DREAAM House is a school to college pipeline program to reach, teach and invest in boys and young men placed at risk with a targeted focus on African American males. DREAAM stands for Driven to Reach Excellence and Academic Achievement for Males, and the aims are to:
- develop a grassroots initiative committed to creating and implementingstrength-based programs designed for boys and young men from pre-kindergarten to college
- support the struggle for education justice for boys and young men by providing transformative experiences to shape and increase educational outcomes, knowledge, skills, and life opportunities
- increase positive outcomes—academic achievement, self-efficacy, college readiness—and decrease negative outcomes—suspensions, drop-out rates, violence—in the lives of boys and young men
DREAAM House is located in Champaign, Illinois, which is a small urban community with many strengths, yet facing several dire issues. These issues include juvenile delinquency, poor school outcomes and gun violence. African American male adolescents are disproportionately involved in the juvenile justice and mental health systems and also suspended from school at a higher rate. Interventions have focused on male teens in the 13-18 age range. However, the DREAAM House is designed as an intervention to support the social-emotional and academic development of males at age 5 and longitudinally support and engage with boys until age 18. Thus, DREAAM House is a pipeline to produce more socially, emotionally, and academically healthy males in our community.
To accomplish this mission, the DREAAM House has designed a comprehensive, year round program to reach and teach boys. The program is intensive and provides services and supports to engage with program participants at least three times a week during the school year. The program components include: a summer jumpstart, afterschool activities, sports, one on one mentoring, and parent education. In addition, a variety of evidence-based practices and culturally responsive methods are used in the program design. A high quality evaluation will be designed to document and assess program effectiveness and outcomes.