Thirty years ago, Jasmine Colon was one of the first girls to play on the Field of Dreams. Now, her son is a student at DREAM Charter School.
East 100th Street was where Jasmine grew up. Right across from an empty lot. That lot was empty even before she was born. It was lifeless – a place where people threw away the things they didn’t want anymore. For good reason, it was off-limits for kids to play on.
But the day that DREAM – then Harlem RBI – came to Jasmine’s neighborhood, all that changed. DREAM didn’t just transform her block’s vacant lot; it transformed three generations of her family.
Jasmine was one of the first girls to play softball on what became the Field of Dreams. Ten years later, her younger sister came up through the program too. And when the City tried to take the field away in 1997, Jasmine’s grandfather was one of the community leaders who fought for it. He knew how important it was to his granddaughters and to all the kids in their neighborhood. Not just for a place to play baseball and softball, but for all it had grown into – support with academics and getting into college, a place where there were adults who cared, a chance to be a part of a team.
Today, DREAM has evolved into a network of charter schools across East Harlem and the Bronx. DREAM is able to serve kids in ways Jasmine could only imagine back then – including her own son, Syncere, who now attends DREAM Charter School.
“There will be no barrier to Syncere’s success. He will have access to every opportunity. The world is wide open to him and his life will be extraordinary.”
– Jasmine Colon, DREAM Legend and DREAM Charter School parent
When Syncere was little, Jasmine spent hours every week taking him to different appointments – speech therapists, occupational therapists, and more. Syncere has a range of learning needs, which means he needs different kinds of support. DREAM Charter School changed everything for Jasmine and Syncere, because they could get all the services they needed in one place – teachers, paraprofessionals, deans, and counselors.
Five years ago, Jasmine gave a speech where she spelled out her dreams for Syncere: “My son will have internships and go to SAT Prep classes. He will visit college campuses all over the country. He will be able to navigate financial aid and won’t get derailed when the application process is overwhelming, like I did. My son will go to college. And he will go to the RIGHT college for him. And my son Syncere will GRADUATE from college. There will be no barrier to his success. He will have access to every opportunity. The world is wide open to him and his life will be extraordinary.”
As a DREAM Charter School parent, Jasmine found that DREAM was still in for all kids, as it was when she was a young girl looking for a safe space to follow her dreams. Jasmine found a safe haven on the ballfield with her team, just as her own son, a generation later, found not just a school, but a home.
This Giving Tuesday, you can be part of Jasmine and Syncere’s story—and so many like them—by donating to DREAM. Click the button below to learn how.