Friday, November 23, 2018


We have a $10,000.00 matching campaign and a pledge for another $5,000 matching campaign, too!   

(Photo from Justin Sullivan / Getty)            
We have raised funds for temporary housing for people and lost pets, basic necessities for food and shelter, and more! Let’s keep going and help out these families below and others!  Those of you who donated this week... THANK YOU... and your donations have been matched too!

(Photo from REUTERS)
We are so grateful to be a part of such a big, caring community, spanning from Northern California and Hawaii and reaching around the globe. We do big things together, but this situation is perhaps the hardest we have ever faced. These stories are real and close to home for many of our supporters. They come from friends and friends of friends…just like you. PLEASE, help us support these people. They are shocked and scared. Some have funeral expenses for loved ones. Some have medical emergencies. And all of them have lost a friend, a family member, a pet, a house, a car and, in some cases, all of the above. This is a tragedy beyond description.

Below are some stories that we have received over the past few days for Dream of a Better World friends and team members. Please read them and help if you can. Even $5.00 makes a difference when we put it all together!

(Photo from Noah Berger / AP)

Mr. Julian Gonzales and Family
Julian is just about the most dedicated man I know.  He is the custodian at McManus.  His wife is a nurse and has been working around the clock since the fire began, helping folks that were evacuated from a nursing home in Paradise (that was owned by our old McManus principal) even though she lost her home.  In fact, she is the only full time employee helping to relocate residents. Their daughter, Ariana, is a McManus alum, and was on my Girls on the Run team, twice.  They also have an adult son.  The family was scattered about the county at work and school before the evacuation was ordered, and all safely reunited in Chico. They have confirmation that their house was destroyed.  

Andy and Lindsey Canales
Andy teaches 5th grade at McManus, Lindsey is an adaptive PE teacher throughout Chico Unified and also works with McManus students.  Andy was already in Chico and Lindsay was fortunately still in Paradise and able to return home and get their dog Sarge, and one of Andy’s favorite Dodgers hats.  They have confirmation that their house was destroyed.                   
Sandee and Brian
They all foster dogs for an organization called Wags and Whiskers. Instead of dogs living at a shelter, Wags and Whiskers places pets with with foster families.  Sandee and Brian live in Magalia, just north of Paradise, and while their home is not burned, yet, they believe they will be the only family members with a house to return to. Brian’s mom Beverly left home without a cell phone, and did not know where her son ended up. They reunited in Corning.  They have not received confirmation either way about the status of her home. Several family members have lost their homes.
                           Vaughn and Emily Parsons 
They have a 12 year old son with special needs and two young daughters. While Emily evacuated quickly with the kids and animals, Vaughn was able to stay longer with two friends that were also living on their property and pack up items that would help him continue working from home, whenever and wherever they land again.  He was watching the flames as they approached his property.  Vaughn and his two friends have been staying with us as they begin to navigate the next chapter of their lives.  For now, Emily is further away from the smoke with their three children. Vaughn will be back and forth. They have confirmation that their house was destroyed.

Ellen and Ryan Johnson

Ryan is a teacher out of the area, Ellen worked for Youth for Change in Paradise. If you can handle it, you can read her heart wrenching evacuation story.  All three of them safely evacuated.  They have confirmation that their house was destroyed.
(Here is their story originally Written by Sarah Jackson with files from The Associated Press. Produced by Katie Geleff)

California woman wondered if she was going to die as she fled fire with baby

Ellen VandenBerg with her 5-month-old son Knox, dog and husband Ryan Johnson. VandenBerg and her son were forced to flee their home in Paradise, Calif. (Submitted by Ellen VandenBerg )

Ellen VandenBerg didn't know if she was going to make it out of Paradise, Calif., alive with her five-month-old son on Thursday as she fled a wildfire. "At one point I thought: 'Should I be pouring water on my son? Are we going to die in our car?'" VandenBerg told As It Happens host Carol Off.

Vandenberg was fleeing the Camp Fire — a devastating blaze that officials say has destroyed the majority of the northern California town of almost 30,000 residents.  It was one of three major blazes burning across California Friday that officials were concerned about. At least five people have been found dead in their scorched cars, according to The Associated Press.

