Tuesday, August 22, 2023

End-of-Life Doulas Raise Funds to Pay for Maui Funerals

Photo: Redcross.org

As we watched images of Maui engulfed in flames, our hearts broke. It is painful to watch a once verdant landscape transform nearly instantaneously to scorched earth. And now, we turn to the aftermath: grief, loss, and heartbreak. As end-of-life doulas, we know the emotional and financial toll can be too much to bear. As of today, there will be 115 funerals on Maui, with more likely to come as debris is cleared. Our wish is to offer financial support to those who otherwise might not have the funds to provide a meaningful funeral or memorial for their loved ones.



As Californians, we know all too well the devastation wrought by wildfires. Not only does the experience require exhaustive efforts to contain, but the tremendous shock and laden grief that permeate such an event are nothing shy of traumatizing.

To our Maui family: we know that your lives are forever changed by the magnitude of this sudden, immeasurable loss: the vast numbers of homes turned to ash, vegetation burned, historic places decimated, human and animal lives lost. The security you felt, the future you envisioned…you are forever changed by this event.



While we may not call Maui home, we understand that our collective destinies are intertwined. This beautiful earth we all share and steward belongs to us all. And when devastation looms large in one part of this world, we all feel its effects. Equally, we feel compelled to act, and embrace the inherent invitation to respond with goodwill and compassion. As the adage goes, “we’re all just walking each other home”.



As end-of-life doulas, we understand that it is often not feasible for families to absorb unanticipated funeral costs alongside the immeasurable magnitude of loss they are holding. Let’s find a way to lighten the load.

We are working with local doulas and a non-profit funeral home in the area to provide free funeral and burial services to those Lahaina families who have lost someone in the fire.

As always, 100% of your DONATION received through our partnership with Dream of a Better World, a 501(c)3 non-profit will go directly to the causes we support in Maui. Administrative and accounting responsibilities are provided pro bono.

Know that your love and compassion matters greatly, and we thank you for your contribution.

If you'd like to know more about our doula services, please visit our website at:


Photo Credits:





Friday, August 4, 2023

Casa Hogar Nueva Vida - A Terrific Opportunity!

Hola Dream of a Better World friends and supporters!  We have found a wonderful new group of kids who can really use our support!  These amazing kids were taken off the streets and are being cared for by Ami Reyes, an inspiring and compassionate 30-year-old woman who grew up in that very orphanage!

We were in Oaxaca, Mexico this Spring when we heard a story about a local ice cream cart vender who delivered ice cream to a small orphanage once a month as his way of trying to make a difference in his community. 

Well... we HAD to check that out!

The moment we entered their building it felt familiar.  There was the word "OHANA" written on the mail pillar of the entrance and there were bouncing, skipping, happy kids running circles around it.  We asked Ami about the Hawaii connection and it turned out that the orphanage was founded by her parents with the help, early on, by a church in Hawaii that we know very well.  As is often the case over time, there had been changes at the church and they were no longer financially involved.  However, we had heard many encouraging stories about the work of this orphanage and Ami's parents.  Her parents, and now Ami, had dedicated their lives to this orphanage and the many beautiful children that they have loved and raised over the years.

At the moment, Ami is a bit on her own.  Her father, Octavio, has died and her mom, Victoria, is also ill.  So, Ami is caring for her mother and 12 kids now, ages 2 - 17.  There are 5 rooms for girls and 1 large room for boys.  Ami told us that "education is first priority" and she has managed to arrange for tuition scholarships from a local private school.  However, there are many other costly items needed to attend school, and we can certainly make a big difference here!

It was also clear to us that the orphanage was in desperate need of repair inside and out, as well general household items like mattresses, furniture, bedding... pretty much everything. The roof had large holes in it and many interior doors were in need of replacement.

There were opportunities to make a real difference nearly everywhere we looked!  What an opportunity for Dream of a Better World!

We are trying to support this amazing young woman and the 12 kids at Casa Hogar Nueva Vida.

We hope that you will all join us! 

If you'd like to financially support this cause, you can CLICK HERE or use the DONATE BUTTON above!

PS. As always 100% of your donation will go directly to helping this cause.  We are volunteer based and raise what little overhead we have separately.  We are planning to travel back to Mexico in February of 2024 to follow up and see how we can continue to stay connected.      

