Each February, the word “love” is everywhere, from greeting cards and candies to television commercials and songs. But for Kevin and Amanda Widmaier, love is an action word, and it frames their relationship as volunteers and advocates for DREAM.
“Love isn’t just a feeling,” said Kevin, a Director at the multi-family office BBR Partners and a DREAM Ambassador. “The things you are spending your time and resources on are the things that mean the most to you. How important DREAM and its mission are to us manifests itself through that time and effort.”
Kevin and Amanda have always been proponents of education—and lovers of baseball. While looking for volunteer opportunities within their New York community back in 2016, a friend suggested they connect with DREAM. Kevin became an after-school tutor and summer tee-ball coach, quickly expanding his role to join the organization’s associate board. Not long after, the Widmaiers took their commitment to the next level, establishing a scholarship for first-generation college students at their alma mater Georgia Tech and prioritizing students who have been part of the DREAM family, whether through the organization’s charter schools, afterschool and summer programs, or baseball and softball teams. The scholarship will be available for students applying to college starting this fall.
“Love isn’t just a feeling. The things you are spending your time and resources on are the things that mean the most to you.”
Kevin Widmaier, DREAM Ambassador
“For both Amanda and me, education has been an important foundation in our careers and lives,” Kevin said. “It felt like we found a great home at DREAM, and to be able to put a scholarship in place that would enable first-generation college students to have the same platform seemed like a good thing to do.”
The Widmaiers also found ways to support DREAM’s community through the pandemic. As Director of Clinical Informatics at Mount Sinai, Amanda realized early on in the COVID outbreak that moving to virtual medicine would adversely impact underserved communities with limited access to technology. Seeing parallels with how schools were handling the transition to virtual learning at the same time, she connected the Chief Medical Officer for Population Health at Mount Sinai, Rob Fields, with the staff at DREAM, kicking off a partnership that has resulted in cross-functional best practices, community health programs, and testing access.
“We were asking ourselves, ‘What can we leverage from what other industries are learning?’” Amanda said. “We wanted to learn more about what DREAM had done and how we can partner together to really take care of our communities.”
Now, with several years of serving the DREAM community under their belts, Kevin and Amanda recommend that anyone looking for volunteer opportunities just dive in—find organizations that align with your interests and values, contribute in whatever way you can, and of course, lead with love.
“The work we’ve been doing with DREAM, it is out of love,” said Amanda. “And you get so much back. It goes both ways, and the actions are so rewarding.”
Interested in volunteering with DREAM or giving back in another way? Let’s connect!