A Shared Passion

         Our principle activity is to redesign bedrooms for children with cancer, and cancer - like conditions, at their home. We completely redecorate the bedroom by painting murals, purchasing new furniture, choosing an overall theme, and more, to meet the desires of the child and his or her family - ultimately surprising them with an exciting new place for the child to spend his or her time! To accomplish this we must plan, fundraise, and execute by connecting with local hospitals, businesses, and our designer, Mardel Curwick, for the various requirements necessary to make our overall goal of designing a child's dream come true.

 Pictured Lef to Right, Top to Bottom: AJ, Lauren, Marcus, Gracia, Mardel, Erin, Dasha and Henry. Not pictured: Teal Johnson.

Pictured Lef to Right, Top to Bottom: AJ, Lauren, Marcus, Gracia, Mardel, Erin, Dasha and Henry. Not pictured: Teal Johnson.

 Pictured from Left to Right: Mardel, Lauren, Erin, Teal, and Ceci

Pictured from Left to Right: Mardel, Lauren, Erin, Teal, and Ceci

Meet the Board

Lauren curwick- Board president

Lauren Curwick graduated in the spring of 2015 from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and minor in Biology. Lauren spent a year and a half in a small coastal town of South Carolina as an AmeriCorps VISTA service member for one year and a Medical Scribe for Tidelands Health in the Emergency Department during the remainder of her time. She will be attending medical school beginning in August 2017 at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI with the hopes of becoming a physician in the area of pediatric surgical oncology. Her favorite part about Designing Dreams is seeing the child's face when they see their redesigned room for the first time. It is what makes all of the hard work worth it, and Lauren loves being able to make an impact in such deserving children's lives with her best friends by her side. Lauren is looking forward to the day she can be apart of pediatric cancer patient's medical care.

MARDEL CURWICK- Director of design

Mardel Curwick founded and operates a design business called The Elegant Interior. Mardel's favorite part about Designing Dreams is envisioning the projects and seeing the designs come to life. The expression on the children's faces as a result has been the most rewarding aspect of Mardel's career as a designer. 

Erin monasterio- Secretary

Erin graduated in the spring of 2015 from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities with a Bachelors degree in Communication Studies. Erin is currently working at the University of Minnesota Foundation as the Call Center Supervisor. Her favorite part about Designing Dreams is being able to make in impact in children's lives with her best friends. Hearing about everything each child and their family go through and then getting to see their faces when the new room is revealed makes all the hard work worth it for Erin. 

Teal johnson- Vice president of finance

Teal Johnson graduated in the spring of 2015 from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology.  She is currently attending law school at Syracuse University, and hopes to become a criminal or corporate attorney.  Her favorite part of Designing Dreams is meeting and getting to know the children and their families.  Each child and their support system is inspiring and a joy to experience even if just for a short time.  Giving back to very deserving children is what makes all the planning and fundraising worth it for Teal.

Joseph dean- Board member

Joe is the former Mayor of Port Washington, as well as a past County Board Supervisor, Chairman of Health and Human Services and recently retired Senior Advisor in the United States Senate. Dean was voted Port’s Citizen of the Year and has received numerous awards including Rotary’s Paul Harris recognition, UW- Milwaukee’s (Master of Science Degree) Distinguished Alumni Award, and the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Service Award. He is an Ultra Marathon runner, former YMCA Director and Board member for the MACC Fund. A 28-year IBM executive. As a former faculty member in Stuttgart, Germany, and a graduate of Outward Bound Wilderness Survival School, (Colorado University), Dean believes success comes from clarity of vision, strong, focused teams, and an all out passion for excellence. Dean founded the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight in 2008 and the documentary film: Honor Flight received seven separate awards. The movie quickly climbed to the number one ranked documentary at Amazon.com and it set the Guinness World Record for the largest movie premiere in history (shown to a sell out crowd at Miller Park). The book, Honor Flight: A Visual Journey, was released on Veterans Day and has raised over $250,000 for veteran causes. As an advocate for families and children working through the many issues in the area of pediatric cancer -- Dean worked on the US. Senate team, actively seeking solutions, partnerships, funding and appropriate legislation. Joe is “thrilled to be on the Designing Dreams Team to help kids and families embrace hope and healing.”