Grabbed her baby and fled 

VandenBerg was at home waiting for her husband Ryan Johnson as the sky darkened and ash started falling from above. She realized at that moment that she had to flee.  She gathered important documents, her cat and dog, clothes, a diaper bag and her son Knox, then jumped in the car.  "As soon as I turned onto my street, out of my little side street, I was stuck in traffic," she said. VandenBerg estimates it took her three hours to travel only 24 km.
Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the rapidly spreading wildfire has ripped through the town of Paradise, charring 18,000 acres and destroying dozens of homes in a matter of hours. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Just go and run

During all of this, VandenBerg had to take care of her baby alone.  When Knox woke up, she was able to put her car in park and breastfeed him. She spent the rest of the slow journey, with smoke billowing around them, with Knox on her lap.  "I just kept him with me because I actually thought that I was going to have to get out and run," she said. The one thing keeping her calm was talking to her husband, who was meeting them in the nearby town of Chico, on the phone. Then the cell service went out. "I was just trying to stay calm, really. I took a couple of videos of myself just to kind of have something to talk to and just tell my loved ones that I love them," she said.
Emergency personnel evacuate patients as the Feather River Hospital burns while the Camp Fire rages through Paradise. (Noah Berger/Associated Press)
The ominous smoke eventually turned to flames.  "I saw flames on one side of me at one point, and the other side at one point, and it really did feel like we were being engulfed. And we were just all sitting ducks. I mean, it was just terrifying," she said. Officials opened up both sides of the skyway to allow cars to get out. "I just took off and had nobody in front of me, and I did way over the speed limit I'm sure, but I made it down to Chico," she said.


My house is gone

In Chico, VandenBerg reunited with her husband. They are now staying with his family in Rocklin and trying to come to terms with everything they lost. "My house is gone," she said.

Flames consume a building as the Camp Fire tears through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (Noah Berger/Associated Press)
She also can't stop thinking about whether all the people on the highway with her escaped. "I just wonder how many people didn't make it, and how many older folks and people with children in their cars didn't make it," she said. What gives her hope is the firefighters who were rushing toward the fire.  "I'm just so grateful for them," she said.
Written by Sarah Jackson with files from The Associated Press. Produced by Katie Geleff. 

This is a photo of Teresa & Michael, a super sweet, lovely couple in their early sixties. Michael is the manager of a machine shop and Teresa has been a special needs teacher her entire career and her school is now ashes. 

This is a photo of them escaping the fire. Their car is the one in the back.

Teresa and Michael lost EVERYTHING in the fire last week... their home, cars, cat and personal treasures. They also have 17 friends that have lost their homes. PLEASE help us reach out to as many as possible.

You can make a NON-PROFIT DONATION through this Blog site.

CLICK HERE or on the DONATE BUTTONlabelled "California Wildfire Victims." 

We PROMISE that 100% of your DONATION, less PayPal fees, will make it's way into the hands of needy kids & families. 

Monday, November 19, 2018


Calling ALL Dream of a Better World friends, team members and donors!  We have some urgent needs and projects to support CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE VICTIMS.  

For our friends from around the world who may not have heard the news, tens of thousands of Californians have tragically lost homes, pets, cars, belongings and, in some cases, loved ones!  There are so many IMMEDIATE NEEDS that we are collecting donations for just about everything you can imagine for putting their lives back together.  We primarily need monetary donations that we can use to help fill in the gap and get people back on their feet.

The most immediate needs:

1) TEMPORARY HOUSING for displaced families staying in shelters.  If you have a room, a house, or any location that will house people on a temporary basis, please contact us! Also, one of our friends, Tracy Ferm, is helping a sweet couple move into a refurbished plumbing store, but it needs furniture, household items and minor repairs to make it livable. Please help if you can!

2) BASIC NEEDS - We are collecting new and very gently used items to help meet basic household needs to sustain and begin to rebuild for families who lost everything.  Examples include:  furniture, tools, housewares, toiletries, blankets, canned food, sleeping bags, blow up beds, gift certificates for Walmart, Costco, Bed Bath & Beyond, VISA cards, etc.  These items will be transported up to Chico where most of these families are currently being housed.

Thank you all for sharing your stories with us. This will clearly be a marathon, so let’s start
right here! This is a photo of Teresa & Michael, a super sweet, lovely couple in their early sixties. Michael is the manager of a machine shop and Teresa has been a special needs teacher her entire career and
her school is now ashes. 

This is a photo of them escaping the fire. Their car is the one in the back.

Teresa and Michael lost EVERYTHING in the fire last week... their home, cars, cat and personal treasures. They also have 17 friends that have lost their homes. PLEASE help us reach out to as many as possible.

You can make a NON-PROFIT DONATION through this Blog site.

CLICK HERE or on the DONATE BUTTON labelled "California Wildfire Victims." 

We PROMISE that 100% of your DONATION, less PayPal fees, will make it's way into the hands of needy kids & families.

Its Our Turn Now BLOG is part of the 501(c)3 non-profit 
Dream of a Better World.  

Friday, November 16, 2018

Join Us in Supporting Northern California Camp Fire Victims

By now we've all heard the sad news.  It's time to jump in and help.  Within the next 24 hours, we will post more information.  But for those of you who have contacted us, YES, we want to help!


For those of you who want to make a donation now, PLEASE go to the right and CLICK the donate button for California Wildfires.

Also, if anyone has a home or room available for someone in need, please let us know by emailing us at:

Thank you all for being such an important, caring, generous part of our Dream of a Better World family!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Thank You to WalMart and The Today Show!

