The Beginning of Dreamweaver
In the dead of winter, Ron and Jeanie Carson had a conversation that would renew the wonder of life for hundreds of others. One blizzardy day in 2012 Ron and Jeanie decided they wanted to do something to serve a population that they believe is often forgotten and underserved: the elderly.
Ron explained: “…the elderly is a silent suffering generation out there. The population is bigger than people realize, they suffer more than people realize, and they hardly complain at all. They suffer in silence. They suffer alone.” He and Jeanie questioned: “What if we could help people that are on their last leg, go out on a high note?”
Together they founded Dreamweaver Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Omaha, Nebraska that focuses on fulfilling the dreams of seniors who are terminally ill and granting them their life-long dreams.
The smiles abound at Dreamweaver. The Carsons could easily recount some of their favorite moments.
Ron started: “My favorite Dream was our first Dream because we actually did the Dream, beyond just funding it. We had a husband and wife who both were terminally ill. They had nothing to their name. They hadn’t been out to dinner in thirteen years. He never owned a new suit. We took him out and bought him a suit. We took her out, got her hair done, and got her a new dress. She felt like she was Cinderella. We got them a limo, they went out and had dinner. They saw the symphony. It was a magical night for them. That was a favorite.”
Jeanie added: “One of my favorites was a gentleman who had gone fishing in Minnesota all the time as a child so he wanted to go back to Minnesota. His daughter went up with him, his son met him there. He got on the plane to go to Minnesota and he said to his daughter: “I’m gonna die up here.” She said: “Oh Dad!” When they got up there, they fished that night, had a good time and he went to bed that night and didn’t wake up again.”
Eight years later, the two of them have grown the Dreamweaver team to three full-time staff members and over forty volunteers. In 2019 alone, they granted over 150 Dreams. Ron and Jeanie serve on the Board of Directors and intend to leave a legacy of Dream granters throughout their family’s story. “Our goal is that there will always be a member of our family serving on the board,” Ron stated.
“We went into it to bless others but it has really been a blessing for us,” Jeanie added.
For Jeanie, she shared an extra special inspiration for Dreamweaver, her father. She said: “We didn’t grow up with a lot of money but later on with my Dad we would do things like go on trips. I said I always wanted to replicate my Dad’s smile on other people’s faces.”
Long Before the Wintery Night
Beyond the civic involvement of serving on a board, the Carsons have been very intentional in leading their children toward smart financial lifestyles and social impact. Ron and Jeanie Carson both grew up in lower-middle-class families. As they worked hard, earned their success, and accumulated wealth they began to explore what giving back meant to them personally.
Ron shared: “I remember a client telling me he wanted to give $10,000 to his church. I remember I wanted to say: “Are you crazy? Do you know how much it takes to accumulate $10,000?” I just couldn’t mentally grasp why anybody would give some of their hard-earned money away. Then as we got older and became comfortable with the material stuff, and we could provide Maslow’s hierarchy of needs like food shelter…now I know what self-actualization is all about. You get to a point where it is the highest form of being and living is to be a steward of helping others in need. That’s why we do it. It’s the feeling we get.”
Together as a family and through Carson, they support sixty-one charities in Nebraska alone. They also support various charities nationally and Ron serves on the board for an international organization called The Global Coralition focusing on protecting coral reefs. But their deepest connection is with Dreamweaver.
Connecting Life’s Dots
The common thread of many Dreams at Dreamweaver is the power of connection. Whether through sharing the stories of Dreams with the world like Ron and Jeanie do so wonderfully, or bringing loved ones together, there is something so amazing about bridging something forgotten or unseen to feel love. As more and more people embrace Dreamweaver’s mission more loved ones find themselves back in one another’s arms too. Perhaps for the first time in decades, or the last time in this world.
Even in the midst of the pandemic, Dreamweaver has found ways to connect people. Ron shared: “We realized that we could take Facebook portals into nursing homes. We’ve given away five hundred of the Facebook Portals. That has been a game-changer…We are having a bigger impact now more than ever because we are taking people and reconnecting them with loved ones well before they die. A lot of our Dreamers had a Dream and then they passed a week or a day later. And now we are getting people involved and reconnected earlier.”
This holiday season, Dreamweaver invites people to get involved through their Connecting Hope Campaign which provides a gift of togetherness by providing a Facebook Portal to seniors! “Portal from Facebook” is a small video calling device that brings people together virtually. With a Portal, seniors can see their family using the Smart Camera that automatically keeps everyone in view.
Typically, seniors would be looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the holidays. This year, many are still experiencing isolation and loneliness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dreamweaver hopes to lift the spirits of isolated seniors and bring joy this season with hand-written holiday cards and holiday decorations through their Making Spirits Bright Campaign.
Dreamweaver’s goal is to serve over 1,000 seniors this holiday season. You can support their efforts financially or for more information about Dreamweaver, go to https://dreamweaver.org/.
Through Ron and Jeanie’s efforts, whether it be organizing a quiet fishing trip in Minnesota or a luxurious night out on the town, smiles abound. Through reconnecting over a holiday meal with the help of technology or flying a daughter or son across the country to see their mother or father, smiles abound. These memories are more than just a smile though. It is clear that everyone at Dreamweaver is having the time of their lives, through and through, until the end. It is clear that the smile that inspired Jeanie, the one across her father’s lips, has created a legacy of celebrating life.
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