Holly Deyoung- Board Member

Holly hails from Beaver Dam for the past 20+ years, has a professional background in Human Resources and is excited to be able to give back through our unique organization.  As a new member to the Board, Holly is eager to be a part of the redesign process from beginning to end.  She is looking forward to meeting the families and seeing the looks on their faces at the big reveal.

todd hedberg- Board member

Todd is the managing partner of over 300,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in the Wisconsin market.  His background focuses extensively on sales, marketing, and budget preparation.  Todd currently serves on the board of the Peder Hedberg Foundation and Church Health Services and is a past board member of the Dodge County Humane Society. After attending Designing Dreams' fundraisers as both a guest speaker and donor, he was asked to join the board.  He looks forward to working with this organization and is honored to help with their mission.

Mark Roedl- Board member

Mark has been involved in sales and account management for over 30 years, primarily in the food processing industry.  Upon learning about Designing Dreams mission, he became very supportive of our cause.  Mark is excited to be a part of our team to help us achieve our goals in years to come.

Lachelle Semanko- board member

Lachelle Semanko is the Director of Program Services at Make-A-Wish Minnesota, where she’s worked for more than 17 years.  She has dedicated her career and personal life to supporting children and families through wish granting, the local school PTA, Designing Dreams and various other volunteer work. Her favorite part about Designing Dreams is helping to provide a positive space for children to heal and overcome their medical challenges.

Meet the Dream Team Staff

fundraising team

Janet Peshek - Development Director

Janet Peshek is a creative big-picture planner, mission-driven nonprofit manager and administrator with more than 25 years’ business expertise. Janet’s approach is straight forward: with a focus on building sustainable relationships, nonprofit organizations can reach their fullest potential. She believes successful nonprofits are active and intentional; mindfully facilitating networks of advocacy and support around their mission.
Dedicated to helping others, Janet has worked on behalf of at-risk youth, education, social services, homelessness, poverty, legal services, cultural preservation, senior care, pediatric cancer and related blood disorder funding, racial equality, workforce development, women and children, and restorative justice. Her core areas of expertise include grant writing, special events, fund development, research and analysis, marketing and communications, volunteer programs, and data management. 
Janet is a Milwaukee native. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University and actively volunteers in her community. She believes in the power of hope and the indefinable value of dreams, and is proud to join the Designing Dreams team in the role of Development Director.

Creative team

AJ Riehbrandt- photographer & videographer

AJ graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh in December of 2016 with a degree in Art and Photography. AJ is currently job searching but wants to utilize his photography, videography and creative skills. In his free time, AJ enjoys taking photographs of friends and surroundings. His favorite part about Designing Dreams is seeing the reactions of the children when they first step into their rooms. AJ is lucky enough to be on the other side of the door filming the children’s reactions, so he truly has the best seat in the house.

Marcus Verhage- photographer & videographer

Marcus graduated from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse in the spring of 2016. He majored in marketing and information systems and was lucky enough to land a job at Epic as a Quality Assurance Specialist. Marcus works with AJ to create media content to post on the Designing Dreams’ social media pages. His favorite part about Designing Dreams is being able to capture the stories of the families and share them with others who are going through the same thing. The Designing Dreams community continues to grow and come together to support each other, which makes the whole experience worth it for Marcus. 

DASHA ENGELKING- Director of social & digital media marketing

Dasha is currently a junior at the University of Minnesota studying Advertising with minors in Leadership and Digital Media Studies. She is on track to graduate a semester early, next December. She hopes to work in the advertising fields after graduation, either on the corporate or agency side. Her favorite part about Designing Dreams is seeing the finished bedroom and how much of a positive impact it makes on the children. The experience is very humbling and what makes Dasha excited to be part of the team.