About Us

Our History in a Nutshell

In 2001-2002 the parents of an individual with developmental disabilities and the former Director of Star of Hope, John Murren, began discussing the needs of people with developmental disabilities that live in Coos County.  The needs were many: safe housing, reliable transportation, good medical care and social/recreational opportunities, and others.  Of course, affordability was also very important.

We quickly realized our inability to take care of most of those problems, but we decided we could help with the social/recreational need.  During our many discussions, John took the “bull by the horns” and successfully applied for an AmeriCorps grant.  He hired Julie Henderson to facilitate this new group.  We formed an Advisory Committee comprised of parents, interested professionals and people with developmental disabilities.

A club was formed under the non-profit umbrella of Star of Hope and eventually named Hollywood Dreams, which was the suggestion of the late George Brummitt, a club member with a developmental disability.  This was a temporary situation because we dreamed of becoming our own non-profit, autonomous organization.

A party/dance was given to introduce the club to the community.  It was obvious (and no surprise to any of us!) that this special population loves music, loves to dance, sing, laugh and just have a good time.

We started out with weekly events, but quickly found that pace was not sustainable.  Eventually we settled on one large social event each month and as many small-group outings as we could manage.  It was a very real surprise to most of us that many of our club members had never been outside Coos County.  With that in mind, it was decided to expand our horizons and plan some outings further afield.

In 2005 Hollywood Dreams attained its own non-profit 501(c)3 status and formalized the organization by electing officers.  This was an exciting milestone.

Over the years, we have continued to dance, picnic, make crafts, fish, bowl, roller skate, attend plays and movies, participate in parades and other community happenings, as well as make many trips out of Coos County to places like Blazer games in Portland, musical productions/shopping in Eugene, the Oregon Aquarium in Newport, Wildlife Safari in Winston and any place else we can think of that sounds like fun.

Like all things, of course, there have been lots of changes over the years.  In recent years we’ve been fortunate to be able to hire part-time staff, but Hollywood Dreams is still primarily a volunteer organization.  Even though volunteers have come and gone over the years, each has brought enrichment to the club and is greatly appreciated.  Club members, too, have come and gone over the years, but a very large number of Coos County residents are still laughing and having a good time with their peers.  We truly hope, with the support of the community and volunteers, that Hollywood Dreams will remain the important organization it has become to people with developmental disabilities, and to expand its reach and its service to its community.
 

History provided by Mary Giles, founding member and former Executive Director of Hollywood Dreams