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About the Dream | Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the U.S. Dream Academy focus on children of the incarcerated?
The U.S. Dream Academy was founded by Grammy nominated gospel singer Wintley Phipps through his work with Prison Fellowship Ministries. His work with incarcerated parents identified a struggling and overlooked population; children of incarcerated parents. The vision for the Dream Academy emerged out of a desire to break the cycle of incarceration many families experience, particularly when living in high risk communities.
How many children does U.S. Dream Academy serve?
The U.S. Dream Academy served over 1,000 students in grades 3-8 during the 2008/2009 school year and the number will likely increase in 2010. The U.S. Dream Academy operates 8 centers in cities across the country. More information on the centers including location, staff, and contact information can be found on our Dream Cities page.
How do I become a mentor at the US Dream Academy in my City?
If you are near one of our Dream Academy Learning Centers, we would invite you to consider becoming a mentor. We require a one-year commitment for one hour per week. Click here to access the application form. If you cannot commit to an entire year, we are always in need of volunteers in our centers as well.
If you are not in one of our Dream Cities, join our Facebook Group to share with your friends and family important work and opportunities to get involved.
How can I help bring a Dream Academy Center to my community?
We plan to expand to new cities beginning in 2012. In the meantime you and local leaders, schools, and other organizations can build the foundation for a U.S. Dream Academy Learning Center in your community. U.S. Dream Academy Learning Centers are most successful when the following elements are in place:
- A strong partnership with a local elementary or middle school located in a high risk community (i.e. a neighborhoods experiencing higher than average crime, poverty and underperforming public schools).
- Three or more rooms available in the above mentioned elementary or middle school which includes enough space for 20 children, computers with tables and chairs, and secure space for staff to store confidential files.
- The support of local businesses and community members who could help establish the opening of a center, raise funds, and provide dedicated volunteers and mentors.
If you are interested in more information, please fill out the Open Dream Center form.
How does the U.S. Dream Academy get its funding?
The Dream Academy receives its funding from a number of sources, both public and private. The Dream Academy has applied for and received several federal government grants targeted for our unique population. In addition, the organization has received over the past four years significant gifts including 2 million dollars from Atlantic Philanthropies, and more than 5 million dollars from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation. Though U.S. Dream Academy has had a successful fundraising history, the greatest impact has been made by the generous gifts of men and women all across the United States and the world. You are invited to view a more detailed summary of our fundraising mix in our 2012 Annual Report If you are interested in joining the Dream Team today, you can donate to the U.S. Dream Academy on our Donate Now page.
Where can I find out more about the organization?
More information about the organization including the founding date, budget, and major resources can be found on the Fast Facts page of the website. In addition, you can access news articles and video about the Dream Academy in our Newsroom.
What makes Dream Academy different from other programs?
The overall goal of the Dream Academy program is the development of the whole child. Unlike after-school programs that focus solely on academics or recreation, the Dream Academy program addresses all areas of our children’s lives through our three pillars, Character Building, Skill Building, and Dream Building. In addition, each of our students is individually matched with a mentor, an individual from the community who commits to sharing, developing, and growing with the student for an entire year.
Where can I find some resources to help with the challenges of incarceration?
Part of our goal of preventing the cycle of incarceration in children is education. Whether you are dealing with the challenges of incarceration yourself or know someone who is raising a child with an incarcerated parent, our Research and Resources section can provide facts and resources that offer knowledge and hope.
Where can I get more information about the founder Wintley Phipps?
Information about Wintley can be found on the More About Wintley page. From this page you can read Wintley’s story, see his Cd's available for a donation of $20 or $40, and find out about concert appearances and speaking engagements.