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Dream Academy News | An Evening of Inspiration
Friday May 22, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC (May 21, 2009) – The U.S. Dream Academy tonight held its 8th annual Power of a Dream Gala, which raised over $600,000 for its nationally-recognized nonprofit afterschool and mentoring program.
Among the stars headlining the gala were Academy Award-winning actor Lou Gossett, Jr., Academy Award-nominated actress (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Taraji P. Henson, Essence Magazine Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and National CARES Mentoring Movement founder Susan L. Taylor, MTV Award-winning comedian-actor Chris Tucker, and Grammy Award-winning vocalist-producer BeBe Winans.
Gala co-chairs U.S. Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Mark L. Pryor (D-AR), along with Congresswomen Maxine Waters (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Diane Watson (D-CA), and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen and his wife Janet Langhart Cohen were among the 500 attendees who joined U.S. Dream Academy CEO Wintley Phipps to honor three individuals who have shown by example the positive results of following your dreams and serving as role models for at-risk youth.
Actor Lou Gossett, Jr. was the recipient of the 2009 Legacy Award, actress and Washington, DC native Taraji P. Henson was presented with the 2009 President’s Award, and LDS Business College dean of academic outreach Keith Poelman was honored as 2009 Mentor of the Year for his volunteer service at the Dream Academy Learning Center in Salt Lake City, UT.
Chris Tucker and WJLA-TV (ABC, Washington) news anchor Cynné Simpson emceed the program that featured moving musical performances by Wintley Phipps, BeBe Winans, and the DreamKids Choir, comprised of children from Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and Philadelphia, PA who are benefiting from the Dream Academy's afterschool and mentoring program.
Susan L. Taylor provided the powerful keynote speech, focusing on the reasons she started the National CARES Mentoring Movement, which is a massive campaign to recruit one million able and stable Black adult mentors to work with at-risk Black youth across the United States. Taylor called for urgent action by every individual and government at all levels to save children who are most at risk of a life of incarceration and poverty.
"We know that when children dream big, they can change the world,” said Dream Academy Executive Director C. Diane Wallace Booker. “Turning dreams into reality starts by raising children’s self esteem and providing them with mentors whose love and positive reinforcement encourages them to find their own voice and path in life."
This year's Power of a Dream Gala was supported by national sponsors USA Funds, Amway Global, and the Good Things Happen Foundation, and by many other organizations and individuals (see the list below).
The U.S. Dream Academy’s 8th Annual “Power of a Dream Gala” was produced and designed by Kyle Hutchinson and the Hutchinson Design Group.
Sponsors for the 2009 Power of a Dream Gala
NATIONAL CORPORATE PARTNERS
Good Things Happen Foundation
Roger and Donna Bozarth
DRAM MAKER CORPORATE PARTNER
DREAM CIRCLE CORPORATE PARTNERS
Dr. Steven and Mrs. Sheila Hodgkin
DREAM BUILDER CORPORATE PARTNERS
Adventist Health System
Coca-Cola Bottling Manufacturers
Systems Integration & Management, Inc.
Anna Sue Dowd
Maldonado Charitabel Foundation
South Washington/West of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative