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  • Meet Destin–a DREAAM Success Story

    We love Destin's story, and we just had to share it with you! Destin Lembelembe started working for DREAAM about a year and a half ago, in February of 2021. Last fall, he took part in DREAAM's 5-10-15-20 Program, which included 5 eligible participants who participated in a 10-week program and received 15 hours of life skill training per week and were assigned with life coaches to help them along the way. In addition, 20 hours per week were reserved for employment or volunteering services that would eventually work towards employment. [Participants then decided to pursue further education including completing a GED, applying for college, trade school, or obtaining a full-time job. The aim was to promote personal and professional development. Life skills included finance literacy, mental health, physical health, nutrition, preparing for job search, job application process, resume writing, mock interviews, communication skills, etc.] Destin is always wanting to help others and has grown so much as a person, an employee, and a DREAAMer. He has been an integral part of our team. We look forward to seeing this young gentleman make strides here in Champaign County and beyond! He's well on his way! Read more about Destin in our interview below. Please tell us about you! Where are you from? How long have you lived here in Champaign? I am from Africa–The Democratic Republic of the Congo. I have been living in Champaign-Urbana for about 7 years now. What's your favorite food? Fufu and chicken Please explain your experience with DREAAM. How did you learn about DREAAM? I learned about DREAAM through my church, First Presbyterian - Champaign. And that’s the only way I learned about DREAAM. Mr. Tracy Dace spoked about DREAAM during a Sunday service. Once I heard about it, I was interested and I wanted to be a part of it but I couldn’t because I did not know if they wanted younger employees. But one day I was looking for a job and I remembered Mr. Tracy. After visiting with him, he offered me a position with DREAAM; I got so excited and I immediately accepted the offer and have been with DREAAM ever since. I stuck with it. DREAAM–it’s an organization that builds you up as a young man, all the way up to an adult. I am forever grateful. Awhile after I started working with DREAAM, I heard about this 5-10-15-20 program. I took the class. The class taught me about money management, bills wise, banking, eating healthier, how to be a successful young man living on my own, etc… I learned so much and am so grateful. What has been your favorite experience with DREAAM? My favorite part about DREAAM is that we are all family. We strive to help the youth and we are not ashamed to share our personal problems, feelings. Because when we do so, there’s always a solution on the situation or the problem. We're all there for each other. Where are you working now and how did you get there? I am still with DREAAM through the month of July. I have a life coach who has been keeping me going and has motivated me not to give up fast. Thanks to DREAAM and all I've learned, I will be moving on to be a teacher at Bradley Learning Center, an Early Childhood Education Center, in Urbana.

  • Don't Miss the Kappa Kappa Gamma Flower Sale THIS WEEKEND!

    The Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae Association of Champaign-Urbana's 52nd Annual Flower Sale starts tomorrow!!! We are so grateful that, for the second year in a row, the sale will be benefiting DREAAM!!! [Thank you, CU KKGs!] Get your flowers tomorrow, Friday, May 13th from 9am to 5pm or Saturday, May 14th from 9am to noon at Indian Acres (1 Arrow Road) in Champaign. Some of our DREAAMers will be there tomorrow afternoon and on Saturday to help assist customers! [NOTE: Please remember to bring either cash or checks, as credit and debit will not be accepted.] There is a wide array of planting flowers and herbs to choose from, as well as hanging baskets, patio gardens, and more! All the plants come from Ropps, a local nursery from in Mahomet and Gibson City. The plants are incredibly beautiful and healthy and long lasting! So, make sure to grab some for yourself this weekend! Hope to see you there!

  • Cheering on our DREAAM FundRACERS!!!

