NEWPORT NEWS — Simone Dreher and her husband, Coy, founded the Dreams of Hope Foundation in 2015.
“My husband and I came up with the idea when he was in the military,” Simone Dreher said, adding Coy is a Navy veteran.
The couple founded the nonprofit which helps people in the community get services like food, clothes, laundry services and transportation to medical appointments ––– for free.
“A lot of people didn’t have basic necessities,” Simone Dreher, noting it was one of the main reasons they decided to start the nonprofit. “For the last five years we have been paying out of our pocket.”
The nonprofit offers everything from back to school drives for families and scholarship programs for high school and college students to a monthly support group for parents who have lost a child and a re-entry program for people transitioning out of jail or domestic violence situations.
In addition, the foundation recently partnered with Conexus to provide free eyeglasses.
Since the pair also run a mental health agency called Hope Seekers, they offer free therapy services, both individual and group therapy and teach life skills to the community.
“There are a lot of people in the community who tend to fall through the cracks,” Simone Dreher said.
Every Wednesday, Panera donates bread for Free Bread Wednesdays” and each year the nonprofit hosts a Thanksgiving dinner catered entirely by Simone.
“We try to give them a sense of hope,” she said. “We ourselves experience hard times –– at one point when starting the nonprofit and mental health agency, we were facing foreclosure at that.”
The nonprofit plans to add year-round mentoring programs for youth ages 10 to 18 years old and to work on acquiring more funding for case management services.
“Coy Dreher, a Dreams of Hope founder and Jason Covington, a graduate counseling students at Hampton University under the advisement of Dr. Richard Mason, were mentors at B. T. Washington,” said Avra Davidson, assistant principal for Booker T. Washington Middle School. “For two months they mentored some of our 8th grade boys during an after-school program.”
Simone Dreher said they currently have a veteran on-staff, who can help other veterans navigate the process and receive mental health services through the Veterans Administration system.
“Anybody who walks through our doors, we do not turn them away,” she said. “They will not leave here without something.”
Dreams of Hope Foundation, 6910 Warwick Blvd., is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the nonprofit’s website or follow them on Facebook.