Donielle is the Co-Director of the D.R.E.A.M.S. Foundation of Acadiana along with her husband Brian Watkins. Donielle and Brian founded D.R.E.A.M.S. in 2008, because their son and other kids with special needs in the community wanted to participate in activities and sports. They never imagined that it would flourish into the successful foundation it is today. D.R.E.A.M.S. has brought together many families that identify with each other and has changed many lives for the better. “I am blessed that God chose us to lead this organization.” -Donielle
After the birth of their son Logan, who was born with Spina Bifida, Brian and Donielle’s lives were changed forever. They decided to create a nonprofit foundation designed to bring activities and sports programs to the Acadiana area for special needs individuals. After several years of introducing and running various programs, Brian decided to go back to school to become a special education teacher. He has now been teaching since 2010 and is currently teaching at St. Thomas More high school in the Options program. In 2014, he was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Louisiana Governor’s office for special needs. As well as teaching those with special needs in the classroom, he is also involved in the sports and activities throughout the organization! “Each child can learn; we just have to figure out how they learn.” -Brian
Community Relations Coordinator
Laynie found her passion for children with special needs during her years at Lafayette High School. While cheering for all four years, she made time for a class helping students with special needs called Peer Support. After graduating in 2012, the Peer Support class inspired her to major in Early Childhood Education at The University of Louisiana. She cheered for three years as a Ragin’ Cajun Cheerleader, but chose to end her cheer journey to finish her studies and be more involved with D.R.E.A.M.S. She will graduate in December of 2017 and continue her education to receive a certification in Special Ed. Laynie is the head coach of the D.R.E.A.M.S. Cheer Warriors, teaches the D.R.E.A.M.S. Theatre class, and handles various administrative/community-based duties for the organization. “These kids are no different than any of us. All they want is a chance to have the education and the life they deserve.” – Laynie
Sarah began her work with special needs individuals at Edgar Martin Middle School, where was involved in the Best Buddies club, which focused on fostering friendships for students with disabilities. Sarah then went to Lafayette High School, where she joined the Peer Support program which allowed students to assist the special education P.E. class. While being a part of this group, Sarah and her fellow classmates lost a student due to an unknown cause. This tragic event truly opened Sarah’s eyes and influenced her to pursue a career helping individuals with special needs. “I realized that these students feel emotions just like you and me. I didn’t want one more day to go on where society felt like they were incapable and couldn’t understand.” Sarah will graduate in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in May of 2018. After graduation, she plans to complete the certification program for Mild/Moderate Disabilities for grades 1-5 through night classes while she teaches. She is currently the caregiver of two of our D.R.E.A.M.S. individuals and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi on UL’s campus. Sarah manages all of our Volunteers and aids in any D.R.E.A.M.S. activity that she can!