Our Story

The Children’s Dream Adventures Story

A little about our foundations and who we are.

How did Children's Dream Adventures in Tampa, Florida get started?

How it All Began

Founder Mark Peck, started volunteering in elementary school and made a career in Public Service.

Mark worked in Fire & EMS and in the ER for nearly 20 years prior to becoming a REALTOR®. Mark had always wanted to be a philanthropist, but soon realized he wasn’t going to have millions of dollars to give away. That is when Mark thought starting charity would be the best way to achieve his philanthropy goal, but didn’t know where or how to start.

Soon after, Mark developed the vacations for disadvantaged children concept after noticing how many vacant hotel rooms and vacation rentals there were in Tampa Bay at that time, coupled with all of the attractions, events, and activities the area has to offer. Unfortunately life, including losing his mother to cancer in 2013, kept this project on the back burner.

In 2015, a few years after becoming a Realtor, Mark started to think about starting a charity again shortly after witnessing Dr. Lenkey’s youngest son Ryan being hit by a car and critically injured.

Sadly, Dr. Lenkey’s sons Devin and Ryan became another statistic in 2017, after losing their amazing mother Dawn (Dr. Lenkey’s wife) to cancer. 

Mark was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia in January 2018. He spent 2 months in the hospital and an additional year of outpatient chemotherapy 5 days per week. After everything he went through, He decided it was time to devote more of his time to giving back. 

Mark was returning to a normal life after chemo when the COVID-19 pandemic began, stalling this dream further.

During the summer of 2021 Dr. Lenkey, and his two sons Devin & Ryan were visiting the Tampa Bay area. One night at dinner, Mark disclosed his dream to the Lenkey’s as Mark knew Dr. Lenkey was also interested in giving back.

Dr. Lenkey asked to Mark to create a plan, and if he liked the plan, Dr. Lenkey pledged to assist with the some of the start-up funding.

Mark soon developed a plan, which was approved by Dr. Lenkey and Children’s Dream Adventures started to transition from a dream into reality.

Mark then reached out to some generous people that he knew enjoyed helping others, including Richard Noble and Jason Brainerd, in order to establish our founders and our Board of Directors. Next he contacted Dr. Lynne Sayne, PhD and Patricia Johnson knowing that their knowledge and experience would be an enormous asset to the organization.

And here we are…

What People Are Saying About Us

Thanks for everything, the boys had such a wonderful experience. Looking forward to more adventures in the future!

Nicole Gladding
Program Manager
Elevated Youth Services


Hey Mark, I wanted to personally thank you for hosting these events for our boys.

Sincerely appreciate what you do!

Nick Browning,LCSW
Elevated Youth Services
Owner & Clinical Administrator

Video Link


These pictures are FABULOUS! It looks like ALL of the kiddos had a fantastic time!

Thank you for organizing this, Mark, and including our youth. ?

Laura Calco
Life Enrichment Program Manager
Joshua House – Friends of Joshua House Foundation, Inc.