Patricia Sykes said the circumstances in her life enabled her to help young adults improve their lives.
âI knew what God wanted from me,â Sykes said. “I understood why I had to weather these storms and why he chose me to survive them.”
Sykes, 41, of McDonough is the founder and president of Saperia Dreams Inc., a non-profit agency dedicated to helping young people in the foster care system overcome obstacles in their path. The organization, she said, is focused on providing transitional housing to people aged 16 to 24 as they age outside the foster care system.
Sykes officially launched the organization in November 2020, hosting food drives, back-to-school drives, community donations, clothing drive, and donations to homeless shelters in Georgia.
She named Saperia Dreams after her mother, who died of AIDS in 2001.
âShe used to call me Saperia when I was in trouble,â said Sykes. âOur mission is to bridge the gap between foster care and permanent housing in an environment where young people can overcome trauma and acquire life skills to help shape their independence and successfully emancipate themselves.
Covington-based Saperia Dreams serves Henry, Newton and Rockdale counties. Sykes said the organization’s goal is to âdisrupt the cycleâ of adverse circumstances affecting young people in today’s world by helping them âfeel safe and lovedâ.
This cycle, she said, includes incarceration, sex trafficking, abuse, homelessness, drug use and HIV / AIDS.
âSaperia Dreams was born in 2010 to enrich the lives of families infected / affected by HIV / AIDS after losing my mother, stepfather and little sister to AIDS,â said Sykes. âWe hope to prevent homelessness, human trafficking and drug addiction by providing housing, education and vocational skills,â she continued.
Sykes is a self-taught pastry chef who strives to reach out to other members of her community. Over the years, she has helped feed the homeless, donated Easter baskets to children in need, and helped raise funds for AIDS Walk New York.
It was through such efforts, said Sykes, that she found her purpose in the world.
âMy goal in my humanitarian work in the service of our children brings me so much joy,â said Sykes.
After moving to McDonough in 2018, Sykes began volunteering at Covenant House, a youth shelter in Atlanta.
âThat’s when God shifted my focus,â she said. âI saw myself in so many of these young girls because I too was homeless at their age except I had a baby.
“When AIDS started to take its toll on my mother’s body, she was hospitalized and in nursing homes for months, which made my baby and I homeless,” a- she continued. âI have been mentally, emotionally and physically abused by members of my family. I suffered from low self-esteem, rejection, depression and anxiety and was unaware of what I was going through which led me to try and kill myself.
Saperia Dreams is set to unveil its Culinary Baking Therapy program in January. The program, said Sykes, goes far beyond teaching participants how to cook.
âAfter doing some research, we found that food therapy – baking – helped with anxiety and depression,â said Sykes. âIt also helps with math, science, reading and social skills, to name a few. It’s not just pastry.
We also have a certified therapist and social worker who will provide mental health therapy.
Sykes said culinary cooking therapy can help young people who have become depressed from COVID-19.
Saperia Dreams also operates a blessing shop for the benefit of foster home children. The store allows wards of the state and their caregivers to purchase clothes and other items for free, Sykes said.
“Each child will receive 5-7 seasonal outfits, a pair of shoes, new socks and underwear, two pajamas, hygiene products and books,” she said. âWe will be providing prom and graduation clothes and accessories for girls and boys for this particular time of year. Depending on stocks, we will also offer high chairs, cots, video games and Bibles.
Sykes plans to expand Saperia Dreams’ outreach and mentorship program in 2022, both locally and in the Atlanta area.
âWe may be a new and small organization, but we are going to have a significant impact on communities. “
For more information, call 678-671-8228.