PPS. Here's a list of school supply items in pesos from Ami:(PRICES ARE IN PESOS)                                       

Monday, March 6, 2023

Ukraine Remains in Our Hearts…

Several of us went to visit our boots-on-the-ground friend Laura Pauli this past weekend in San Francisco. She is home now, but planning another return trip to Ukraine for a few months this summer to cook and serve meals with fellows food warriors that she cooked with at World Central Kitchen in Poland last year. They are on their own this time. Laura is so much more than a chef. Yes, she cooks like a superstar, but her heart is truly what draws us all to her work. Since returning from Ukraine, she has continued to raise funds for families who are in crisis…cold, hungry, grieving, sick, abandoned, vulnerable, homeless, raped, scared, dying, poor, and left wondering what has become of their everyday life, and how they will survive.

With Laura’s help, we have been able to identify many families who need our support. We have supported her in relocating many to other European countries, but now she is focused on those who have chosen to stay and fight, or to stay and resist the Russians goal to remove them.  The stories we've heard are horrific and we MUST continue to help where we can.

To this end, we are currently working on the following projects: 

·   1) To continue to make and deliver stoves for heat and cooking. It costs only $150.00 to have a stove built, pipes added, and then to deliver and install it into a home. Every family should have heat and the ability to cook, so this need will go on. 




2) To start repairing blown out windows in family homes, which are normally about $15.00 each.


3) To fill a pantry in Kyiv with food and water as supplies are extremely low at this moment, and they are foreseeing a water shortage as summer approached. This immediate goal is for $4,000.00 and will likely be ongoing.


4) To fill an immediate and life-saving need for $4,100.00 to buy bullet-proof vests for volunteer soldiers and humanitarian workers fighting and fielding supplies into Bakhmut, the current epicenter of the war and focus of Russia’s brutal attacks.


5) To purchase more boots to allay the outbreak of gangrene caused by bacterial infections because soldiers are sharing boots as they change shifts on the front lines. There are dozens of amputations reported each week due to this problem. Sturdy combat boots cost about $60.00 a pair.

We will continue to post updates and work directly with Dave Lowe, a volunteer soldier in Ireland, and his team in Kyiv. They are the true heroes, putting their lives at risk every day, constantly being shot at with bounties on their heads, and stepping into some scenes that we cannot even begin to fathom. Our support means the world to them and they have asked us to say thank you to all of you, for what you have done, and also for what we will continue to do. 


Take care of yourselves and those you love,


The Button Family and our growing team at Dream of a Better World


If you wish to support the work in Ukraine, please

 CLICK on this link, or 

CLICK on the “Support for Ukraine” button above.


Thank you all so much for your ongoing care and trust in our work!

Friday, February 10, 2023

With Gratitude for Another Year of Kindness and Generosity!

Thank you for all your support this past year! It seemed to fly by and there were so many needs as always, with the ongoing war in Ukraine being one of our biggest challenges. Thankfully, our friend Laura Pauli was there serving with World Central Kitchen, and her stories soon became our stories. We are all so grateful for her giant heart that rose up to make a difference, one family at  time.


We finished strong as always during the holidays, thanks to all of you, but this year was so much bigger than usual, with ongoing fundraisers in support of Ukraine and providing assistance to those suffering due to natural disasters and economic challenges. As we enter 2023, this is where our fundraising will continue, as the weather will be warming soon in Ukraine, the war has been relentless, and now we have more people suffering in Turkey, Syria, and even in our own backyard.


This is our 15th year of raising money is a grassroots way for small projects around the globe. None of these projects can happen without all of you. Your ideas, time, donations and ongoing encouragement keep us going every year. You now bring project ideas to us that are close to your heart, and many of you walk side by side us as we fill some of those very needs. So thank you!


Because of your generosity this past year, we have been able to:


·      Stock a local food pantry

·      Support educational programs for a family in Africa

·      Provide food, clothing, toys, diapers, gift cards, and a holiday celebration for a local shelter for abused men, women, and children

·      Help a family of four flee Ukraine to the Netherlands

·      Purchase boots for Ukrainian soldiers

·      Help a sewing circle in Ukraine to make safety vests

·      Offer love through a final gift box to a lonely, ill incarcerated prisoner

·      Supply gift bags to prisoners for the holidays

·      Support projects aimed at housing and offering end-of-life services to those who are dying homeless or in prison

·      Purchase dozens of handmade stoves, providing heat and a means to cook, for Ukrainians who are suffering through this very cold winter without electricity

·      Bring holiday joy to a hard-working cafeteria worker in New Orleans who cares for hurting children and spreads goodness to everyone, and asks nothing for herself

·      Support a single dad who is struggling to provide for his family

·      Assist our boots-on-the-ground friends in Ukraine to relocate many families by offering airline tickets, gas money, food, and shelter

·      Purchase wheelchairs, supplies, and offer other needs to the dying and their caregivers through the Bay Area End-of-Life Doula Alliance


We could never do all of this without YOU! Thank you for being part of our lives and for always believing in us.


