Dream Big Little One; A “Simple” Solution to a “Simple” Problem

CFSEK Grantee Story Series:

Dream Big Little One; A “Simple” Solution to a “Simple” Problem

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas (CFSEK) is excited to continue our series of articles highlighting the great work done by our grantees in Southeast Kansas communities. Our next grantee to highlight is Dream Big Little One, based out of Columbus.

When you go to bed every night, you probably don’t think much of it, it’s just something you do. But how many children in our region don’t have that luxury? Some sleep in beds, sure, but there are some who share beds with parents or siblings, or sleep on a couch, and sadly, some who must sleep on the floor. On the surface, you could say it is a “simple” problem with a “simple” solution, but what is the solution? Well, the solution started from a grandmother simply baking cinnamon rolls!

“My grandson and I were baking for a fundraiser to help a few families get beds for their kids,” said Tess Watson, Dream Big Little One (DBLO) Founder. “It opened my eyes to a real problem in my own community, and I couldn’t get away from it.”

After that, Tess said she wanted to help just a few more families, but she kept finding more families to help.

“My husband said to not get carried away with this, but I outgrew my house and now we have expanded to 3 locations around the region. I don’t think I got carried away!”

Working with community partners like school counselors and therapists, DBLO is able to identify and address the needs of area children.

To date, DBLO has provided almost 2,000 beds to children in the four-state area! That doesn’t happen without donations, grants, and volunteers. Last year, DBLO was the recipient of a CFSEK grant from the Knights of Columbus Endowment Fund, where the money was used to buy new beds and frames for area children in need.

“We can’t do what we do without grants from organizations like CFSEK and the Knights of Columbus,” Watson said. “We also are always in need of volunteers! There is always more to give. Even if you don’t get involved with us (DBLO), I hope more people will get involved with local nonprofits!”

DBLO covers the four-state area. If you have a gently used mattress and/or sheets, contact DBLO or visit their website at DonateBeds.com where you can arrange donations. Dream Big Little One Association is their Facebook group with over 3,000 active members where they regularly post updates on their progress and needs for volunteers.

The Knights of Columbus Endowment grant cycle is open until Friday, May 31st! Applications are available online at SoutheastKansas.org/Grant-App.

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas awarded over $2 million in grants from all foundation funds in 2023 and has facilitated over $23 million in total granting to Southeast Kansas since its inception in 2001. CFSEK serves the region by providing donors with various charitable interests and encouraging charitable giving, which addresses present and future needs in our area. More information about CFSEK is available at SoutheastKansas.org.

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