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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Dreams for Kids, Inc.

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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 opportunity. We develop young social entrepreneurs through practical education and mentorship so they can turn their ideas into impact.

Results: We have launched Dreams Leaders, a national program of social entrepreneurship learning for youth, delivered by teachers in school and by trained mentors after school. The 10 lesson curriculum provides practical business skills such as marketing, sales, making a pitch, creating business plans, act. At the conclusion of the curriculum, students can apply their new skills to create a social enterprise, or work on an existing one, and be enrolled in our new Center for Social Entrepreneurship, to feature the resources of leading entrepreneurs and academics.

Target demographics: Youth in U.S. between the ages of 7 and 17.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 6,000

Geographic areas served: U.S, with local concentration in Illinois and Washington DC.

Programs: Dreams Leaders and its Youth Enterprise Solutions, (YES) curriculum, a program that provides students with a 10-lesson social entrepreneurship curriculum that is delivered through mentors in the community and our trademark, We Are the Change® conferences. Youth-led Social enterprises, Extreme Recess, provides adaptive sports activities for kids with disabilities and Holiday for Hope, a global event for homeless children, held each December.

Community Stories

103 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Scott160

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Dreams for Kids has never let itself be tied down by one mission. They have grown and morphed as the needs of the community presented themselves. They work tirelessly for all children in need- both the underserved and the affluent. Their most recent endeavor has given me hope for this next generation. Let's set the not-for-profit world AND the business world on their ears with a new crop of leaders that see the value in successful, sustainable business models that give back to the community. I can't wait to see the fruits of their labors at work in our city and worldwide.

Comments ( 1 )

Tom Tuohy Thank you for recognizing our goal and being part of our mission. Our new Youth Enterprise Solutions ( YES) program launches this fall and gives us all hope for the generation we have been waiting for!!

Tyler-26

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Tyler Woodworth. I was born in 1995 with Cerebral Palsy; though it isn’t a deadly disease, it has put up barriers that other children didn’t have to face on a daily basis. My parents always encouraged me and allowed me to participate in special rec programs to build up my mussels, and give me a sense of being on a team. However not all disabilities are alike; Cerebral Palsy simply affects my motor skills. My mind is unaltered by my disability, so as I became more competitive and adventures I had to shift from the Special Olympic programs to Paralympic programs. My parents found sled hockey and asked if I wanted to try it in the fall of 2005. Being the kid that loved adventure and a Chicago Blackhawks fan, I of course said yes. For the past 15 years , I have played on the Chicago Hornets. This however was not the only adaptive sport I would fall in love with. I first participated in the Dreams for Kids adaptive water skiing event in 2009. The adaptive water skiing event at Twin Lakes is unlike the other adaptive sports programs. Rather than have it feel as a segregated event, the adaptive ski equipment is out on the lake with everyday boaters and able body water skiers. This was followed by the Alpine Valley adaptive ski event in January. The adaptive snow skiing event gave me an opportunity to again, be an active participant and ski alongside my family. With my new found freedom and independence from my physical disability, I wanted to give back to others. Dreams for Kids provided me with the opportunity to do so. I became a volunteer at their annual Holiday for Hope event several years in a row. I participated in their youth leadership program and was selected to be a mentor for others. I have been working on creating an inclusive football camp Extreme Recess event to continue to give back to others. This event is designed to promote inclusion between kids with and without disabilities; which goes beyond the one day opportunity for kids with physical disabilities. As of right now, I hope that this will be able to grow beyond the Chicago area and reach across the country. Without my participation in the adaptive sports programs, I would not have the valuable character traits that have made me a successful college student and a successful athlete. The adaptive sports programs that Dreams for Kids provides, fight the isolation children with disabilities and their families often face. By providing access to adaptive sports equipment, we have the ability to provide these families with opportunities that had previously been out of reach. In addition to building my character, Dreams For kids also provided me opportunities to give back to others. I had the opportunity to experience their leadership program as a mentee and a mentor. This program has since shifted focus from community activism, towards teaching kids how to start their own nonprofit and give back to their communities in meaningful ways.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has taught me so many things that I would have not learned in any classroom. The main message was that I can succeed and help others dispite my physical disability. I now take on new challenges everyday in college. I have taken a leadership role as the treasurer of the College Club Council at Joliet Junior College, and I am starting a wheelchair rugby team at JJC to help get other students with disabilities actively engaged at school. I aspire to help others, and live as independently as possible.

