Resident Makes Dreams Come True For Some

Believeintomorrow

OCEAN CITY – Finding true happiness in a career can be
hard to come by. The road is full of bumps, turns and dead-ends that all try to
shake the resolve of anyone in search of their lifelong dreams. However, along
66th Street there is a condominium where one gentleman has successfully
navigated that road and seems happier than ever.
That man is Wayne Littleton, program coordinator for Ocean City’s Believe in
Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, a group poised to help children who suffer from
life-threatening diseases and their families along a metaphorical road of their
own littered with plenty of obstacles that sometimes make every day a
challenge.
Going on its 25th anniversary, the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation
provides hospital and retreat housing services to critically ill children and
their families.

One of those retreats is operated by Littleton, who says
the foundation has been a part of Ocean City for almost 20 years.
“Basically what we want to do is give them a relief from their everyday
stresses,” Littleton said. “They come here and it’s almost like they can forget
about their problems for the time. No phone calls, no doctors, no treatments.
It’s a chance for them to renew their spirits and to regroup because a lot of
them are facing some serious challenges.”
Littleton, who has been a part of the Believe in Tomorrow House By the Sea for
11 years, six of which have been as program coordinator, said Ocean City’s
retreat housing assists 160-170 families a year, totaling approximately 600
kids and adults. Most of the families come from the mid-Atlantic region but
some have come from as far away as Australia where a break in Ocean City
between surgeries at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore was a welcome reprieve
for one family.
“A lot of foundations are ‘one and done’, he said. “With us you really get to
know our family because you can come down as much as you want, sometimes they
will come until they are 18 years old.”
For the children, just coming to Ocean City is an adventure in itself since
many have never even seen the beach or ocean before, something Littleton said
we all take for granted at times.

Once at the retreat, everything is provided to the
families through donations and funds raised by Littleton and his team of 90
volunteers, who he says, “give their heart and soul here.” However, they aren’t
the only ones providing assistance as Littleton said the town itself is crucial
in backing the foundation and what they are for. This includes free passes to
Trimper’s Amusement Park and Jolly Rogers, tennis and golf lessons from members
of the community, and even fishing trips hosted by the Ocean Pines Angler’s
Club.
“The businesses and the public really step up,” Littleton said. “It’s a very
generous community here, the people are just great.”
The only thing Littleton wishes the foundation could do is service more
children.

“The kids come here and I’ll be honest, we spoil them
rotten,” Littleton adds with a smile. “I mean that’s our goal here, we just
want to spoil them.”
As for finding his way to Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, Littleton
said it was a news article that caught his attention and lead him down his
newfound path.
“One day, on the front page of the USA Today,there was an article
that the organization had just granted its 50,000th wish,” he said, “I looked
at this article where they sent this inner city youth to the Midwest to a
cowboy camp and it was just the coolest thing.”
Soon after, Littleton said he had the article clipped out and was on the phone
trying to figure out how he could become involved.

Littleton
knows he must be doing something right as he said the foundation in Ocean City
has received thousands of letters in their 20 years, all of which are kept
along with photos and other items children send as part of their gratitude.
However, the greatest gift Littleton receives is when the family makes him a
part of their own family.
“One of the things about our program is you really do get to know the children
because they are here and you just fall in love with them,” he said. “We are
actually very good friends with some of the families now so I’ll always be a
part of their kids’ life.” 

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