As you can probably tell by now, I use quotes a lot in my writing. They are often the inspiration that triggers the subject that I want to write about for the day. Yesterday was no exception. Sunday, I was watching CBS This Morning and saw a piece on Massimo Bottura, owner of one of, if not the best restaurant in the world Osteria Francescana, a three Michelin Star restaurant in northern Italy. He was talking about how initially no one would some to his restaurant, but he never lost sight of his dream. He said, “If you don’t dream and dream big, you can’t change the world.” I immediately wrote that down.
Often in the early days of the Bring Smiles to Seniors program, I would say that I had a little dream. My little dream was to change seniors’ world one card, one smile at a time. Now as I sit here two and a half years later, I realize that my little dream has become a big reality as we have delivered over 28,000 cards in 2018 alone. Our first year we managed to eek out 7,719, so that is tremendous growth that we are very proud of.
People coming together for a common cause have the most amazing power to change the world, but that can’t happen without dreaming big. One by one volunteers signed on to my dream. First there was just myself and Linda. Soon we were joined by Renee, Becky, Diane and finally Liane. Each one becoming an integral part of our teams’ little dream. In the early days we bought out dollar store cards with our own money. Then our card donors started becoming a part of the dream, one by one. Schools and civic groups became part of the dream. Then decorators, donors and people who believed in dreaming big. Even when there were times when I thought we were done, the dream never died.
Even though our postage costs are enormous, we ran all the operating expenses of this program on less than $14,000 in donations and fundraising last year. I am always taken back when people don’t understand why we get excited over $5, $7, or $10. What they don’t realize is that $7 is the difference of whether or not we will be able to mail cards to a senior community or not. Not one of our volunteers has ever taken a penny in payment for their services, actually they have all put in their own time, resources and money because they believe in dreaming big. It is also why your amazing donated cards and decorating time are the lifeline of what we do.
When we started this program, we were just hoping to reach senior communities in the Tampa Bay Area. Then we started our home delivery program run by Renee. Then came the Michigan branch of our program run by Diane. Finally, our special community mailing program run by Liane. Because we were not afraid to dream big this year we delivered to senior communities in all 50 states, twice and some even more.
If you want something you have to give it your all and go for it. If it nurtures your soul then the work is so much easier. I believe that little dreams can become very big realities and like Massimo said, if you don’t dream big you really can’t change the world. We will continue to dream big and will change a senior’s world one card, one smile at a time.
Have a great day, may your little dream become a big reality and remember to be the reasons someone smiles.