With love and appreciation,


The Button Family and all of us at Dream of a Better World!

 As always, we want to remind you that 100% of your donation goes to the causes we support. Administrative and accounting responsibilities are provided pro bono. 

We would like to especially thank the amazing team at Friedlander, Cherwon, and Capper for generously donating your time and skills to provide us with our annual accounting and tax reporting needs!



Thank you ALL!  

Sunday, December 4, 2022

It’s that time of year. Let’s make a difference!

Just like years past, each holiday season we choose a few families, individuals, or organizations who could use a little holiday cheer as they are doing their very best to rise up through hard times and life’s challenges. This year we will start with these BEAUTIFUL people and INSPIRING projects:

In California...
A single dad, a gentle and humble man, who works day and night to pay rent and have enough food to eat for his two children, a young grandchild, and a niece. In addition to working as a handyman and painter, he is now studying for his contactors license to improve his ability to provide for his family. He is always upbeat and smiling, and operates out of a deep love for his family and for always doing what is right. Let’s make him smile even bigger by providing a Christmas dinner and some gifts for his family. 

Ebony with student Jake

New Orleans, Louisiana...

Ebony lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with her two teenage boys. She is a cafeteria worker, who made everyone feel at home. Unfortunately, her story is not unique to the average lower SES wage earner in New Orleans. What is unique is her overwhelming positivity, genuine kindness and infectious smile, despite the family burdens she selflessly carries.

Here’s a story about Ebony from Jake, a student from Tulane. "I can’t put my finger on the day, but I know within my first week of school she became my 'New Orleans Mama' and it continues today. We talk weekly, she remains ever positive, but I know her struggles continue. In summary, she works 6 days a week for Tulane. The minimum wage was somewhere in the ballpark of $8 per hour during my student years. She has raised her two boys without the support of the boys’ father, and her two -bedroom house now sleeps a handful of nieces and nephews. She lost two nephews this year to home invasion violence. When not working on campus for minimum wage - she makes sure her family is staying out of trouble in her neighborhood, helping with their homework assignments and attending their sports games. She works tirelessly, without complaint, just to make sure her family can eat a solid meal every night. Ebony is struggling to make ends meet and is left with hardly anything by the end of the month to take care of herself. Ebony brings so much good to this world and is deserving of every bit of help she could get. For a woman who gives everything within her power and beyond, I hope we can help make her life a little bit easier."
In Amsterdam...
This past fall we came together to support a young family from Ukraine. Bogdon, his wife, Yulia, and kids Lev and David. Their home in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine was destroyed in the shelling of a shopping center very close to them and they lost everything. They fled Ukraine to Poland and then to Amsterdam to start a new life. We raised funds for their hotels, gas, food, and for a place to stay for the first month in Amsterdam. They are finally settling in, with Bogdon working part time, their 7-year old now starting school and younger brother looking for a kindergarten. They reported that "there is a holiday in Holland, and 
everyone is waiting for the arrival of the sinterklas… it's like Santa Claus.” This sweet family is starting over with nothing but a carload of their life’s possessions and are doing their very best to keep a positive attitude and food on the table during a very hard time of adjustment for all of them.

In Prison...
This holiday season we would like to support those broken and separated from loved ones due to being incarcerated, with a special focus on those who are dying in prison. The Humane Prison Hospice Project is committed to implementing end of life care in prisons by supporting and training prisoners to be caregivers to the dying. In addition, our dear friend Pastor Alan Leigh is putting together holiday gift packages for the 900 men currently incarcerated at Halawa State Prison in Hawaii. Everyone needs and deserves to be loved. Let’s shine our holiday light on them, too!