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 10/08/2016

Thanks Tyler! You have been and continue to be the best of Dreams for Kids. So proud of you and the life you are creating - no limits!

1 Jon C.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Been with Dreams For Kids for many years ! Wonderful organization, providing a variety of different activities supporting Chicago area kids in needs. Has global perspective as well and reaches kids throughout the world.
Constantly trying different initiatives , and very good at bringing in young volunteers to help the organization.
The end of the year Holiday Party is legendary !
JC

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

You are part of that legend for as long as we all can remember. Thanks Jon!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Tom Tuohy and the Dreams for Kids organization is what nonprofit organizations should all be about. They are creating systemic change in the lives of kids by providing them with the experience of service and opportunity. A model for others to follow -- with success stories that truly touch the heart. Thanks for making such a difference!

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thanks so much Anna! We appreciate your support and encouragement and friendship!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've known Tom Tuohy for many years now after reading his book with the same name as his nonprofit. Tom has a wealth of wisdom and expertise as relates to working with under-served youth and families. I have benefited by his wise counsel as I work with similar populations. He is a creative genius and has created a nonprofit that is an outstanding model for other nonprofits. Dreams for Kids, Inc. has withstood the test of time and benefited countless youth and families. I continue to seek Tom's help for various projects and look forward to partnering with him to create more dreams for kids in the future.

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thank you so much Ron for the incredibly gracious and kind words and support for Dreams for Kids!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Dreams for kids for the past 22 years! This incredible organization has not only served thousands of incredible children and their families but helps to bring out the best in all of us who volunteer. The Dreams for Kids founders personally helped me develop my dream of running an adaptive water ski program by bringing a group out from California to train us properly. Twenty years later, we are able to hold adaptive water ski events throughout the summer for those with different abilities. The Dreams for Kids Organization is all about putting amazing smiles on all those they touch.

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thank you Sue - we couldn't have done it without you!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a past volunteer at DFK. The staff is amazing, the smiles on the kids faces and the young men and women they grow into tells the whole story!

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thank you so much!

1 Ron D.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became involved with Dreams for Kids in 2008 as a volunteer for their Holiday for Hope. The experience was amazing for both the participants and the volunteers. The energy in the air was beyond compare. What an opportunity to interact on the front line with families in a time of need and to provide them with a warm inviting environment, as well as, bring joy to the whole family via the activities, a meal, and meeting Santa Claus to receive a bag of goodies. Additionally, the Summer and Winter Sports Day help children see there is more to life and to not accept NO for an answer related to a physical condition. Being a part of Dreams for Kids is one of my proudest accomplishments and I will support them and share their teachings for many years to come.

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thanks for all the years Ron!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently became board member of this organization. It gives complete transparency and is ver professional. The total focus of this organization is the support and encouragement of youth!

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thank you for serving DFK!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with Dreams for Kids as a mentor for 9 years. Tom Tuohy is the Director and as a child growing up on the Southside of Chicago, it was Tom who encouraged me to give back and to help with the community that had given me so much. He also changed my perspective on the definition of an "at-risk youth" and how broad of a spectrum this term truly covered. Dreams for Kids does a lot more walking of the walk than talking of the talk and it has been an honor to be part of such a great organization. So much so that my children are now involved and giving back.

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thanks so much for your mentoring and long time commitment to the community! And for this great review!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with this organization for more 20 years. I have had and continue to have the pleasure to see them grow and flourish when it comes to reaching out to the communities in the Chicagoland area and surrounding suburbs. Dreams for kids is a great example of a non for profit that doesn’t take short cuts to service the communities.

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thanks for your board service and being one of our legacy members!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have worked with Dreams for Kids with my company The Sole Revival, with our annual charity custom shoe fashion shoe. We talked about the charities cause and the kids. We had one of Dreams for Kids top students be our shoe model, was able to tell his backstory which everyone loved. Working with Dreams for Kids and hearing kids stories is absolutely amazing. What they do for motivated kids in the city of Chicago on an entrepreneurial level is something I've never seen before. They are one of my favorite charities and such a good people and a great cause!

