Dreams for Kids, Inc.

Rating: 4.89 stars   47 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Children & Youth, Human Services

Location: 820 W Jackson Bouelvard Ste 805 Chicago IL 60607 USA

Mission: Dreams for Kids replaces charity with with opportunity for at-risk youth who learn career and life skills as they build social enterprises that impact their local community and the world.
Results: The Chicago International Charter Schools accepted the Dream Leaders program into its general curriculum, teaching all 8th graders social entrepreneurship as they build social enterprises to impact the world.
Target demographics: At-risk youth in U.S. between the ages of 12 and 17.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 6,000
Geographic areas served: U.S, with local concentration in Illinois and Washington DC.
Programs: Dream Leaders program provides training in youth leadership,social entrepreneurship and service learning in class, after school and in We Are the Change® conferences. Extreme Recess provides adaptive sports activities for kids with disabilities, Holiday for Hope is a global event for homeless children, held each December.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

In 1989, I was first introduced to Dreams For Kids at the first Christmas party at Clara's house. That will be a day I will NEVER forget. To see the joy this organization was able to bring to this homeless shelter was magical. I have seen the Dream Leaders program and it was amazing to see so many teens empowered..(I also felt empowered as I attended a parent session)...With the Extreme Recess program, I have attended tennis, baseball, water skiing and downhill snow skiing. WOW! While at these events, I have seen some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen! I have seen children experience things that would often be near impossible without this program. The Holiday for Hope party has grown so much since the first gathering. It is now taking place all over the world. The number of people who are positively touched by DREAMS FOR KIDS is staggering. I know that these children feel so rewarded by this program..As a volunteer, I too feel rewarded. Thank you Dreams for Kids!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

We love this organization! All are welcome, encouraged to participate in the programs like Extreme Water Sports and the Holiday Party. My sons and I have volunteered for both and the choir from our church has welcomed Holiday Party-ers for a number of years with Christmas Carols. We leave feeling we've been given the gift! And every year some one says "Now it's Christmas"! As for the EWS, there is nothing like the look on the child's face as the adaptive-ski is pulled through the water…sheer joy! Dreams for Kids redefines "differently abled" every day! Continue the good work!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

Dreams for Kids is great at talking about programs....but, in reality they do very few events. Tom Tuohy has a huge ego, doesn't appear to even really like kids.....other then when he can get a photo opportunity or when he has a microphone. The Christimas Party is nice, but DFK always overstates the number of kids at the event. Wake up, the Chicago Park District, Adaptive Adventures, Rehab Instititure of Chicago, Shriners, Great Lakes Adapted Sports Association, and the Midwest Sport and Social Club all have more programs in one month then Dreams does in an entire year!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unlikely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 

We are very sorry you had an uneven and unsatisfying experience with Dreams for Kids. Although this was our busiest year for Extreme Recess we generally do concentrate on just a few summer and winter events for these activities. Indeed the organizations you mentioned are simply great. We highly recommend them all. We love our long relationship with Shriners and the Park District and encourage our kids to enroll into the many regular programs of GLASA, who provides services we do not and ones they are exceptional at running. RIC was the pioneer in adaptive sports in Illinois and we have always been grateful to RIC for introducing us to adaptive sports 13 years ago though its then sports director, Tom Richey. Adaptive Adventures has brought such deep experience to Illinois from Colorado where they have long been recognized as one of the very best adaptive sports program. Our regular program work is in Illinois schools with our Dream Leaders program, working with young people like Cortez who shared his experiences in this forum. We are so proud of the work they are doing in our communities, and of the enterprises they are creating to help others. We are happy you enjoyed Holiday for Hope. This year will be our largest yet to be held at the Chicago Park Districts Broadway Armory on December 22. It is where it all begins for us each year, as it has for the last 24 years. We would love to have you back at the event.

Rating: 5 stars  

Dreams for Kids is an amazing non-profit that transforms lives on a daily basis. In the 3 years, I have worked with the organization each year I have learned more about myself than I could have imagined. I first came upon Dreams for Kids through a forum post by our former director Abby Krtizler. She was excited to tell me about the dream leaders conference during which I would learn about leadership development and helping people. Well that Friday arrived and I can assure you the dream leaders conference went far beyond anything I was expecting to experience. The endless smiles, laughter and excitement was something to see. This was vastly different than where I am from where teens and smiles and laughter often do not mix. The difference that I noticed between the two groups of people is that with the dream leaders they where empowered to make a difference.

