In 2012, Ann and Chris Swain joined the Wisconsin Chapter of Special Spaces, a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses. They have spent countless hours growing their passion to cover many counties in Wisconsin. The bedrooms are created by all-volunteer teams with many corporate sponsors and in-kind donations. Last summer, Special Spaces Wisconsin celebrated the completion of their 100th bedroom makeover in the Wisconsin area. This truly is due to the dedication of Ann and Chris.
Chris Swain has played an instrumental role in the National Special Spaces organization. He has been on the Board of Directors since the inception and has recently stepped into the role of Executive Director. With his leadership, Special Spaces will continue to grow on a national level, adding more Chapters and expanding its national presence.
While Chris’s work is predominantly behind the scenes, Ann Swain has been a prominent volunteer in the community, currently serving as the Wisconsin State Director and the Dream Big Gala Chair. Ann is never afraid of a challenge. She wears many hats within the organization and always makes everyone feel welcome. She works to identify children who meet the Special Spaces criteria for a Dream Bedroom Makeover and helps pair each child with Wisconsin companies to assist with their room makeover. Ann has gained the support of many Wisconsin businesses as underwriters for bedroom makeovers.
On average, a bedroom makeover takes months of planning but is created in just two short days. Ann meets with the family to review the needs of the child and wishes for the child’s room. The goal is to create a dream bedroom that will be a complete surprise to the sick child where he or she can heal. Ann handles consultation, design, volunteer recruitment, and supplies shopping and supervises the project from beginning to end. With a team of amazing volunteers and contractors, the project is completed, and the family returns for the surprise reveal.
Special Spaces Wisconsin also holds a gala, Dream Big, to help raise funds for bedroom makeovers. Dream Big would not be what it is today without Ann and Chris, who have chaired its board since the beginning. With their leadership, it is now a sold-out event and exceeds all financial goals.
For their incredible dedication, hard work, and genuine care for sick children throughout the state, Ann and Chris Swain are presented a Wisconsin Hero Award.