A Million Dreamz, Inc., Recipient

Picture being in this mom’s shoes: You’ve recently found out you’re pregnant. Since you know planning ahead for childcare is crucial, you immediately get your family on the waitlist for three separate daycare centers. You’re accepted at two, but by the time the baby arrives, both places have closed. This is a situation experienced by many families in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. A Million Dreamz, Inc. co-founder Angel Berry says the area has been declared a “childcare desert” by the state, meaning there are three children needing care for every one spot in a licensed childcare facility. A Million Dreamz works to change that (with a little help from promotional drawstring backpacks). A young child wearing a bright yellow backpack. Twenty years ago, Berry saw what a lack of childcare can do to a family when her own son, who is on the autism spectrum, was expelled from his daycare. “I found myself a divorced, poor mom with a special-needs kid and a second child,” she said. “I wanted to be able to turn that around and help people in scenarios that I found myself in.” In 2019, A Million Dreamz was incorporated with the idea of bringing quality, affordable childcare to families in Sheboygan County. It is Berry’s dream to offer around-the-clock care for children of all ages, from newborn up to 17-years-old, seven days a week, including holidays. The organization also aims to provide resources, referrals and support for families in need. How crucial childcare and promotional drawstring backpacks make a difference for families Set to open its first four classrooms in November, Berry says that the center is receiving daily phone calls from families in the area who can’t wait to access the services it will provide. “It’s really important that people understand that we’re not just a childcare center,” Berry said. “We’re flipping that idea on its head.” Rather than treating her center as a business, which can fail, Berry wants A Million Dreamz to be a service supported by the community, local corporations and the government that can provide childcare to every family, without question. Another thing that sets A Million Dreamz apart is that it will provide items to take care of the children rather than requiring families to bring bags of supplies each day. “We’ll cover wipes, and things like a spare clothes closet if anyone needs fresh clothes,” Berry said. Bright yellow promotional drawstring backpacks will be used to send any items home with the children at the end of the day. The cheerful yellow color is easy to spot for parents, making it more likely they will remember it—and the essential items that go back and forth from the center. Berry hopes that a national conversation about the childcare crisis will continue to draw attention to how critical daycare is for children and families to thrive. “The quality of care in a child’s first six years impacts the type of education they’ll get, the type of employee they’ll become and the type of community member they’ll become,” Berry said. “The conversation is starting to fizzle out again, but the problem is still there. It’s not solved.”

For more information about A Million Dreamz, Inc., please visit https://www.amilliondreamz.org/ opens in new window