Today I am writing you a letter that I never thought I would write. It’s 2019 and 10 years since the launch of Little Dreamers.
As a young woman I imagined what it would be like to run a business, to have that top job, to wear a suit to work every day. Well, I have the top title, Little Dreamers is a million-dollar business, and I definitely do not wear a suit to work…ever. But this organisation is more than I could have ever imagined, and it is only with the help of many special individuals that this organisation is the life changing one that it is today.
To my cofounder,
Becca, we sat there on the floor of your bedroom with print outs of how to start a business, what an ABN is and the types of bank accounts we needed. We drove to meetings on our P Plates and road tripped to Geelong to deliver a bike for one of our first Dream Experiences. We built Little Dreamers to support Young Carers and Special Siblings through Dream Experiences. We have been able to do so much more.
From a conversation when we were just nine years old, the idea that came from a comment about feeling like the only person in the world with a sick sibling, has improved the quality of life for over 5,000 young people around the country. From the very beginning of the Carenet Kids Club through our iterations of the K.I.D.Z CLUB to Little Dreamers, it was always the two of us against the world.
Thank you for the late nights, the hundreds of notebooks we went through planning out what we wanted our impact to be, the crazy event ideas we had and for your passion as a friend, mentor and confidant.
To my parents,
You tell a story of a nine-year-old informing you that they were going to change the world. You talk about how a young girl took her personal experience and turned it into something that changes lives. From this young girl who cried out for your attention (in all the wrong ways), into someone who is creating the change she said she would, I hope you are proud of me.
I know I caused you grief – I told stories, stole things from the school shop, constantly complained to teachers and whoever would listen that I wasn’t feeling well. I threw tantrums and slammed my door so many times that I damaged the door frame. It came from so many places of frustration – frustration about sickness and illness, frustration from the feeling that I couldn’t do anything about it.
Over the years, through your unshakeable guidance and support, I have turned frustration into passion and passion into Little Dreamers. Despite the number of hospital trips we took as a family, the late nights we all spent in emergency and the number of puzzle books we went through, I am the luckiest girl for having you as my family. You have demonstrated that practice makes perfect, the sky is the limit and love is unconditional.
From now until forever I will continue to show you, and the rest of the world, that you have done the most amazing job raising our family, walking the walk and letting your kids live out their dreams. And for that I am the proudest daughter in the world.
To my brother,
Charlie you often make comments about how Little Dreamers exists because of you. Not only are you the reason I do this every day but simply put, you are the reason I do anything.
Growing up I watched you fight through set back after set back. Every challenge that came your way you made a joke and then put everything you had into pushing back on it. You have become a young man that I am so incredibly proud of and I definitely don’t say that enough.
I know things are still hard…and sometimes they’re frustrating. Over the years you have demonstrated how much you care about those around you, and how much you care about Little Dreamers. You have been my rock, my artistic partner and my tea maker when things get rough.
You always think outside the box and so many of the Little Dreamers early success stories came from ideas you had. From drawing the covers on our fashion parade flyers back in 2003 through to developing Cut in Half Cookbooks with your cousin in 2012 (and securing personalities like Elmo, Jason Alexander and Julia Gillard), you are a constant source of inspiration and you are correct, Little Dreamers wouldn’t exist without you and neither would I. I love you to the moon and back little bro.
To my Board…all iterations of it,
Since launch we have had 17 Board Members through our team. Whether staying for one year or all 10, I cannot express how thankful I am for having so many amazing people from different industries and backgrounds believe in me. Being on a Board is not an easy job and the commitment for many years was all about reviewing financial reports and questioning how we are going to pay our legal and registration fees for the next 12 months, let alone how we are going to keep creating impact.
Things have changed over the past 18 months. We have professionalized, grown our impact exponentially, increased our funding year on year, and demonstrated our ability to stick around. The Little Dreamers Board Members have seen through hours of meetings run by people who started off as kids at someone’s kitchen table, through to our first office, and then our second. They have pushed me on things I didn’t think was possible, forced me to grow up and challenged Little Dreamers to become the organisation I always hoped we could be, but sometimes doubted we would actually get there.
From phone calls at 11pm through to weekend catch ups, the people on my Board have never just been Board Members. They are people I am proud to call my friends and I am thankful every day that they believe in me, in our mission and in our incredible Young Carers.
To the current Little Dreamers Team,
Holy moly, bringing on our first staff member in 2018 was terrifying…now there are 14 of you. We have always hired for passion rather than for experience and that has definitely paid off. When we first started hiring, I questioned who would want to work for me, who would believe in our mission and who would give up working in what I considered a real business, compared to Little Dreamers.
Sometimes I still question the sanity of the Little Dreamers team for joining me on this crazy path, but I thank god every day that they took the step and came to work for us. They are open to growth, question why things have been done a certain way and break down barriers for new opportunities.
I have never laughed or cried as much as I have with this incredible team by my side. If anyone thought moving mountains was impossible, they obviously haven’t met the Little Dreamers team.
In the day to day of running the business I know we can get caught up in our to do lists. We prioritise putting out the mini fires and we brush past the wins before getting back to work. Today, and every day, I want you to know how grateful I am to have you here. You are changing the world every single day…literally. And you should all know how proud I am of you. In fact, to be honest, proud doesn’t even begin to cover it.
To our Young Carers,
Thank you for letting us into your lives. Every story we hear, every Dream we grant and every mentoring opportunity that is set up is an exciting moment. I still pinch myself wondering why people took a chance on us. We believe in you, in your opportunities and in your quality of life.
You are the reason I do what I do now and why I will keep my head down while we push towards our 2030 goals.
To all of the others who have been instrumental in the Little Dreamers journey, thank you. Your attendance at events, donations, words of encouragement, social media likes and referrals are the reason we are here celebrating our 10th birthday.
To 2009 Maddy, this is your dream come true. Yes it’s terrifying and it’s hard and sometimes it takes all you have to give, but take a step back, this is everything you have been working towards. Take a moment to realise how far you’ve come, before putting that head back down to figure out the next steps. Because the next part is going to be the best.With love and big dreams,