My name is Doretta Tootle!
I am the Executive Director and founder of Thelma’s dream. My Passion and my heart is for our youth, working with families and just meeting people where they are with compassion and love.
In 2013, as a single mother of 3 young men ages 11, 12 and 13 and homeless, I felt hopeless as I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I dealt with judgement from others, my dignity was compromised, and I felt like I wanted to give up. When you’re dealing with something like that where your dignity is compromised The first thing you need is direction. There were many resources that were available, however, some of those resources from agency’s don’t always make you feel like you’re worthy, or provide adequate resources.
Many times, I would visit those resources and would leave feeling horrible because my car was loaded down with all of our belongings and knowing that I had put my last three dollars in my gas tank.
And those resources make you wait for a solution. You get on the waiting list; you wait for that phone call; you constantly check emails and or wait for mail of approval. It was so frustrating and I spent many sleepless nights dreaming of a way to escape.
I would look at my boys everyday and at some point I told myself I just couldn’t give up knowing that I had to make the right decision for my children. My boys couldn’t articulate what was going on but they knew that this just wasn’t what life should be. Through that year after so many disappointments, tons of frustration and tears I pushed through and eventually heard back from the Salvation Army in finding an apartment, helping with a job, and I as well enrolled in school to finish my degree program.
Today I can say that I honestly didn’t think life would ever look up but it did and my experiences have created a passion for youth, empowering them to love who they are and how they are made, to help struggling families, and the overall well being of the communities. I promised myself that when I got on my feet that I would give back to my community through Love, moral support with no judgement, meeting people where they are and providing all viable Resources.
I want to encourage anyone that is struggling in this life. Please understand that struggle and adversity will always come but remember Your Struggles Don’t Define You — But How You Deal with Them Does.
In closing I will leave you with this quote.
“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – Winston Churchill

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Doretta Tootle | Thelma’s Dream
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