Nonprofit Dream Program affected by COVID-19 pandemic

The Dream Program, an Ocean Springs nonprofit organization, is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus.

Routine is something that most thrive on, but imagine having a disability and your everyday life is being completely torn apart. This happened to many participants due to COVID-19 who are active in the Dream Program, a nonprofit that serves to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities. Dream Executive Director Billy Dungan said, “We had to just stop what we were doing and that meant that all of our athletes were then basically quarantined or self-quarantined and then they had no other activity to participate in.”

Dungan and Board Member Cherie Auger both have grown children with Down syndrome that were active in the program. They explained the temporary shutdown has affected not just their own way of life, but also the life of their children. Auger said, “He still goes out and does things with some of his friends and stuff. They come and get him to go to lunch or whatever. He does miss interacting with his athletes and friends from the Dream Program, and he is also engaged so he doesn’t get to see his fiancé very much.”

With about 260 registered members at the Dream Program, the pandemic has led them to miss several opportunities such as ten basketball games, 40 softball games, and 120 horseback rides. However, the staff and members are certainly looking forward to reopening and returning whenever it is possible. “It’s been a very difficult time for all of us and we’re looking forward to being able to get this thing jump started once everything blows over.”

Dungan and the rest of the board will reevaluate the reopening of the Dream Program at the end of October where they will look to make dreams a reality once again.

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