“Results of an organization-wide evaluation from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in 2015–2016 help to demonstrate our impact.”

Skill Building

On the Skill Building front, our students continue to show impressive improvement. Promoting literacy for DreamKids is a high priority, and we do so through Achieve3000, our online academic partner that provides individualized, grade-appropriate instruction tailored to each student's reading level.

In the 2015–2016 school year, 357 DreamKids engaged in Achieve3000 across our Centers, with an average demonstrated gain of 184.4 Lexile points (this is the equivalent to nearly 2 years of reading growth in one school year). Further, the expected gains were only 87.8 points, meaning our students exceeded this expectation by 96.7 points.

Character Building

Our Character Building exercises have fostered great results as well, as evidenced by the work of our DreamKids in Indianapolis. In January, after learning about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Indy DreamKids decided to raise money to support Flint children.

They sponsored and operated a “Penny Wars” fundraiser that by February raised over $400. The DreamKids insisted that no recipient be denied funds based on citizenship status as they distributed the money to two charitable Flint beneficiaries.

Dream Building

Our Dream Academy students are very hopeful about their future - 98% reported that it was important for them to both graduate from high school and attend college. 93% could imagine the person they want to be in the future and 87% indicated that they have concrete plans for their future. The AIR report concludes that the aspirations of students was positively impacted by the number of days they attended the Dream Academy. Those students who attended more frequently reported more positive aspirations for their future.

  • Risky Behavior

    Most middle school students in our program avoided risky behaviors that would hinder their academic performance and social emotional development. 87% had no in-school suspensions, while 71% avoided skipping school or being sent to the principal's office.
  • Parental Engagement

    We also supported the parents of our DreamKids this past school year. Dr. Don Sheffield designed and conducted parent workshops specifically for the Dream Academy on “Creating a Culture of Excellence.”  97% of DreamParents who attended were “ very satisfied” with the workshop offerings, and 98% believed the workshops helped “strengthen my relationship with my child.”
  • Future Orientation

    Our emerging workplace development project piloted at the Orlando Learning Center increases college and career readiness for our high school DreamTeen participants. In partnership with Skillsmart, we have developed a customized platform for DreamTeens to match them with internships and employment according to their interest. We are assisting DreamTeens in identifying and building marketable skills linked to college majors and career choices.


On Quality of Relationships with Adults

of students felt that Dream Academy staff had high expectations of them.


of students surveyed felt that our program provided a safe environment that introduced them to new experiences.


of students felt that mentors helped them learn from their mistakes.


noted that the activities made them think about their future.


felt they could “be yourself” at the Center. Feelings of safety and comfort sets the stage for building strong and trusting relationships with the adults – staff and volunteers – in our program.