Helen Dean is a savvy business-woman who is native of Alameda. Twenty-four years ago, as a school-teacher and mother of three children, she was finding it impossible to make ends meet. This was the impetus to opening her own business, and what could be better than a toy store. “I wanted to start a business, raise my children, earn a living, and give back to my community.” Helen opened up Toy Safari on Park Street in Alameda in 1991. Since opening its doors, Toy Safari has become a destination for shoppers from all over the Bay Area.
Helen’s commitment to bringing the healing power of laughter and play to the greater community is evident in how she runs her store. When you enter Toy Safari you are immediately greeted with an abundance of new and used toys, permanent art work donated from local artists and children (and adults) gleefully playing. Helen also included financially supporting the community in her business plan from the beginning. She often develops personal relationships and recalls meeting Sherry Sherman and Jeff Raz many years ago when they came to Toy Safari with their then 3 year-old son Micah. When the Medical Clown Project was formed in 2010, Helen was one of its first ardent supporters. “Supporting the work of the Medical Clown Project makes me feel wonderful and connected to children and adults in need that I’ve never even met. And knowing that I’m part of positively impacting so many PEOPLE warms my heart in ways that is hard to describe.”
Helen believes that the work of the Medical Clown Project is crucial in giving patients, their families and the entire medical team and staff the gift of laughter and hope when everything seems so bleak. Please join her in supporting our work.