Category Archives: I Need You To Survive

Hi DCD followers!!!

I have some news for you – we are hosting our I Need You To Survive event this coming Saturday from 9am-3pm at 330 Park Ave in Cranston.

For this event, we bus in homeless and low-income women and provide them lunch along with free head-to-toe makeovers. Take a look at my post from April for some more information:

We are looking for volunteers to assist. If you, or someone you might know, might be looking to help out, please contact Gilannie Pangburn by sending her an email at (attn Gilannie/INU2S) or call her at 781-1565. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be an expert or have a ton of experience in health/beauty care to help out! Every little bit helps! Please let me know if you have any questions at all! Thanks!!!

While you’re at it, check out November`s post as well:

Have a great day!

Hey all!!!

One of my sisters is a sales rep for Younique Beauty Supplies and she just let me know that she is heading up a fundraiser for the RI Dream Center over the next week and a half.  Any commissions she would have received from sales over the next 10 days will instead be donated to the RIDC’s I Need You To Survive Program.

After reading about our I Need You To Survive program here and watching videos here and here (starting at 2:13), she was so inspired that she had to do something!  And this seemed like a natural fit – she’s already selling cosmetics, so why not raise funds for INU2S – it’s a no-brainer!!!

She’s got a super big heart and I hope she raises a ton of funds for the Dream Center during this fundraiser.  As you know, RIDC has hit some hard times recently (financially speaking), so anything you can do to help support the cause is greatly appreciated!

If you are looking to find out more, she sent me the following note with a link to her page:

Hope for the Homeless Fundraiser

Thanks for visiting my Younique Online Fundraiser for the Rhode Island Dream Center! The commission I make from every sale will go directly to helping homeless women of Rhode Island through the ministry, “I Need You To Survive,” which gives free head-to-toe makeovers to homeless women all over Rhode Island! Browse the products and remember, every purchase you make helps to bring joy and pride to women who desperately need it! Thank you SO MUCH!!!

– Michaela Gunn, Your Party Host


So, if you are in the market for some makeup anyways, might as well take advantage  of a chance to support the RIDC.

Thanks so much for your support!


***The RIDC does not endorse or recommend one makeup company over another – this is simply a way for a member of the RIDC Family to help the Dream Center raise the funds necessary to support its programs; and for that, we say thank you to Michaela Gunn and all of our generous volunteers and sponsors – in the spirit of full disclosure, Michaela Gunn is the sister of RIDC Board Member Tommy King***

Hey!!!!  Hope you’re having a great Saturday afternoon.  How bout a free mani or pedi?   How does a free hair color and cut sound?

Pretty awesome, right?

Well, you would be correct…we had a BLAST today helping out the women in our homeless and low-income communities here in RI with free mani’s, pedis, color, cuts and more!!!

Gilannie Pangburn and her amazing I Need You To Survive Team did an amazing job today and deserve a ton of credit for their hard work and faithfulness.  Thanks to Praise Tabernacle Church in Cranston for use of their facilities, the volunteers were able to start setting up early – a separate station for manicures, pedicures, hair washing, hair coloring, and hair cutting/styling – with a group of eager volunteers manning each station.  They also provided breakfast and a home-made lunch for the ladies to enjoy while waiting for their turn, as well as free clothes.  The volunteers come from all over the state – some are members of the church, others are on the Board of the RI Dream Center, others own their own salons (shout-out to Dawn Periquito of Hair Serenity Salon – please support her salon at 1271 Cranston Street in Cranston), we also had  the AMAZING ABC Team of Help the Homeless in RI come through, and still others volunteers are simply members of the community who have heard about the program and just want to help out.  Some are pro’s, others are novices, but all are pretty awesome!!!!

We sent the bus out around 9am this morning and picked up a dozen & a half women for the event – it was a gloomy, rainy, crummy day outside, but it is early Spring in Providence and some of the trees and flowers are finally starting to bloom.  When the ladies arrived at the church, they might have been downcast as well – but smiles began to shine brightly on their faces as they were greeted with smiles and hugs from the team of volunteers.  I don’t know what these ladies last few days/weeks/months/years might have been like – but I do know that today was a day of TLC, jokes, smiles and good cheer.  We spend one-one-one time with each guest – not only helping with makeovers, but also loving on them.  It’s so exciting to be able to remind these women just how special they are – and to see the smiles on their faces throughout the day makes all the work well worth it.  It feels great helping these special ladies feel great about themselves.

Today was a unique day as well – normally we only pick up women on the bus, but today a whole family hopped on for a ride…this homeless family of six (mom, dad and their four children)  just landed in Providence from Florida and was completely lost here – I’m not even sure how they got to RI, but the family saw our bus out on the streets helping the homeless and they just knew if anyone would help, we sure would.  Fortunately, Wendy Thomas, a volunteer for the RI Coalition for the Homeless, was at the event today and she called in a case worker who is going to try go find them some shelter, food and clothing immediately!!!

Imagine that – all we expected to do today was to bless some less fortunate friends in the community with free makeovers (inside and out!) – but beyond that we got to connect with a homeless, hurting family with an advocate that will take good care of them.  I really do hope that the Mom and Dad are both able to find work soon in order to make a better life for their family here in the Ocean State.  It sure is interesting how things work out – one chance encounter with a group of loving volunteers downtown Providence can become an opportunity to flip a homeless family’s life rightside-up!!!  We just happened to be at the right place, at the right time – doing the right thing!  This was not a coincidence!!!