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Tom Tuohy 07/10/2020

Thank you, Ross Sider! Great companies like The Sole Revival make all the difference - and everyone loves our custom shoe! Thanks for all you do!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Dreams for Kids, Inc teaches children skills to have a social impact as entrepreneurs. It's an incredible organization dedicated to cultivating a future of compassionate people.

1 Tatiana B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great cause carried forward by best in class practices and caring people.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tremendous organization that cares so much about its target! Great events which engages and motivates children dealing with economic, physical, and mental difficulties.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Thrilled to be a part of Dreams For Kids. To help children believe in themselves and to know that anything is possible is truly a magical experience and one that we can all learn from.

2 Jeffery J. J.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started working with Dreams for Kids Associate Board 7 years ago. Now I’m a member of the Execetive Board. I’ve met really great people some I see only once a year and others at board meetings. It’s been a fun and enriching experience being able to give back to the youth of Chicago while meeting otger likeminded professionals.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

A great cause, clarity on the mission, passionate and inspiring leadership, and execution on achievable goals are the core tenets of what I believe makes a charity successful. Dreams for Kids exemplifies this and it has been a truly rewarding experience volunteering for this organization.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hi - I learned about Dreams for Kids through the University of Chicago Alumni Board Connect program. When I met the Founder and staff, I must say, i became more than passionate about the cause and the impact they were having on children all over the country. Even just locally, with the Holiday for Hope Event, to see 1000s of at risk and underprivileged children receive a day of activities, fun, toys, and most importantly, HOPE, was something that words can't describe. Later in the year I would become directly involved with Extreme Recess - where children with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in water sports and other activities that would seem "impossible". Lastly, the YES program may just change the world - and we are looking forward to implementing that in schools around the globe

2 Jonny I.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

D4K is ammmmmAZING cause with REAL positive impact for the kids!!! And the people who work there and volunteer and board members are friends and THEY ALL CARE!! A LOT!!! Keep up all the GOOD yall!!!! We're honored at CLOZTALK to rep your charity logo apparel at https://cloztalk.com/collections/dreams-for-kids -- all the BEST to the whole team and keep helping and inspiring the kids!!! :) Jonny

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dreams for Kids does such powerful work all year round. Volunteering for the Holiday For Hope event is what made me become so passionate about the work this organization is doing. When you replace charity with opportunity, you notice a different in the community and children you are working with and that’s exactly what DFK is doing.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Dreams for Kids positively impacts lifes of thousands of kids per year through its unique events. Holiday for Hope event allows those children to celebrate holidays who otherwise would not have an opportunity. Extreme Recess event inspires kids with disabilities buy giving them a very unique opportunity to water ski. I highly recommend DFK and its mission.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dreams For Kids was such an amazing organization to work with. They commit to providing an unforgettable experience for the children and communities they serve. And to think this isn't the only foundation the team works on? Simply put, Dreams For Kids just wants to make the lives of the people they serve better.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dreams For Kids stand by their name, and truly put the kids first by creating memorable experiences. Their summer event, Extreme Recess Water Ski was touching to be apart of. Not only was I able to help out with the event logistics, but I was able to see the pure joy given to the children and their families. DFK is an incredible organization to be apart of!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Dreams for Kids, Inc Organization is doing great work for the City of Chicago and surrounding communities. Since becoming a part of the organization it's opened my eyes even more to seeing and understanding what an impact this organization is having on thousands of lives of families. I'm so proud to say that I'm part of an organization that doesn't say that they care, they show it with community involvement, and love.

