November 2, 2023
Mosaic Digital Systems Partners with Nonprofit Dream Center LA to Lend a Hand
In June of 2023, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) released the ‘Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count,’ profiling the change in ‘homeless count.’ Whether you live in or out of the city limits, the results were staggering. In short, there was a 9% rise in homelessness on any given night in Los Angeles County to an estimated 75,518 people, and a 10% rise in the City of Los Angeles to an estimated 46,260.
As a tech startup based in Santa Monica, CA, we have the privilege of opting to keep our eyes down, complete our work, and go home at 5 p.m. We choose otherwise. We believe being conscious of those in need and lending a helping hand, be it financially or otherwise, sets the tone for a better community, workplace, and team connection.
With that in mind, we recently got on the horn with one of our preferred nonprofits in Los Angeles, a fantastic organization we have worked with for over five years, the Dream Center.
Dream Center started in Los Angeles in 1994 but has since expanded across the country and the globe, now with over 80 community centers helping underserved communities worldwide. The organization is built on a foundation of service and leadership, bringing together individuals to make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling. Dream Center’s mission extends beyond providing basic necessities, they seek to provide support and restore hope in lives that lack it.
“We’ve worked with quite a few nonprofits in the greater LA region over the years, but the DreamCenter team just does it right; their facility and programs offered are among the most comprehensive that we know of, providing numerous options for homelessness, hunger, and lack of education through residential and community outreach development. The 2023 impact report is a tiny synopsis of just how impactful their work in the community is. Our small team was enthusiastic about donating to such a great cause, and we’re looking forward to many more years providing assistance,” notes Mosaic Digital Systems’ president, Kyle Mitnick.
We had the honor of connecting the founders of Dream Center this week, Tim Baker and Pastor Matthew Barnett, and pinged them with a few questions about the org:
What was the moment or time of your life when you realized you were going to dedicate your life’s work to helping others?
Pastor Matthew Barnett: I came to LA at 20 years of age to help my Dad start the church. My Dad told me I would be in LA for 3 months while he found a permanent Pastor to lead the church. It wasn’t until I was in LA for 2 years when God lead me to go on a prayer-walk around the city in middle of the night,, That’s when I saw all the hurting people of LA, homeless, women being trafficked, addicts, so many people at rock-bottom living on the streets. It was on that prayer walk when I threw away my 5-year plan of success, and started filling any need I could find.
What is a memorable moment where you were able to fully understand the impact Dream Center had on the lives of the local community?
Pastor Matthew Barnett: Every church service we have someone from our programs share a testimony to the whole church. One day a man was sharing and said he grew up a few blocks away from the Dream Center, used to come to church on our buses that we operate to pick people up. The man fell on hard times in severe addiction so he came into our one year rehab program… The man said while he was living in the Men’s program his wife and 2 children were living across campus in our Family Floor Program for homeless families. It was amazing to see The Dream Center helping every need for that family right before our eyes.
What are some volunteer opportunities you have going on that people can get involved in? What about corporate opportunities?
Tim Baker: We have regular volunteer opportunities for individuals and corporate groups to come serve with the Dream Center. The following is a list of those opportunities. We are also happy to accommodate a curated experience for corporate companies and large groups.
Carey Community Kitchen – Our kitchen and diner serves around 1,200 meals daily to anyone who shows up wanting a hot meal, including our residents and homeless individuals.
Justin & Kourtney Turner Food Bank – 1 in 5 people who live in Los Angeles County may not know where their next meal is coming from (Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, 2019). The Dream Center addresses this need by distributing food to individuals and families in over 23 local distribution sites. On average, our food programs feed more than 20,000 people monthly.
Foster Care Intervention – The Foster Care Intervention team works with individual families who have open cases with the Department of Children and Family Services. We help families stay together by providing basic necessities and in many cases, the furniture they need.
Adopt-A-Block – We go to 23 underserved neighborhoods with the goal of finding a need and filling it. Our outreach programs include distributing food, hygiene items and other essentials, playing with kids, picking up trash, and visiting families door-to-door.
Clothing Outreach – In a typical month we distribute around 20,000 articles of clothing to underserved communities at the Dream Center and in surrounding neighborhoods.
Special Events – We also host special events where we need volunteers to help with event prep as well as during the event. Please email email@example.com for more specific information.
MDS: Is there anything you currently need to continue supporting displaced individuals and communities?
Tim Baker:: We are currently in great need of new and gently used men’s clothing. We could also use new men and women’s underwear and socks. We are in need of non-perishable foods to include, but not limited to; rice, beans, pasta, tomatoes, sauces, cereal, etc. We are also in need of newer passenger vans.
How can startups with limited resources make a difference working with Dream Center?
Tim Baker: Startups and small businesses can always make a difference by partnering with the Dream Center. We are always in need of volunteers to help us with our various outreaches and services. We have opportunities for employee giving programs where small businesses and startups often provide matching gifts up to a certain amount. This makes a huge difference as we rely on monthly donations to cover the costs of running all of our programs. We appreciate opportunities where small businesses can help us spread awareness about the Dream Center to the community and potential supporters. We have opportunities for event sponsorships at various levels, which provide advertising for sponsoring businesses.
We’re more than happy to spread the word about the incredible initiatives Dream Center is taking on and encourage other businesses (and individuals) to show their support. The impact Dream Center has made stands as a testament to the power collaboration and compassion can have. By intertwining the values and resources of local volunteers, they are not only transforming the lives of individuals and families in need but also inspiring a ripple effect of kindness and hope within the larger community. The founders’ dedication to service, coupled with the support of businesses, exemplifies the true spirit of giving. As we celebrate Mosaic working with Dream Center, let it serve as a reminder that even with limited resources, startups, and small businesses can make a significant impact when driven by the desire to create positive change.
Together, we can continue to build a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, one act of kindness at a time.