Blissful Bedrooms
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HISTORY


Blissful Bedrooms was founded in 2009 by Martha and Alex Gold-Dvoryadkin. Martha and Alex decided to paint the room of one of Martha’s former physical therapy/yoga students, Tamisha (“Butterfly”). Tamisha is profoundly disabled, has fixed contractures of her extremities, and basically can only move her head. She is unable to sit upright, change her position independently and is non-verbal with the exception of some basic sounds. Despite all of her physical limitations, she is witty, present and has a wonderful sense of humor. She is also a great judge of character. Therefore, when Martha introduced Alex to Tamisha for the very first time and got her enthusiastic approval, she knew she had a keeper. Martha and Tamisha share a very special heart connection.

After graduating from school at the age of 21, Tamisha had no where to go. Because of her severe physical limitations and her high level of dependence on others, she is not an ideal candidate for the handful of suitable adult day programs that do exist. So it was then that her life sentence of lying on her bed, day in day out, lonely, bored, with no hopes for the future, began. It broke Martha and Alex’s heart to see Tamisha so depressed and hopeless. They wanted desperately to brighten her everyday existence but were at a loss as to how they could do that. One day around the holidays, Martha and Alex were talking about what kind of gift they could buy for Tamisha to bring her some happiness. After all, given her physical limitations, it wasn’t as simple as buying her an iPod or the latest video game. Finally, they came up with the idea of transforming her bedroom. They purchased all of the supplies they would need, and together they spent an entire weekend painting her room, hanging butterflies and applying rainbows. At the completion, they carried Tamisha into the room (she was kept out the whole weekend) and Tamisha’s eyes widened with delight and she let out the loudest “WOW!!” you ever heard followed by screams of excitement. Her father, a single parent, stood and watched his daughter’s reaction with tears in his eyes. At that moment, a most unanticipated thing happened, Martha and Alex’s hearts flooded with joy and happiness and their physical exhaustion seemed to disappear instantly. As they left Tamisha’s home that evening, they felt an indescribable feeling of fulfillment and they knew that they wanted to feel this again and again. As they talked more about it in the following days and weeks, they thought it would not only be a fantastic opportunity for the children and young adults with disabilities who would be the recipients, but also for people, just like them, who were searching for meaning and purpose in their lives, and who wanted to make a tangible difference in their community and the lives of others.

Martha and Alex quickly identified the recipient of the next makeover – Angel, a former yoga student of Martha’s from her District 75 school, who had graduated from the school the previous year. They put an ad on Craig’s List describing their mission, along with pictures of Tamisha’s bedroom, and asked for volunteers to help. Many wonderful people of all ages and backgrounds answered that ad with positive encouragement for their mission, and with offers to help with the actual renovations and continue to do so today.

In fact, Blissful Bedrooms Core Team is composed of some very special individuals who answered that ad early on, and have committed themselves to the long-term success of Blissful Bedrooms. They also experienced that same sense of fulfillment at the completion of their initial makeover as Martha and Alex did their very first time with Tamisha. With each makeover, the volunteer team grows and now the makeovers routinely involve 20-30 volunteers that contribute. One past project actually involved 50 volunteers (see Juan’s makeover). The feeling of satisfaction we all experience at the end of current makeovers is now even more amplified as our community is larger and the combined energy bigger.

As a legitimate 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, we are always seeking corporate sponsors for donations, as well as grants and funding opportunities. However, at this time our fundraising is very grass roots, and most of our makeovers have been largely accomplished by modest donations of $20-$100 from many, many compassionate individuals, as well as donations of materials/services from small businesses. The average cost to create a Blissful Bedroom is approximately $6,000. Each time we gather enough funds to transform a room, we go ahead and do it. With the thousands of young individuals who graduate from Special Education/District 75 schools around the city, we do not anticipate running out of candidates any time soon. We love that so many compassionate individuals come together to make these makeovers happen, and we never want to lose that special community feeling. However, we know we could bring joy to so many more young individuals with disabilities in NYC if big businesses or prominent figures in our society were inspired to help. Please donate whatever you can to help us continue do this work. If you would like to explore sponsoring our organization, please contact us!