2 Clara T.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked with many non-profit organizations in my career and DREAMS FOR KIDS is the one that stands out! I first met them at a Christmas event and I was touched by how caring and deeply involved everyone was! It felt like a super large and extended family partying together and taking care of each other with love and compassion, respect and empathy! It was hard to tell who were the leaders and organizers, and who were the guests... as everyone was taking charge and also enjoying the party in the very same way, with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment. The kids were shining joy for a Christmas celebration that some of them might have not had at all, if not with Dreams for Kids. As a guest/videographer for the day I truly felt grateful and also part of the family. The same youth that Dreams for Kids offer opportunities to through their programs were the ones taking care and entertaining the younger children, and that was their way to celebrate Christmas: what a wonderful message and generous skill to learn! I kept in touch with a couple of kids whose lives were changed by Dreams for Kids: not only have they become first class human beings and successful adults but they constantly verbalize how immensely DREAMS FOR KIDS has impacted their lives forever by offering them real OPPORTUNITIES! Highly recommend DFK to donors, prospective volunteers, and kids in search of answers and a rewarding life!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What I love about Dreams for Kids is that their programming provides opportunities for kids to both serve and be served. They learn accountability and responsibility while getting better self-awareness. This type of experience pays back sevenfold as they grow into adult members of the community. The founder Tom Tuohy has more than just big dreams for this organization. He has big plans. Those plans are making an incredible impact.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dreams for Kids puts on great programs throughout the year. The impact that each event has on all of the children involved is immense. The first time I volunteered for Dreams for Kids, I was blown away by the entire event. Every child in attendance had a smile on their face, and I was so grateful I was apart of it. Getting involved with DFK was one of the best decisions I've ever made!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dreams for Kids, Inc. has been one of my favorite nonprofits for years. I learned about them by chance in 2008 and have been involved as a volunteer ever since. From its humble beginnings at Women/Children's shelter creating Christmas, to an organization that now celebrates Christmas with a 1,000 kids! Also DFK has evolved with the times by creating Extreme Recess, the Dream Leaders program, Social Entrepreneurship, and DFK organizations throughout the USA and other countries around the world. They truly have brought back the concept of HOPE to all that participate one day a year to every day of the year. I look forward to continuing to assist in the evolution of DFK as we continue to meet the needs of our communities and beyond.

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Tom Tuohy 07/22/2017

Thanks for all the years of service and contribution Ron! You have a made a big difference!

1 Sandy50

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I think of Dreams For Kids, the image that comes to mind is a pebble thrown into water and the numerous ripples that come from just one pebble. This is an organization that is committed to the “ripple effect.” The world is truly a better place, as those individuals who have had the opportunity to work with Tom Touhy and the staff at DFK will surely make an impact far and wide. Dreams For Kids is a smart organization with a big heart! Check out the impressive Dream Leaders on the website – no doubt their ripple will be powerful and lasting!

Comments ( 1 )

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Tom Tuohy 07/22/2017

Thank you Sandy! You are part of that ripple!

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the mother of a 12 year-old boy with autism. Finding recreational opportunities for my son and our a family is very challenging to say the least, and then we found Extreme Recess! Spencer had the amazing experience of snow skiing this winter, something that I would have never thought possible. Dreams For Kids/Extreme Recess not only provided a great day of skiing, it gave me renewed hope for the future - anything is possible! The sky is the limit for my guy! The Extreme Recess volunteers and staff were not only only knowledgeable, but displayed a level of compassion and patience that was heart-warming. Can't wait for the the summer ski program at Twin Lakes!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've known Tom for many years and have had the privilege of watching DFK grow and change. I have also been able to help support some of the events both financially and by recruiting volunteers.

As someone who has worked in the non-profit sector for many years, I appreciate DFK's client-centeredness and fiscal responsibility. There is a level of excellence, efficiency and common sense that is far too rare in the NFP world.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Tom and his staff truely impact the lives of his kids and their families. Trust and credibility are two things that stand out about DFK. Those in need are well served with and amazing passion from all who come in contact with DFK.

Bob G

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Life takes you in many directions. I was fortunate to have been introduced to Tom Tuohy to learn more about Dreams for Kids and it's Social Entrepreneuship program. I quickly learned how valuable this program is in helping close the widening skills gap that exists in today's economy and future economy. I am also a non profit professional who is honored and humbled to be able to spread the Dreams for Kids story and raise awareness of this initiative across the Chicagoland business community.

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Tom Tuohy 07/03/2017

Thank you for this great review, Steve!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization doing great work. I helped at the 2016 Holiday for Hope event. Inspiring.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dreams for Kids is an amazing organization. The Dream Leaders Social Entrepreneurship program provides students with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to create their own social enterprise. Is their any greater service for our youth, than providing them with the education and opportunity to share their unique talents and ideas to create positive change in the world? Dreams for Kids is doing just that, and an incredible organization!

