Dora High School students Lakin Church, left, and Destany Massey are working on creating a local Dream Factory chapter to help grant wishes for terminally and chronically ill children in the surrounding area. The two girls are looking for volunteers to serve as board members and make the chapter official.

Two Dora High School students are turning a research project they started last April into a reality — if they can get the help they need to get the project off the ground.

Sophomores Lakin Church and Destany Massey are working hard to set up a local chapter of the nonprofit organization Dream Factory, based in Louisville, Ky.

“We had to do a research project on a nonprofit organization and we chose to do it on the Dream Factory,” Church explained, adding both she and Massey wanted to be involved with the organization after researching it.

The Dream Factory is an all-volunteer children’s wish-granting organization and grants the wishes of critically and chronically ill children from the ages of 3 to 18. The organization, staffing only four paid employees at its headquarters, strives to take a grassroots approach, relying on local chapters of volunteers.

According to the organization, local chapter volunteers raise their own money and since the Dream Factory doesn’t employ people at a local level, 90% of the money raised is used toward granting the dreams of chronically and critically ill children.

The Dream Factory holds a four-star rating, the highest possible, and has high scores for its financial, accountability and transparency, according to Charity Navigator, a major charity assessment organization. In comparison, Make-A-Wish Missouri & Kansas has a two-star rating and is rated much lower because of its financial practices.

Church said that originally they wanted to do a research project on Make-A-Wish and set-up a local chapter for it.

“They didn’t want to work with us,” Church said. She said she was told Springfield has a local chapter and that Make-A-Wish wanted the students to raise money and send it to Springfield.

“We wanted to do something to help local kids,” Church said.

Teacher and sponsor Bev Davison said the teens have been working hard to create a local Dream Factory chapter to serve children in not only Ozark County, but in Howell, Douglas and the surrounding communities as well.

“Because of their age the girls can volunteer, but they can’t serve as board members,”  said Davison. She added that they are looking for eight adults to volunteer to be board members.

“Once we get a board together, we’ll have a conference call with the national director of Dream Factory and we’ll be an official chapter,” Church said.

Davison said she has learned a lot from the girls and is proud to see them inspiring others.

To learn more about the students’ vision and serving on the local Dream Factory board of directors, email Davison at bdavison@dora.org. To learn more about The Dream Factory, visit the organization’s website at www.dreamfactoryinc.org.

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