Organizations: Dream Weavers
Signs of the Dream Weavers’ colorful generosity can be seen far away and close to home: a water buffalo in the Philippines; therapy for an injured zebra; a steady stream of clothes and toys for 10 children in Mexico. And when Jennifer Aniston’s next rom-com opens, look for a homespun dreamcatcher twirling in the background.
That is the signature handicraft of this organization for adults with developmental disabilities in northeast Georgia.
Handmade, Heartfelt: Dream Weavers started al-most 11 years ago when cli-ents of a mental health center in Demorest gathered to make talismans for pregnant teens in their community.
“We made dreamcatchers to give to these young girls as symbols of hope,” says Di-rector Denise Eller, a community resource specialist with Avita Partners. “We make them from grape and kudzu vines we collect ourselves.”
The advocacy group has since grown to include 30 members, supported by Avita and private donations, and has established itself as a socially engaged, action-oriented force of D.I.Y. ingenuity – crafting, fund-raising and tie-dying rainbows wherever they see a need.
Human Resources: “We’re all about making something from nothing, in an environmentally friendly way,” says Eller, citing the group’s teepee constructed from wild-growing bamboo and the homemade paper matted from dryer lint.
“Many people look at our group as individuals who need help. Our message is that we are people who can help you.”
The Dream Weavers lend a hand and “random bags of kindness” to senior centers, wildlife sanctuaries, children’s camps and homeless shelters, and they undertake a field trip once a year, which is how they ended up in Cancun and discovered children to sponsor in Puerto Morelos.
“Members decide on a project, and that project becomes an educational opportunity,” Eller says. “When we sent relief to Haiti, we studied Haiti, and paying for a water buffalo through Heifer Inter-national helped us learn about that part of the world. So our projects are both local and global, following where our curiosity leads us.”
Flying Their Colors: As for Aniston, she and her crew, filming in north Georgia, used some of the group’s folk art as props in Wanderlust, which delighted the Dream Weavers, whose tie-dyed flags have become a beloved fixture in community events.
“We march every year in the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade,” says member George Campbell, 68.
“King stood for liberty and freedom, and we stand up for everybody’s rights, too. We also have a very good time helping other people.”