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Tom Tuohy 07/03/2017

Thank you so much!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Passionate. Driven. Committed to access, equality, and opportunity, Dreams for Kids is one of the purest organizations in the world -- by this I mean, they exist to serve and they keep all activities focused on impact and outcomes.

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Tom Tuohy 07/22/2017

Thank you so much for this recognition!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Dreams for Kids is an organization that puts the kids first. They understand that a little bit of hope can carry a lifetime. Their signature holiday and summer events put smiles on kids faces year after year. With a bit more support, I can picture Dreams for Kids really headed to the next level.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Dreams for Kids is a growing organization that has great potential. With a little more man-power and growth, this could be the "go-to" NPO in the city. DFK is very current; always exploring innovative ways to spark new ideas and help different groups of people. Holiday for Hope and Extreme Recess are amazing ways to get involved. Seeing the magic firsthand will change your life (not to mention the lives of others)!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered my time and donated our money with pleasure to Dreams for Kids for over 20 years. That alone speaks volumes. There is no other organization that I can recommend more highly. DFK really impacts the lives of children through its many programs, whether by teaching young children how to overcome obstacles and become leaders, giving disabled children experiences that build their confidence and open up life experiences never before imagined and providing a real holiday for thousands of homeless/underpriviledged youth. You can trust DFK with your hard earned money and volunteering with DFK is extremely rewarding for many, many people. My family and I will always have DFK as part of our lives.

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Tom Tuohy 10/08/2016

Thank you for you and your family Dan, for be being a special part of the Dreams for Kids family for decades. You are the spirit of Dreams for Kids!

1 Gloria40

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Incredible organizations that changes the lives of those in need. I have had an incredible positive experience working with the folks at Dreams For Kids. I look forward every year to their Holiday For Hope ..my teen age son and I so enjoy volunteering at this special day where kids have a chance to be kids! It isn't Christmas until we volunteer at this event. Through out the year they organize special events for at risk kids and kids with disabilities. Everything they do is from the heart...

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Tom Tuohy 10/08/2016

Thank you Gloria. It wouldn't be Christmas for us either without seeing you and Nicholas every year!

3 Catherine O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with this exceptional organization never disappoints!
From Holiday for Hope to Extreme Recess, Dreams for Kids provides opportunities for all sorts of differently-abled people. Celebrating differences, offering children the chance to try crazy things like water sports or snow skiing while encouraging all of us to look beyond our narrow worldview.
My favorite story is wheelchair bound children in Chicago learning their counterparts in other parts of the world don't even have wheelchairs. They have to drag themselves around or never leave their houses.
What did our kids do?
Organized a bake sale to get wheelchairs sent to them.
Dreams for Kids enabled children who are normally being helped to be the helpers ! A beautiful, beautiful gift!

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Tom Tuohy 10/08/2016

Thank you Catherine, and for your beautiful voice being the first thing the kids hear every year with the Old St Patrick's Day Choir! And yes, that is the best story!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Dream For Kids is one of the most amazing charities that I have ever come across, and had the pleasure to work with! Tom Tuohy is an admirable, caring, and amazing founder of an organization that has affected so many people across the board. Dream For Kids helps both directly and indirectly the communities of Chicago where help is needed so much in today's landscape especially! After serving for over 8 years on DuPage County's Positive Parenting Board of Directors, I worked with and was exposed to over hundreds of Chicago's best non-profits affecting children, parents, and professionals exposed to our youth on a daily basis. Based on my experience, I would rate Dream For Kids at the VERY top for not only their mission, drive, and dedication to improving the lives of Chicago youth, but also for their laser-focused execution in making dreams really become reality! We can all HOPE and WISH for better, but Tom, Shelly, and their team really MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE for all those people they intersect with - they make a better future possible for the youth of Chicago!

Sincerely,
Sarah Quinn

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Tom Tuohy 10/08/2016

Thank you Sarah for your kind words and recognizing Dreams for Kids and for your many contributions in the community!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing. The people who run the events are great, and the opportunities get to know the families that come to the events is so personal. There are so many things to do at the events that it appeals to everyone and is such a fun experience for everyone attends. The thing this organization does for people is amazing.