Thank You to WalMart and The Today Show!

During the recent Northern California wildfires, a hero emerged. Her name is Payton Walton and she is a nurse at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Northern California. On the night of the fires, Payton watched in awe as her fellow workers and other first responders evacuated their families from their homes and came directly to work at the hospital to help others in need. Dozens of Payton’s friends and co-workers lost their homes while they worked that night. And Payton couldn’t sleep at night worrying about her friends.

So, Payton created “Family Match” to match families who suffered loss with 8-10 families around Marin County and the Bay Area who are willing to adopt these families and help them get back on their feet by finding temporary housing, donating food and clothing and doing fundraisers for them. Dream of a Better World met Payton through this program and we were able to raise thousands of dollars for over a dozen families who have lost homes in the fire.

The Family Match program has helped over 1200 families and caught the eye of many national TV shows, including The Today Show. During Payton’s interview, The today Show, in conjunction with WalMart, gave Payton a financial gift to give to the charity of her choice. And guess what?! Payton chose Dream of a Better World because of all your donations and all the work we did to help families impacted by the fire.

Soon we will receive a check for $5,000.00 and with Payton, we will pass it out to more families in Northern California. Thank you, Payton, WalMart and The Today Show!

With appreciation,
Hannah Button and the Northern California Dream Team!

Friday, March 2, 2018

URGENT NEEDS... Who's Hungry?

Aloha Friends!

We have just received URGENT news that the Mauloa Food Panty is dangerously low on FOOD and HYGIENE items!  Hawaii's growing epidemic of homeless and food insecure families is often hidden away because of our tourist based economy.  Even though Hawaii seems like paradise, on any given day there are at least 6,000 homeless and 33% of them are children. 

The City and County of Oahu estimates that 32% of the North Shore families are food insecure during the year!

Over 70,000 are living in poverty.

Last year, we managed to fill the pantry twice, but at the moment it's nearly empty! They NEED our HELP! 

Here is a list of particularly favored items at the Mauloa Food Pantry:
  • DRIED SOUP in packages, like CUP OF NOODLES
  • Snack, Granola or Energy-type Bars
  • Instant Oatmeal in individual containers (Express Cups)
  • Spam Classic (Preferred in single packs)
  • Tuna in single packs or easy pull tops.
  • Peanut Butter in individual single use packs 
  • Saltine Crackers in small packs
  • Small tubes of Shampoo
  • Small individual packs of soap
  • Tampax Tampons 
  • Disposable Toothbrush with tooth paste - Individually wrapped
  • Disposable Razor with Cream - Individually wrapped
  • Small Cotton Washcloths
If you're shopping on AMAZON and would like to add a few of these items to your order: CLICK HERE!   Or, you can ship these items directly to our headquarters.
ANY canned, boxed or packaged and unopened items will be appreciated!  However, it will be especially helpful if the items are individually wrapped or in small or individual sizes., if you would rather DONATE MONEY, we can buy the items... CLICK this image, or the DONATE BUTTON on the upper right labelled: HELP THE HUNGRY!
Any amount helps! Check out the AMAZON LIST:

Dream of a Better World
68-505 Crozier Dr
Waialua, HI  96791  

Friday, February 2, 2018

Thank you for all your support in 2017! We made a difference!

Dear friends, family and all our supporters around the world,

This was an amazing year for Dream of a Better World, and we would not have been able to do ANY of this meaningful work without all of you working by our side!

You have helped donate funds, but also you have helped us collect food, plant gardens, fill backpacks for kids in need, deliver supplies to a women’s homeless shelter, and volunteered to work at Boots on the Bridge, a memorial for fallen soldiers. You have sent letters and passed out flyers, and delivered pillows, blankets and supplies to families who have lost their homes in the California wildfire. You have shopped for cars, bought school uniforms, and bought school supplies and household needs for families who have lost their homes or jobs during Hurricane Harvey. You made Christmas possible for 19 wounded and sick soldiers and their families at Fisher House near Tripler Hospital. You bought an iPad and helped ease the financial burden for the family of a sick child.  You helped with a marine biology program for disadvantaged school kids and filled a food pantry, twice!

THANK YOU ALL from Dream of a Better World! We are a team and you all are a huge part of it!

With love and respect,
Hannah, Jack and Carly Button and the California and Hawaii Dream Team

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Some Sad News….

Hi Everyone,

We are saddened to have to let you all know that Shyne Aquino has passed away. For the past year, he has been our mom’s hospice patient and we, along with lots of you, have gotten to know
him through our blogs and his sweet stories. Shyne loved trains, particularly the Polar Express, music videos, shrimp chips and his sweet, caring dad, Vernon. Thank you all who jumped in and helped us raise the funds to buy
Shyne a brand new iPad, which he loved. Shyne will be missed. For being only 12 years old, he sure touched many lives.