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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Civil Rights, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Youth Community Service Clubs

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 ChangeĀ® conferences. Extreme Recess provides adaptive sports activities for kids with disabilities, Holiday for Hope is a global event for homeless children, held each December.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dreams For Kids directly makes an impact in the lives of kids in need. They replace charity with opportunity in the sense that they enable children to achieve goals by providing them with the tools to do so. Several years back I started volunteering with Dreams For Kids. I have a sister with autism, and after I had done a couple of events with them, they invited her out to be a guest. We've had some amazing experiences, and done things neither of us thought possible! This is one of the most hard working, down to earth, friendly and fun groups I've ever been a part of who make a direct impact in children's lives. I feel so grateful that me and my family are a part of it and we hope to continue our involvement with them for years to come. Highly recommended on all levels.

spoli13

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Dreams For Kids is one of the most amazing organizations I know and am honored to be a volunteer! DFK and its founder, Tom Tuohy, have been helping the students at my school for the past 16 years, with all sorts of adapted sports, adapted water skiing and scuba diving. DFK helps build self-worth and self esteem with those individuals who need it the most! This is truly one of Chicago's finest!!

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 10/08/2016

Thank you Ron. You and ICRE inspire us all every day, and for so many years. You all represent the beauty of what is possible in life!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I can't say enough good things about Tom Tuohy, the staff or volunteers at Dreams For Kids. The work, programs, and special events that they offer to so many people is immeasurable. I met Tom and DFK more than a decade ago when I got my students at ICRE involved in a weekend sports program through DFK and RIC. Since then, not only has Dreams For Kids been instrumental with assisting my students on 6 life-changing adapted scuba diving trips with Diveheart, they have also gotten some of my students to become mentors in the Dream Leaders Program. Besides all the good things that have been afforded to my students, Dreams For Kids has brought so much joy and hope to countless other kids locally, nationally and internationally, including having fundraisers to send wheelchairs to needy children in Africa. I wish nothing but the best for Tom Tuohy and Dreams For Kids as they continue to change lives...one kid at a time!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I met Tom in March, 2010 and was very impressed with his leadership, his work and passion for Dreams For Kids. In April, 2011, I invited Tom as a thought leader for the Chicago Chapter of the COO Forum following Tom's visit to the White House to meet with the President to honor the Blackhawks for their Stanley Cup! The topic of Tom's presentation was "Strategic Social Entrepreneurship--Values and Opportunities". The feedback from COO Forum members was so positive that I invited Tom again in May of this year to be our thought leader on "Social Enterprise:Ā  The End of Charity". Two of Tom's Dream Leaders, Cortez Alexander and Richard Babatunde were included at the meeting and invited to speak and tell their stories at our annual social event that followed the meeting. Comments from the members who attended included:
"Thank you for bringing these inspirations into my life...this is a reminder of what commitment can achieve and how much more we can each do to influence outcomes"; "You gave us a great deal to think about in terms of our own personal contribution to society and the critical need to be positive role models for children"; "Thanks for the experience this evening, what fine young men even though it left me with a feeling of inadequacy in terms of what I may leave as a legacy on this planet. Can only strive to do more, inspired by their example"; "Thank you for the inspiring talk and for meeting two great men. When I got back to my office, both my partner and I talked about the evening and we feel strongly that we would like to help out in some way. Please let me know how both of us can become involved in the program either as a volunteer or raising donations"; and last but certainly not least: "Thank you for a great inspirational presentation. I felt more compelled than ever to make a difference the next few days. The world is a better place due to your efforts." The bottom line for me personally is that I feel fortunate to have such an inspirational colleague and friend in my life.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Chicago District of the United States Tennis Association is honored to work with Dreams For Kids. With a shared passion to create opportunities and support children of all backgrounds, the CDTA is proud to work closely with Dreams for Kids. This past August, we partnered to run a Tennis Festival for over 100 children. These children had never played the sport before. With excited kids, even more energetic volunteers, these children had an incredible afternoon on the campus of University of Chicago. All walked away with a racquet and possibly a new passion! Dreams For Kids makes it possible for children to go beyond the walls of their community to meet new kids, learn unique skills, and create a pathway for their future that might have seem impossible. Dreams For Kids truly makes dreams into realities for thousands of kids. Keep going Dreams For Kids and thank you for including us in the fun!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Dreams for Kids team is awesome. The vision and passion they bring to their mission helps change lives. Their ability to inspire young people to grow, face challenges and help others is "Off The Charts". Diveheart is proud to be a strategic partners with Dreams for Kids in building confidence, independence and self esteem in young people around the world Jim Elliott President & Founder www.Diveheart.org

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an advisor to several families of wealth, I research and visit with promising organizations that meet my donors' needs. Dreams for Kids is one of these organizations. Founder and head cheerleader Tom Touhy invited me to attend the first after-school session of a new program in a Wicker Park school. The energy the volunteers brought to the introductory session created the space for these students to immediately buy into to the concept of learning key entrepreneurial skills while using what they earned to help other chldren. Their eyes were dancing with excitement and they started discussing ideas. They walked into the classroom as students but they left as more confident individuals, enthused and excited for the next session. It was obvious they felt listened to, understood. No idea they put forth was rejected. The success of Dreans for Kids has grown through the years and best practices are now in place. I endorse Dreams for Kids as one of the most innovative and effective programs fir youth that I have encountered.