Britt Meets Nicole D. Russell
Posted on April 30 2018
This week, Britt catches up with Nicole D. Russell — Co-Founder and Executive Director of Precious Dreams Foundation. Nicole is a Creative Philanthropist, writer and producer who co-founded the nonprofit with Angie Medina in 2012 — an organization that supports the well-being of foster and homeless children by using a special technique focused on using bedtime self-comfort and positive reinforcement to empower children to recognize and focus them on their dreams.
A return from Coachella. A red eye to New York. A birthday. A surprise FaceTime birthday cake celebration. Tears of happiness. Reapplication of makeup. Conversations. And a smoothie. Oh yanno, another day in the life of Nicole Russell.
Does it seem like a lot? Kind of. But we’re talking about Nicole Russell, the co founder of PRECIOUS DREAMS FOUNDATION. The self proclaimed Creative Philanthropist (PS- I like that title) cultivating experiences TO INSPIRE youth in need and giving millennials a good name while doing so. I don’t think a packed day of work and activities phases her. She’s a #girlboss after all.
I found her on insta. (Not shocking) I introduced myself. (Also not shocking) And I invited her to participate in this HUSTLE IN PURPOSE series. And guess what? She said yes.
On April 16, she graciously agreed to give me some of her time and we arranged a smoothie conversation post Coachella and pre red-eye.
We talked. And I walked away inspired and excited. I always truly love my guests. That’s why I choose them. So when I encourage you to read or to listen (or both), I sincerely mean it. It’s my hope that you learn something or, better yet, FEEL something (maybe get inspired by them) in a similar way that I have.
What is the PRECIOUS DREAMS FOUNDATION?
“It’s an organization I started in 2012. We provide comfort for children in foster care and in homeless shelters. We provide actual items of comfort for bedtime like pillows, blankets and teddy bears but we have also started to do programming that teaches kids how to self-comfort. Teaching self-comfort is probably the most important thing we do.”
YES. I SO agree! You are gifting kids education. You are giving them the skills and tools and knowledge to deal with the difficult times they are going through.
FACTS - May is national Foster Care Month
“There are almost half a million kids in foster care in the United States.” #NotOK
“We pop in and do a COMFORT DROP where we drop off the blankets and teddy bears and bring in guest speakers. We don’t necessarily have long-term relationships with the kids but my goal with this organization is to reach as many kids as we possibly can. So we do what we can do, within our means, to make a positive impact.”
I always say this. Do what you can!!! It’s simple. And to be honest, it doesn’t meant you have to start a nonprofit or organization. (I mean, if you can do that, AMAZING)… But even if it’s going out of your way to hold a door for someone, or buying a stranger a coffee, or spending an afternoon volunteering at your favorite nonprofit, THAT WORKS TOO!
What inspired YOU to become so passionately involved in giving back to kids?
“My sister! My mom adopted my sister Miracle when she was 4 (she’s now 13). At the time she came to our home she was in the foster care system. She arrived at our home with a small plastic bag with two outfits that were too small. She didn’t even know what pajamas were. She couldn’t sleep at night because she had so much anxiety and suffered from nightmares which in turn lead to my mom not being able to sleep. I recognized this was a major problem. Nighttime is such a lonely time. When the lights go off there are no distractions, you can feel so alone.”
Did you always know what your purpose was?
“No! Absolutely not. In general I think we have an idea of what we’re passionate about, especially as kids. But growing up I had always loved dance. I did end up having a dance career but I got injured and that injury forced me to reevaluate what I’m passionate about. I always knew I loved kids and helping people. And during this re-evaluation it was my little sister who inspired me to FIND MY PURPOSE. It’s so funny how it can be a person or experience that drives you in the right direction OR throws you off course which in turn serves as a reminder of what you’re not supposed to do.”
I’m really glad she said what she did above about a person or situation throwing us off course. I personally think that when we have people or situations in our life that are negative, it is easy to get caught up in negativity of it all when in reality, sometimes these are our biggest blessings in life. They are gifts. Wrapped and disguised as something really horrible. But in reality they are offerings to opportunity. So we must thank them and then grab them and turn them into something so good.
How can people get involved and participate in Precious Dreams Foundation?
Do you check DM’s? (I mean you checked mine)
“Yes! I do!!! Slide into those DM’s! I think it’s really powerful when women connect with other women and are brave enough to reach out and say I want to work with you.”
Any imparting wisdom?
“You know, this nonprofit was a passion project. I didn’t have everything I needed when I first started and I don’t think you ever do. But I just continued to show up and do it. Show up for yourself and take one day at a time.”