A Little Help From Our Friends: A Year of Support

by | Dec 15, 2021 | 0 comments

Last summer, Ivan, an 8-year-old from Portland, Oregon, brought DREAM’s All Kids Can. This Kid Can. maxim to life.

When a friend of Ivan’s family began raising money for charities during the pandemic by ice dyeing products and selling them, she offered to teach Ivan and his brother how to ice dye too. The boys had already been learning how to sew face masks with their mom, and inspiration immediately struck: The family could dye fabric and make them into masks, which they’d sell to friends and family in honor of causes they believed in.

First, Ivan and his brother each needed to choose a cause to support. Their mom gave them a list of organizations that her employer, Nike, had recently matched donations for—specifically, organizations that help fight for equity and social justice.

Ivan, who was eight at the time, saw DREAM’s name on the list and wanted to learn more. When he read about DREAM’s mission to level the playing field for all kids, he knew he’d found his cause.

Ivan put together a short video that his mom posted on Facebook, sharing why he chose DREAM, what we do, and that any purchases of his homemade face masks would go 100% to DREAM. “We were in awe at the outpouring of support and struggled to keep up with the demand,” said Sophia, Ivan’s mom. In fact, there were so many orders that Ivan’s grandmother even jumped in to help sew!

In all, Ivan and his family raised approximately $4,500 for DREAM at a critical juncture during the pandemic, as we worked to keep our community whole. “We’re grateful that people like you give us something to fight for and support,” said Ivan’s mom.

Ivan, like every single child we serve each day in the classroom and on the field, is an inspiration. He stepped up for DREAM because he knew that all kids – from Portland to East Harlem and everywhere in between – deserve a fair shot. And he knew that DREAM and our community will never stop fighting for them.

Fortunately, Ivan is one of several who chose to support DREAM in unique ways this past year—leveraging their specific talents, resources, and network to get creative with the ways they give back.

Peer to Peer
DREAM Ambassador Nazar Massouh, CEO and co-founder of Orion Energy Partners, has supported DREAM since 2013—and from the day their doors opened, Orion has been part of the DREAM family, too. But in the spring of 2020, as our East Harlem and South Bronx communities bore an outsized brunt of the pandemic, Nazar and the Orion team stepped up like never before. By fundraising for DREAM families through virtual workouts, team building activities, and direct outreach, they raised over $56K in total. Nazar also personally donated over $16K worth of PPE for DREAM staff, students, and families, a critical contribution as we worked toward a safe in-person reopening.

Equipment Drives
Carlos spent many years as a baseball coach, and his son currently plays for a DI school. So when he learned that, due to COVID safety precautions, DREAM needed to secure 1,000 individual baseball helmets so that each student could have their own, he knew exactly how he could help. By rallying support from his network, Carlos was critical in bridging the gap and ensuring that our students could have a safe and fun in-person summer experience out on the Field of Dreams.

Individual Giving
“DREAM is Family” is so much more than just one of our maxims—it’s something every member of this community puts into practice daily, however we can. Just take the DREAM staff member who donated her household’s entire stimulus check to our emergency family support fund during the height of the pandemic—which, thanks to her and so many others, distributed $250,000 in direct assistance to DREAM families in need.

In DREAM’s 30th Anniversary year, it’s been truly remarkable to see what’s possible #WhenWeDREAMTogether—it takes a village, with each individual stepping up in their own way, to make dreams reality for the 2,000+ children we serve. If you’re interested in finding ways to support DREAM, visit our website to find out more.

<a href="https://blog.wearedream.org/author/liz_white/" target="_self">DREAM</a>


DREAM started in 1991 as Harlem RBI, a volunteer-run Little League for 75 kids in East Harlem. Three decades later, the organization serves 2,500 youth across East Harlem and the South Bronx through a growing network of inclusive, extended-day, extended-year charter schools and community sports-based youth development programs. By developing an education model that is responsive to the unique academic and social needs of every child, DREAM is creating a future where all children are equipped to fulfill their vision of success.

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