Today was a very special day.  I hope you had as much fun reading this diary entry and looking through the pics below as I did spending time with these lovely guests and amazing volunteers.














Well, it’s been a busy few days at the RI Dream Center.

Last night, we had an RIDC meeting and we talked about a lot of exciting things coming up in the next month or so.

We talked about our annual upcoming Hope for the Homeless Event coming up on November 9th (we are having a festival for the homeless and raising awareness for their plight on Nov. 9).  We’ve held this event at a number of different churches throughout the years – this year it will be at our home office at Praise Tabernacle Church.

We also talked about organizing the inventory and purchasing the rest of the items needed for our backpack drive (we are handing out 300 backpacks filled with winter necessities to the homeless on Nov. 16),  It’s always a blast hanging out with the team as they hand out the backpacks each year.

We also talked about some really great, strategic partnerships we are forming with other organizations working towards the same goals we are reaching towards.  I am really excited about this opportunity.  That’s all I can say for now…but I am really excited about these partners (that is an enormous understatement).

The whole time we were talking about our upcoming events, we had a whole ‘nother planning committee meeting in one of the other rooms to plan the H4H event out in greater detail.  It’s looking like they are planning a walk downtown and through Kennedy Plaza  to raise awareness for the homeless.  This year’s event has the makings of the biggest and best H4H event thus far.

All this was going on while Praise Tab was having its youth service, Youth Redefined…it’s exciting being there with so many other people, working towards the good of the community and building off of everyone else’s energy…we are all feeding each other and pushing each other to do things bigger and better.

And the same thing happened tonight…George got everything ready for me for the Food Truck tonight because I was short my regular prep-guy…while he was preparing the soups, hot cocoa, etc, the leader of the Narcotics Anonymous meeting was setting up in the next room over.  Once the Food Truck finally got going, the church had its prayer meeting in the next room over on the other side!  When I came back to clean up after the Food Truck, the NA meeting was just finishing up…it is an exciting time to be involved in all this stuff…and I truly believe we are making a significant impact in the community.

Tonight, for instance, we fed seventy-two people on the Food Truck.  It was the first real cold night of the season I have been out there since last Winter, and a lot of the people we feed are people we have been feeding Winter after Winter…some seem to be stuck in the system, but I really hope they can find a way out.  One of my regulars loves coming out to hear my music (tonight I had a Stevie Wonder mixtape blasting through my little boombox)…they call him Alabama and he stays over by Prairie Ave.  Sometimes he is completely drunk and just dances to the music the whole time, and other times he is sober and just wants to say hi.  He always says, “I knew it was you because I could hear your music!!!”  No matter what, he always brings a smile to our faces, and it’s these simple, yet significant, interactions that really make the Food Truck special to be a part of.

But, the whole night was not rosy on the truck…(by the way, thank you to the gentleman that donated that new truck to us…we thoroughly enjoyed the heat tonight….our old truck did not have heat!!!)…because we came upon a set of two Providence police cars and a fire truck with their lights flashing on Broad Street…and sure enough, there was a woman completely laid out (drunk, high, not really sure, but she looked to be in a really bad way) and she had one of the yellow Live It Up hoodies we gave away last year as Christmas presents to the homeless.  I still am not quite sure who it was…but to see that woman laying on the side of the road, completely motionless, broke my heart and I still can’t get the image out of my head.  Imagine, last year at Christmastime, she came into the church and we gave her a sweatshirt…10 months later she is using it to keep her warm, but is passed out on the side of the road…

It hurts me even more because tomorrow we have another event for our homeless women…tomorrow morning, at our office, we are hosting another I Need You To Survive event, where we bus homeless women in and give them free makeovers, haircuts, dyes, etc…the difference between being passed out on Broad Street and showing up to our event tomorrow could be razor-thin for these ladies…and I hope that we can help them all!

In fact, to tie it all together, let me take this opportunity to brag on Maria…I first met Maria several years ago at a shelter on Cranston Street.  She was doing ok, but still getting into trouble in certain areas…fast-forward a few years, she has turned things around significntly…she is off the streets in her own apartment with her new husband (she and William recently celebrated their one-year-anniversary!  they were married through The Covenant, another service provided through the RI Dream Center) and Maria and her husband are super-faithful in helping me on Friday nights with the Food Truck.  Tomorrow, she will be dropping by to take part of INU2S to get her hair done…I am sooooo happy that Maria is moving in the right direction and am extremely proud of her.  As I drove by the woman laying on the street tonight, I was struck by the thought of how many other women this woman was representing, and as I looked over at Maria, I thought to myself, “how can we help more and more and more….just one at a time….just make an impact….just be there to help someone make a change…”…I’ll cry myself to sleep tonight thinking about that woman passed out on the side of the road…police and rescue were taking care of her…I’m so glad that Maria is helping to take care of others…

Well, Dream Center Diary, I think that is enough for tonight…we will be back at it soon…as I think about all the ways people are touched in that building on a nightly basis, I am truly excited about what our future holds…imagine the impact you and I can make together for those less fortunate throughout the next fifty years!!!