Celebration is more than a seasonal party; it is our culminating year-end event that gives our participants (the beneficiaries of our free DFKDC clinics) the opportunity to “pay-compassion-forward”. Participants engage in a variety of philanthropic activities at the Holiday Celebration including: wrapping presents for underprivileged children; decorating desserts for homeless shelters; making holiday cards for Veterans, and more.
3) Your Path to Success (our newest initiative that we launched in 2017): DFKDC’s mentorship program that provides communication, leadership, and vocational skill building for young adults with developmental delays and/or physical disabilities in the DC area. Over the course of 3 months, the program offers participants both skill-building workshops on topics such as resume development, interviewing, and formal e-mail communication as well as off-site group community service projects, site visits to places that employ those with disabilities, and opportunities to network. We seek for participants to walk away with meaningful relationships, new confidence, and real skills that allow them to pursue independence and gainful employment.
In addition to Dreams For Kids can you tell us a little bit about your work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Elpis Experience?
In 2011, I was nominated as a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Woman of the Year candidate and raised $40,000 for LLS in just ten weeks. It was a very exciting campaign where I got to meet a lot of incredible people and impact lives alongside the other men and women of the year. Since 2011, I have stayed on as am LLS Leadership Team member, continuing my fundraising efforts to end blood cancers and also mentor new candidates through the years. I think LLS’ work is especially important because their research has helped find cures to other types of cancer as well. Elpis Experience is my passion project I started because of my love of event planning and also giving back to other charities in the community. I freelance PR and event planning services for local companies, including a variety of popular restaurants in the area. By leveraging my PR and event contracts, I am able to raise money for other incredible start-up nonprofits in the area. Over the last five years, I have donated my time to help raise over $100,000 for local and international charities including Saprinu/Shining Star Academy in Nepal, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Hope Community Charter School, Brainy Camps, Urban Light, Artsbridge Institute, FairFund and more.
Why is it important for you to work and volunteer in the DMV community? What advice do you have for people considering taking a few hours out of their lives to volunteer for a cause?
I am a strong believer in hearing people’s stories and giving compassionately, without expecting a return. I think if we all took a few hours/days out of our lives to support someone less fortunate that they will in turn also give back to the community. I believe that to give is to not only grow in your own soul, but also incite a change in others.
You have a big event with the Washington Capitals coming up. Can you tell us a little bit about this event and some of your other programs with Dreams for Kids DC?
Yes! We are very excited to host the ninth annual Dreams For Kids DC Ice Hockey clinic with the Washington Capitals on 2/8/19. This couldn’t be possible without the support of the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation (MSE Foundation); as well as, our yearly sponsor DARCARS. It is exciting to see a local company like DARCARS give back to us and also provide so many wonderful volunteers for this event; but we can always use more friendly faces on the ice to interact with our participants. All of our participants will be treated to a free skate thanks to MSE Foundation, a lunch, and give aways. We hear from our parents about how hard it is to find free programming for their children, especially something as special as skating alongside the Capitals. It is heart-warming to see the entire community, from corporations large and small, banding together to provide this life-changing day for youth with disabilities. We have many other clinics throughout the year, including a prom; football with the Washington Redskins, soccer with D.C. United, arts clinics, and much more!
How can people get involved with Dreams for Kids DC? Volunteer? Donate? Follow your organization on social media?
People can learn more at: http://dreamsforkidsdc.org
Follow us on Instagram, and Twitter at @dreamsforkidsdc