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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Special Spaces

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Patient & Family Support

Mission: It is the mission of Special Spaces to help make a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses by designing and creating their dream bedrooms, giving these children a joyful environment in their own home in which to heal and recover.

Results: We have completed over 400 room makeovers since 2004.

Target demographics: make a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses

Direct beneficiaries per year: sick children and their families nationwide!

Geographic areas served: states nationwide

Programs: Special Spaces bedroom makeovers, which give sick children the bedrooms of their dreams!

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Jan DeMaggio

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since the Secret Millionaire aired in March of 2011 so many lives have been changed, mine included. Our Special Spaces affiliates are not only “Changing Children’s Lives One Bedroom at a Time” we’re also changing the lives of their friends and families, the lives of our dedicated volunteers, the sponsors of our rooms, businesses in our communities who have donated countless items….the list is endless. It’s difficult to describe the feeling that comes from the smiles on the faces of “our” children and their families at the end of our makeover day when they come home to see what has been created just for them. I’m blessed to be a part of such an amazing organization.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel blessed to be a part of Special Spaces. It is an amazing national non-profit organization. Helping to change children's lives around the country who have life challenging illnesses. The organization began in 2004 and will be celebrating the 10th anniversary this coming year! We have had the pleasure to work with many talented and skilled professionals along with creative volunteers who come together in a day to recreate a child's dream bedroom makeover. Special Spaces has dynamic Directors around the country all making a difference to those children and families in their own communities. You will never regret a minute of energy you spend in helping to transform and make a difference in the lives of these resilient children. It has been a rewarding experience!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my friend, Lynn Wall, asked me to be a part of the Special Spaces team I was both excited and a bit nervous. Excited, because I loved the idea of helping such young people get through such difficult times. Nervous because I already had a busy life, and I wasn't sure how I'd feel giving up some of my precious down time. It's been 2 years since Lynn asked me to join her team, and I have never once regretted saying "yes". We bring happiness to the lives of children facing unimaginable obstacles. We get to see their smiles and hear their screams of excitement when they see how we've brought their dreams to life. We get to see the tears of joy in their parents eyes, as some of the sad memories melt away and are replaced with more joyful ones. The challenges these children and their families deal with every day is more than most people will face in a lifetime. I'm so happy to be a part of an organization that brings them happiness.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started the Columbus, OH chapter in November 2011 and have since completed 10 room makeovers. After spending 10 years in the nonprofit field, I chose to start a chapter of Special Spaces rather than create a new nonprofit from scratch because I could see what an amazing organization founder Jennifer Swain has created. She and the national board of directors have made working with Special Spaces a wonderful experience. Their expertise in the field has ensured I have all of the tools and resources I need to have a successful chapter! Each and every director has such a caring heart and we are all able to be successful in helping sick children because of the support we receive from the national organization. I love being a part of Special Spaces and look forward to many more room makeovers in the future.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first heard about Special Spaces through a makeover they did for my cousin's son Logan. I have been a fan ever since. It is amazing what they do to bring a bit of happiness to the children's lives. Keep up the good work Special Spaces!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first saw an article about Special Spaces in a magazine a few months before I contacted Jennifer Swain, the founder. Not long after I first heard about Special Spaces, I was required by my school program (I was/still am a full time interior design student) to find an internship for a semester. I immediately knew that I wanted to reach out to Special Spaces. Jennifer let me dive right in at the Knoxville branch and during my internship I was in charge of two room makeovers. Even after my internship was over, I stayed on with Special Spaces and completed three more rooms. Since then I have become a co-director for the Knoxville branch. I love this organization so much! Not only are all of the volunteers awesome, but the experience of giving something wonderful to a child and family going through a difficult time cannot be matched.

If you are contemplating volunteering, or donating money or time to this organization, do not hesitate! These children deserve every bit of happiness and joy that comes their way.

2 Denise70

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2011 I joined Special Spaces as the director of the Orange County chapter. Special Spaces' mission touched me on a personal level. When I was 16 years old my 14 year old brother was struck with a childhood illness that had him in & out of hospitals for the next 20 years. He passed away at the age of 34 leaving behind a 3 year old son & 8 year old daughter. I know what these children & their families are going through. I knew that giving a child a dream bedroom where they could escape & feel normal & just be a kid would be rewarding but I was not prepared for how much these families would give me. I feel so blessed to be taken into their homes & their lives. The children, families, volunteers, donors, and retail stores that help us do what we do have shown me the most beautiful side of humanity. Denise Sutherland

1 Brian77

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved as a Special Spaces Director in 2011 and it has changed my life!

While our goal is to create a special space for a child in need and to help make their life a little better we are doing so much more! Not only have we been able to make children's lives better but I feel that doing this work has improved my life as well as our many wonderful volunteers.

It is awesome receiving emails from volunteers the night of a makeover telling us how much fun they had being involved with the makeover and asking when the next makeover is! Everyone should get involved with Special Spaces!

I love being able to work with an organization that has become a Family!

1 Tammy55

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved with Special Spaces a couple of years ago while in design school. School encouraged us to seek out and volunteer. I located Special Spaces and discovered that there was a child's room that needed a makeover in Nashville, TN. I was part of the makeover from the very beginning of the process to the reveal. I've since completed 6 rooms. I've volunteeed for other organizations but never met the families we were helping. At Special Spaces, we meet and interact with the family and the child getting to know them and they are so excited to have been chosen for a room makeover and see how many people come to volunteer. The room reveal is the best part of the day. To see their reaction of what was accomplished in one day and how much they love the new room is a very rewarding experience. Doing these room makeovers gives the child a place to retreat that makes them feel safe and comfortable. The response I hear the most is "my child doesn't want to leave their room" and that makes it all worthwhile.