    After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Illinois (Marathon*) Race Weekend is here! DREAAM is one of the race weekend's Charity Running Partners, which means runners have the opportunity to give more meaning to their miles, training, and race(s) by raising money for a nonprofit organization. We are humbled to have three amazing people (& me : ) running for DREAAM today and tomorrow. If you're planning to be out on the course to cheer on the runners, be on the lookout for highlighter yellow shirts with the DREAAM logo on the front and cheer loudly!!! Let's meet the runners!!! Judi Geistlinger will be running the Mini I-Challenge: the 5K (3.1 miles) tonight and the 10K (6.2 miles) tomorrow. Judi first learned about DREAAM through First Presbyterian Church of Champaign, one of our first partners who stepped up with seed funding early on. [Thank you, First Pres!!!] In Judi's words: “I started "running" 10 years ago primarily at fundraiser races. I run for the swag, the people cheering, and the post-race banana! When DREAAM became part of a race I have run for the last several years, I jumped at the chance to support this wonderful cause. I was already planning to run the Illinois Marathon Weekend, but now I get to support this terrific work too. I am running with a purpose this year. I love DREAAM because it helps raise up young men, giving them the future my children had automatically due to our race, economic status and education. Supporting DREAAM financially is such a small thing to do, but if it can make a difference in one young man's life, the world will be a better place. And so many young men have the chance for success with the skills and community developed through DREAAM. I will be honored to wear a DREAAM shirt this weekend and support this wonderful cause.” Jake Watts will be running the Illinois Half Marathon (13.1 miles) tomorrow. He grew up on a farm in Rankin, IL and attended PBL High School in Paxton. After graduating from PBL, he studied Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and graduated in December of 2021. Since graduation, he has been working in the Moose functional genomics lab on campus as an hourly employee studying nitrate transport genes in corn. How cool is that!??! Jake hopes to attend graduate school in the fall to continue studying plant genetics. In Jake's words: "I run simply to stay active and elected to raise money for DREAAM because we share the belief that education is our greatest tool to end poverty cycles in the community and your organization takes action on that belief!” Caitlin Drake will be running the 10K on Saturday. Caitlin has been a longtime supporter of DREAAM and says, "I love a challenge so thought it would be a good time to train for the 10k and when I saw DREAAM was a charity partner, it was an easy decision to choose you guys. Love your program and the impact it has in our community." Caitlin's daughter, Mia, will be rocking the Youth Run tomorrow, as well! Thank you so much, Judi, Jake, and Caitlin, for running for DREAAM! All of us here at DREAAM are wishing you a phenomenal race! Know we are all cheering you on!!! You ROCK the DREAAM HOUSE!! Learn more about the Illinois Race Weekend at *The marathon is not a part of the races this year due to staffing and the amount of space the marathon would take up street-wise and time-wise. Many thanks to our fundRACERS Jake Watts, Judi Geistlinger, Lina Mongwa, Jacqueline Jasek, Caitlin Drake, and Caitlin's daughter, Mia Drake! And thank you to all who supported DREAAM through the Illinois Race Weekend fundraising platform! Take a look through these race day photos!

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  • News & Events | DREAAM | Academic Achievement for Males | Champaign-Urbana, IL

    Stay up-to-date with our newsletters and events ! No upcoming events at the moment F A M I L Y N E W S L E T T E R S A G E N C Y N E W S L E T T E R S Calendar of Events Newsletters Family Newsletters December 2021 Download PDF May 2020 Download PDF April 2020 Download PDF Agency Newsletters Summer 2022 Download PDF March 2022 Download PDF Summer 2021 Download PDF Fall 2020 Download PDF Summer 2020 Download PDF Spring 2020 Download PDF DREAAM's Summer 2021 programming captured some powerful moments! View some of those moments here!

  • Wellness for All | DREAAM | Academic Achievement for Males | Champaign-Urbana, IL

    Wellness for All The Why Wellness for All offers year-round, free or low-cost enrichment programs for kids, their families, and their communities. These programs get families moving, build positive networks, and provide access to health and wellness resources, many through a lens of celebrating culture and connectedness. ​ A growing body of research is making the case for play to boost the well-being of young people , especially as the pandemic continues (Mader, 2021). Regular movement helps children maintain their physical health while gaining cognitive and social skills, fortifying mental health and self-confidence, strengthening positive relationships with peers and adults, and more. For more on the benefits of play and sport in youth, check out the Aspen Institute's Project Play . ​ ​ ​ In addition, strengthing cultural identity results in stronger feelings of belonging and security for people of all ages and, as a result, is an important contributor to their well-being (Diaz and Bui, 2017). In particular, children begin to understand and declare their identity as early as four years old (Perszyk, et. al. 2019) and it is essential to create a safe, inclusive space for that development. Our Programs Indoor Soccer Camp Soccer games, skills and drills, fun activities, and fruit for the family - all free! Learn More Weekend Activites Movement and play for the whole family on the weekeends! Learn More Preschool Program Academic enrichment, social and emotional learning, and celebrating identity. Learn More Mission Trips Domestic and international trips for youth to experience new places. Learn More Drill Team Dance, cheerleading, and drumline! Learn More Classes for Adults Self-empowerment, self-care, parenting workshops, and more, for adults. Learn More Mr. Dace is a program manager and community activist in the areas of juvenile justice, educational opportunities for youth placed at risk, and mentoring Black boys. He has over 10 years of experience in higher education and youth development. His professional career has focused on increasing organizational capacity to impact youth and young adults involved in multiple systems. Having lived in both urban and rural communities, Mr. Dace has gained broad professional experiences in managing culturally responsive services and building supports for children’s mental health needs in afterschool settings. In Champaign, he is involved in social justice projects related to African American youth empowerment. Since May 2010, he has provided the strategic vision in the design and growth of the Motivating More Males (M3) Mentoring Initiative. M3 is a youth-guided, grassroots initiative developed to give voice and positive direction to male youth affected by multiple risk factors such as poverty, minority status, and system involvement. Leading M3 is Mr. Dace’s personal and professional contribution to social change in an effort to disrupt the school to prison pipeline. Wellness for All is led by Executive Director Tracy Dace. ​

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