History of The Dream On Foundation
The Dream On Foundation was established in 2008 with initial donations earmarked to benefit a first grade classroom at Hannah Gibbons-Nottingham Elementary School in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The Foundation plans to offer the children who participate in the program and graduate from high school on time (2020) scholarships for college or post secondary education that leads to employment.
The Foundation engaged Director Mim Conway, M.S.S.A. to carry out its mission by organizing educational opportunities and support to the Dream On Kids as they advance through school and by assuring the growth of the foundation by means of donations, grants and fund raising events.
Educational activities and support started immediately with in-school tutoring throughout the 2008-2009 school year. In the summer of 2009, twelve Dream On Kids attended the Rainey Institute, an arts and education day camp. The children enjoyed learning as they increased their confidence through the Institute’s offerings of drama, crafts, music, capoeira (a martial art), dance, reading, writing and math.
During the 2009-2010 school year, in addition to in-school tutoring, the Foundation added an after school program. Under the direction of the Rainey Institute’s Darnell Weaver, the Dream On Kids wrote, directed and performed a play about bringing their imagined dreams into reality. They presented their play, which incorporated acting, song and dance, for their families and for students at their school.
During the 2010 summer camp, nineteen Dream On Kids explored their Collinwood neighborhood. In the morning, for four weeks, they attended the Summer Arts Camp at Arts Collinwood, where they practiced the art of acting through fun games, music through rhythm and beat, art through designing and creating costumes and sets, and drama through the production of a play. The mornings of the fifth week were filled with fun, hands-on scientific experiences at the Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus at the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aero Space Academy (SEMAA). In the afternoon, throughout their five weeks of summer camp, the children explored the Collinwood neighborhood on foot. Their destinations included the Neff Road Swimming Pool, Euclid Beach and Wildwood State Park, where naturalist Carol Ward offered fishing, hiking, and education about bugs, plants, and other natural things. At Memorial Nottingham Library they participated in a summer reading program and explored diverse cultures and teamwork with storyteller Susan Weber and dancer Colleen Clark. Russell White led workshops that taught behaviors necessary for academic success: how to control anger, work out conflicts, listen, pay attention and handle bullies.
Every December, the Dream On Families gather for a Holiday Celebration. Each of the Dream On Kids receives an electronic educational game, each sibling receives a book and each family gets a board game. The families share food, conversation, music and crafts as they continue to form the “village it takes to raise a child”.
Beginning this fall, parents will learn how they can assist their children in academic success by attending a new Parent Coffee House on Saturday mornings. Foundation Director Mim Conway has begun the process of writing grant requests and the board is exploring fundraising events. All 25 Dream On Kids are on track to graduate from high school in 2020 and receive Foundation scholarships for college or other post secondary educational opportunities that will lead to employment. Though that seems so far away, time goes fast when you are having fun and learning.