About Us: Our History
The Youth Dreamers started in 2001 as a group of nine middle school students that were part of a Community Action elective course at the Stadium School. As part of their course objective they identified a problem in their community: too many adolescents were involved in negative acts after school because of a lack of organized activities and places to house them. Together they came up with a solution: to create a youth-run youth center that would employ teens and creatively serve children of all ages.
The Dream House
The Dream House became the vision towards which the original nine students and others after them worked to achieve. Continuing as part of the class, the Youth Dreamers selected an abandoned home in Baltimore’s Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello community, petitioned for a zoning change, purchased the house, wrote grants and raised more than $300,000 towards its renovations. Youth were also involved in the architectural design and renovations, guided by a pro bono architect and general contractor. They began planning, running and evaluating programs that they ran out of the Stadium School while the house was under construction. All programs both served and employed youth and included Homework Club, Community Art, Health Club, Summer Arts Program---to name just a few. Nine years later, the Youth Dreamers celebrated the Grand Opening of the Dream House and transitioned programs into our new space. In 2010, the organization separated itself from the Stadium School to become a stand-alone youth-center that served all students from the community.
How have we impacted the Baltimore community?
Since 2001, Youth Dreamers have written more than 84 grants – raising over $900,000 – we have served 618 youth in Baltimore City and employed 251, helped high school and middle school students earn 17,578 community service hours towards graduation, and had the pleasure of working with 520 volunteers. All of this and much more has led to COUNTLESS success stories of youth and adult involvement.
After one and ahalf years of strategic planning and implementation in partnership with MBA students from Loyola University, in September of 2013, the Youth Dreamers ended programs as we knew them, due to a lack of funding and support for project-based learning. Inspired to leave some kind of legacy, during those years, we also worked hard to put our story into a book I Am Not a Test Score: Lessons Learned from Dreaming to be published in April 2014. We now rent the Dream House to a sister organization – Baltimore Teacher Network (BTN), a growing network of professional teachers, researchers and community activists, with a stake in the public discussion of teaching and learning. With this rental income, Youth Dreamers are launching a scholarship program that will give youth the opportunity to set their goals as we mentor them through college with a personalized support system.
SOMETHING OLD . . .
SOMETHING NEW . . .
Read about Youth Dreamers in the press!
Print Version: YD Flyer 2014