1 Gail25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Special Spaces for a couple of years and find it a rewarding and special involvement. I know it is making a big impact for many families.

2 Amy_116

Client Served

Rating: 5

We were blessed by a room makeover by Special Spaces Tri-Cities for our Trinity this summer. We cannot begin to thank the volunteers and donors enough. In the midst of doctor's appointments, medication, scans, worrying and more, Special Spaces was a light to our Trinity and whole family. They not only made over Trinity's room but also made significant changes to her sister's room to not let her feel left out. The magic does not end there. Now looking at the front of our house, it feels like home. They did landscaping and worked on our porch as well. Now, we want to give back and help out this wonderful organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The most rewarding thing that I have ever been a part of. You quickly realize how much the entire family struggles when a child is diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Volunteering means spending time with great people and making a huge difference to people in their time of need. People with a variety of skills and interests somehow manage to complete these bedroom makeovers in one day. The best part is sharing the reveal with the families and all the volunteers that made a difference. You will not regret one minute of volunteered time or one penny donated to this amazing organization.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After my children graduated from college and began their own families, I was unsure what would be my next step in life. Volunteering for Special Spaces has been life changing. I love working with this wonderful team whose only purpose is to bring joy and encouragement to families that are experiencing tragic medical circumstances. To be able to show that they are loved and cared about is true servanthood!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Two years ago when my friend, Lynn Wall, told me about Special Spaces, I told her, "Sure! I'll help you paint some rooms!" Well, I found out there was a little bit more involved in just painting the rooms!

What there is the extreme pleasure of seeing the faces of the children and families that we impact with our 'work'. What there is hearing the excitement in the voices of these people who can not thank us enough for what we've done to the child's room. And there is the wonderful feeling of giving to someone and not expecting anything in return.

Knowing that this child is now spending time in a room that was THEIR dream, how could they not feel better, if not get better? That is how we are 'paid' for all our 'work' and it's worth is immeasurable!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When I founded Special Spaces in 2004, I knew that this organization had the potential to become a national nonprofit. We are reaching that dream one bedroom at a time across the United States. What I didn't realize at that time was the amazing directors that I would meet. How blessed I am to have them represent Special Spaces across the country. Thank you to all the directors, board members and volunteers who give of their time, treasure and talent to help children battling their toughest challenge. You are all truly appreciated.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is often said within our organization that Special Spaces promises you "a day you will always remember and a day that a child with a life threatening illness will never forget". That's an understatement! I attended a fundraiser for an ill child, signed up to volunteer for his room makeover for the following weekend after meeting someone from Special Spaces that night. The following week, I was volunteering in the national office in Knoxville and now 18 months later, I have the pleasure to work side by side with our Founder and Executive Director, Jennifer Swain. I challenge you to find a group of more talented and tirelessly generous individuals all with the common goal of putting a smile on a child's face. Our mission is simple, to create a "Special Space" that the child has designed, anything that he or she can dream while also addressing their medical needs. We have 35 volunteer directors across the country leading teams of volunteers to create these unique special spaces. Many have full time jobs or some have made our mission their "job", but they all work equally from their heart to put that smile on an ill child's face. I promise you, the day you get involved with Special Spaces, is a day you will never forget!

6 Donna120

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I cannot begin to tell you the impact that Special Spaces of the Triangle has made in my life. The people I have met, the families that have been helped, the look of pure joy on the faces of the children and many more elements that add up to an experience that you will not soon forget. I hope to continue to be a part of this group for many more of these wonderful makeovers.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer with the Special Spaces of the Triangle chapter since its inception. The core group of volunteers are amazing and so generous with their time and talents. What we do is quite incredible too. We make over rooms of some very sick kids. It is so rewarding to watch those little kids discover their new rooms for the first time and see the smiles on their faces. This is definitely one non-profit that I will be helping for as long as they are around. I love these people and what they believe in and am happy and proud to be a part of SST.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter late last year, and we are currently working on our second makeover. The entire experience from meeting the families, to planning the rooms, to working with volunteers, to seeing the reactions on makeover day are absolutely priceless. This organization not only touches the lives of the children we are able to help but also the many volunteers and directors around the country that are impacted. It is truly a life changing experience to be a part of, and I cannot be more excited to see how the organization continues to grow around the country. I love being a part of something bigger that is making a difference in the lives of so many.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Special Spaces of the Triangle since the first makeover as a volunteer. I have met some of the most generous, kind-hearted people in our community who donate their talents and/or treasure without hesitation. This is because it is such a special charity. It brings the community of the sick child together, working to better the life of the child and to bring joy to them and their families in a time of need. I have a child with a life threatening illness myself, so I know the pain and anguish that families go through and the importance of this unique charity. Getting day to day chores and tasks done is a near impossible task when your child is battling for their life. The families focus is mustering up enough energy to get through the next treatment, so this is where Special Spaces swoops in to bring a little joy to their lives. When my child was born, I envisioned him involved in sports, community, playing with friends and going to school to achieve his dreams. His dreams have been altered due to his sickness and he is in the process of reconstructing himself. Dreams disappear for these kids since they must learn to survive. If you have the time, please volunteer for your local chapter....if you have a donation, please support your local chapter and put a smile on the face of a child and their family.