This past January, DREAM officially opened the doors of DREAM Charter School at 20 Bruckner—a 200,000-square foot, 120-year-old former icehouse given new life as a learning institution by renowned architect Sir David Adjaye. In this series, DREAM at 20 Bruckner, we explore several aspects that make the building special, further DREAM’s mission, and embody our belief that place matters—that every child deserves safe, beautiful places to play, learn, and grow.
At DREAM, all alumni are known as Legends, a special nod to all they’ve accomplished as DREAM graduates, and also the aspirations we have for them as they move into their futures. But the origins of the name trace back to 2011, when the organization, then known as Harlem RBI, founded its Legends Program to provide six years of post-secondary support to former participants.
Today, the core of the Legends Program’s work continues to be providing support to alumni aged 18-24, but the program has also expanded its reach to include working with DREAM Charter High School staff to oversee the transition from high school to college/career; forming partnerships with companies and organizations that can supply career exposure, mentorship, training, and jobs to DREAM graduates; and engaging DREAM’s ever-growing alumni network through the DREAM Alumni Council, alumni gatherings, and more.
With the Legends Program bridging the crucial gap between high school and college/early career, creating a home base for the program at 20 Bruckner was an integral part of the strategic planning for DREAM Charter Schools’ newest campus. Positioned near the building’s main entrance, and just three floors removed from DREAM Charter High School, program staff are in a prime position to engage high school students, provide guidance as they prepare for graduation, and welcome back all alumni, whether for check-in meetings or a festive gathering in their permanent DREAM home.
“Being in the same building not only creates physical proximity, which is logistically important to our work, but it also brings the Legends staff closer to the work being done at the high school,” said Matt Gonzalez, DREAM’s Director of Postsecondary Success. “That connection with high school staff, the integration of our work with theirs, and the increased face time with current students creates a natural transition from childhood to adulthood for our alumni, and gives them a better sense of the support we can provide when they go out into the world.”
With DREAM Charter High School set to graduate approximately 100 scholars each year, the Legends Program is slated to grow to 1,000 alumni by 2030. The program’s new home at 20 Bruckner will provide the space and resources needed to maintain their connection to DREAM, and help guide them into their futures.
To see more inside 20 Bruckner, you can watch recaps of DREAM Charter High School’s first day of school and the official 20 Bruckner ribbon-cutting ceremony. You can also follow our DREAM at 20 Bruckner series by reading our previous post on the building’s unique first-floor stairwell and its connections to our maxims. And, don’t forget to check back as we continue to count down to the official 20 Bruckner move-in for DREAM Mott Haven Elementary and Middle Schools this August.