Stove with Cooktop
In Ukraine... thousands are freezing cold, hungry, without power, and trying to survive in a country whose infrastructure is being decimated. Our contacts in Ukraine include an Irish soldier and a Ukrainian volunteer who are making wood burning stoves that
Stoves Hand Made in Ukraine

not only provide heat, but also have a flat top for cooking. They are currently being manufactured in Ukraine for approximately $100 to $150 each. Let’s help keep some Ukrainian families warm this winter!
Staff at Ukrainian Shelter

These are pictures of the stoves with cooktop capabilities we are ordering and having made in Ukraine. The group photo was taken at a shelter about 4 hours into Ukraine in a town called Ivano Frankvisk. This is part of the dedicated staff of this shelter that houses about 100 people that are too ill or incapable of traveling. Dave, and Irish soldier, delivers about 4 tons of food there once a month to keep them alive and healthy.

This is just some of our holiday giving. We will keep going as long as we can! Please share with us if you know of anyone who we might be able to add to our growing list. Remember that 100% of ALL donations goes directly to those we serve. And thank you all so much for your kind and generous hearts. As we pass another year of ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and hard times, we continue to be so, so grateful for the love, friendship, support, generosity, kindness, compassion and grace that you all bring to our lives.

Take care of yourself and those you love,

All of us at Dream of a Better World!

Sunday, July 24, 2022


A note to Dream of a Better World and all of our supporters.  There has not been nearly as much US news coverage lately, but for Ukraine... the WAR CONTINUES and their needs are great. This UPDATE comes straight from our Laura Pauli who is now in Poland, working with the woman who runs all of the volunteers for World Kitchen.  Here is her update and a few photos.

My name is Alina. I’m from Kherson, Ukraine originally but now I live in Poland. At the beginning of March, 2022 the city was invaded by Russia and is now occupied. A lot of people were trying to escape the city through other cities in Ukraine (Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia) or through another occupied territory- Crimea. The first way is much more dangerous, because officially there are no green corridors for citizens to leave the city safely. Families trying to flee Kherson, are unsure if they will survive or not. The second way through Crimea is easier as Russians feel that both territories are their property. Some citizens chose the second option to go through Russia to Georgia, Turkey, Poland etc.

Those who were unable to escape the city for any reason are now doing their best to survive. Kherson is now a humanitarian catastrophe. I have a short list of problems city has now:

1.     Humanitarian aid is not allowed to enter the city. The city is blocked by enemy forces.

2.     Many people have lost their jobs due to all factories, plants, shops, pharmacies, restaurants, or banks closing. People were fired from hospitals, utility companies, schools, and universities. The occupiers have forced remaining people with jobs to collaborate with the new government and new system. The same with police and local government: either you collaborate or you lose your work and salary. Citizens trapped in Kherson fear if they work with the russian government, they will be guilty of treason when the territory returns to Ukrainian control. To find work is nearly impossible.

3.     Retired people are unable to receive their pension by cash from the local post office. As Ukrainian post office doesn’t exist anymore, more than 30,000 retired people are unable to receive their pensions. The Russian government has proposed some payments, but locals are unsure how their new system will work.

4.     The banking system no longer functions at all. People can’t withdraw money, pay by card, make money transfers, receive money, etc. They can only use cash both in Ukrainian hryvna and Russian rubles. There are no official currency exchanges, only black market.

5.     Grocery stores, drugstores and pharmacies that existed before the occupation are now closed. The only option to buy anything is to go to an open air market. It looks like old Soviet Union market of 1990s when people where selling food, medicines, etc from their cars’ trunks. (photos attached). Some Russian companies started their work in the region (grocery shops) but the prices are so expensive, it’s impossible to buy anything.

6.     No cellular service, internet or wi-fi. The occupiers have blocked all cellular service, the city is cut off from the world. Most families have lost their connections with relatives and friends.

7.     To call for ambulance or police is almost impossible. If people need medical attention or emergency assistance, they may not receive help at all.

8.     If a family leaves their house vacant, Russians can use it for their needs without asking.

9.     It is not safe. People (especially those who are pro-Ukraine, politicians, social workers etc) have disappeared.


A lot of people need support, medical attention, food and money. I can’t even imagine what’s happening in small villages. I have relatives in one very small village in Kherson region (Podo-Kalinovka), and I haven’t heard from them at all since March 26th. To go there is dangerous, you need to go through several military check points and risk interrogation.

As I’m from that city, I know a lot of people who need help, whom I can trust, who lost their jobs and just want to try to live normal lives. It is impossible, for sure, but at least we can try to support them as much as possible.

Dream of a Better World is continuing to forward all donations to Laura for disbursement in helping meet the needs of these beautiful families.  

THANK YOU ALINA AND LAURA AND WORLD KITCHEN!  Thank you for caring enough to be there every day to help sustain and repair the shattered lives that have been so devastated by this senseless war.