Everywhere I turned there were teens doing something to make a difference in someone’s life. You can take for example Kelly Mak, who started a Dreams for Kids club at Whitney Young or the endless numbers of kids Glenbrook South High School who started an Extreme Recess event at their school. I was so empowered to make a difference that I decided to teach a workshop on leadership development and public speaking to youth from Iraq. The paying it forward motto that keeps kids empowered to make a difference no matter where we are from. It is the knowing that we each have something to give to give to somewhere. As Tom Tuohy says, the motto is simple “it’s kids helping kids.” This motto has kept me involved far beyond my expected time and has even leaded me to starting a Dreams for Kids club here at DePaul University. Dreams for Kids goes far beyond its mission and empowers youth of all walks of life, it is an organization that I am honored to be a part of.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Dreams for Kids was first introduced to me when I was applying for internships in Washington DC. After going through multiple websites of organizations and multiple interviews I wasn't blown away by any of them. Then I came across DFK and I knew I HAD to get this internship. Long story short I got the internship with them and was on my 6 hour drive down to Washington DC from Syracuse NY not knowing my entire life was about to do a 180. Working for Dreams for Kids changed my life. I made incredible friends and met amazing individuals. The work they do with Extreme Recess and Holiday for Hope is truly unbelievable. I will ALWAYS be there to support DFK in any little way that I can!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Internet can do wonders because that's exactly how I found out about Dreams for Kids. I was impressed and moved by the mission behind this particular organization that I had to be a part of it. This past summer, I was fortunate to intern with Dreams for Kids in Chicago. I can easily say that the events I attended along with the work I did in the office was one of the best times I've spent in a summer. Everything Dreams for Kids does is more than words can express. It's not just a non-profit organization, but a great, big family. And I am so happy and grateful to have been a part of it.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Inspired to "be the change I want to see"

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I was first Interduced to Dreams for Kids in 2008 while at the Illinios Center for Rehabilition and Education By Ron Rispoli I will never forget the feeling I had when he asked If I'd ever water skied before? My whole face lit up as I said " No but I'm willing to try! Then the monent came as the other kids and I were getting off the bus. Out loud I said to myself "Oh my god, today I don't have to be on the side!" Boy was that an understatement, That day turned my whole life into something new! Within a few weeks Ron came up to me in the hallway at ICRE. He asked "Are you inerested in a program called Dream Leaders?" Of Course, I said "Yes " Then he interduced me to Abby Kritzler the head of Dream Leaders. Abby had us do all kinds of things form whatching videos to saving bake sales to showing us just how much of impact we had on the world! That was when I realized just what I wanted the world to know. " Just because I'm differnent it doesn't mean I you have to be scraced" If this wasn't enough, One night she pulled me aside and to my surpirise offered me an internship and just like that I was part of of the Dream Team! I kept asking myself," How did this happen?" I then I rememered back to the day Ron asked, "Carrie have you ever been to Twin Lakes before?'' To this day if it was not for that one question someone asked I would not know who Tom Tuohy is or know just how much one day can change someone's life forever. Without Dreams for Kids I don't know who I wanted to be but, now almost five years later I might not know where I'm headed but I have pretty idea of who I am. Thanks to all who helped along the way!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been with and seen the growth of Dreams For Kids since my years in High School. They have done some tremendous work for the community of Chicago and now that they have branched out to Washington D.C. and even to Canada excites me. I believe in the work they do. Dreams For Kids is more than just a non-for-profit. They are a positive family that really sees to it that the people around them have a great time and are learning as well. The past summer I interned for them and I had a terrific experience from the events that we attended to the hilarious moments in the office. It's a great place to be and a great place to start when you want to give back to your community.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

Dreams for Kids is so refreshing! This organization reinforces the good in the world, spreading the seeds of success and hope for a child or young adult to grow into a leader.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Dreams for Kids' focus on empowerment is amazing, the ability to teach youth to promote change and overcome hardships and disability is an astounding and important goal. Dreams for Kids truly empowers the youth that it touches.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazing! the people who volunteer and staff Dreams for Kids are some of the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the world

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

Was this review helpful?