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Tom Tuohy 10/08/2016

Thank you so much for your inspiring words. Makes us want to work even harder!

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!!

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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!

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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!

Denise150

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have helped out and attended many events for Dreams for Kids! I can't begin to tell you how fabulous the entire team is! For one Shelly Gonsch has a heart bigger than Texas and goes above and beyond for the kids and makes sure that every event is organized and fun to be at. It makes my heart feel good to be honored to have been a part of Dreams for Kids and I am looking to start helping out with this awesome group of people very soon

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Tom Tuohy 10/08/2016

Thank you Denise! Love having you be a a special part of Dreams for Kids and seeing your smiling face. And yes, you are right about Shelly!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm an IBEW Local 134 electrician, I volunteered at our union hall for their christmas gift wrapping. It was a great time. I had so much that I invited family members and their friends, they also enjoyed themselves and looked forward to the event each year. I hope they will make arrangements to return to our hall in 2016 so that we can experience that joy of giving.

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Tom Tuohy 12/16/2015

Thank you so much for your review and for volunteering at our event. We love our long history with IBEW and our long time at Local #134 Hall. We wish it was bigger! It is a great space, but as the event grew and the kids lined up, we had to move to the Broadway Armory to fit 2,000 people! We hope you can join us there this Saturday or some year in the future. Thanks again to you, your family and your friends!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a great experience! I have volunteered for several Dreams for Kids events, including Extreme Recess and Holiday for Hope. It is so wonderful to see the smiles on every one's faces, kids and adults alike! Dreams for Kids really does great things for the community. I will be participating for years to come.

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Tom Tuohy 12/16/2015

Thank you for your volunteer service and long term commitment~! It means the world!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Dreams for Kids Holiday for Hope event . It's a great event because it brings everything about the holiday season to children who normally wouldn't be able to experience it. Everyone who works there is so passionate about their cause that its truly contagious. It's one organization that I will continue to volunteer for every year.

Former staff

Rating: 5

I have had both the pleasure volunteering with Dreams for Kids and being a part of the DFK team!!! I consider DFK my family and it is where I learned to give back to my community by helping at-risk, underprivileged youth in the Chicagoland area! I continue to be a part of the DFK team and utilize the skills I learned from this organization on a daily basis!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Dreams for Kids for many years. It's a great organization because everyone is extremely passionate about helping kids. I volunteer for both yearly events; The Holiday for Hope and Extreme Recess. Both of these events directly impact the lives of kids in need. Each year is better than the last!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am not a rich person (financially) and I don’t have a lot of time on my hands. However, after being a volunteer for a Dreams for Kids (DFK) event called Holiday for Hope several years ago, I had decided to get more involved. I learned that not only does DFK provided children in the Chicago area with a holiday celebration they would not otherwise have due to poverty/low income or financially less fortunate, I had also learned they opened up another realm of charity to children with disabilities with events called Extreme Recess! This is where children with disabilities could water ski, snow ski, and a ton of other fun, outdoor activities that they would not have access to if it wasn’t for DFK’s! Since the first packing party event I attended, which prepares toy bags for the Holiday for Hope party, I have felt a strong connection and I have personally held yearly toy drives at my office, donated funds, volunteered at Texas Holdem fundraisers, volunteered at a Twin Lakes summer water sports and other fundraising events. There is nothing like this charity in all of Chicago as DREAMS FOR KIDS hold all kinds of events all year long, and there’s nothing like the smile on a child’s face that is result of Dreams For Kids.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of working with Dreams For Kids Extreme Recess for the past 4 years. DFK, Tom, Shelly and the rest of the staff are amazing. They provide so many people opportunities that kids would never dream of. It is so much fun to be a part of such a great day out on the lake making kids' dreams come true.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with the Dreams For Kids, Inc. Extreme Water Ski event on July 30th, 2015. It was a great experience. It was very nice to see families enjoying the BBQ style event. There were many activities available to the families including adaptive water skiing, kayaking, fishing, and much more. The young lady I was working with especially enjoyed fishing! Everybody had a smile on their face the whole day, what a great experience!
Thanks Dreams for Kids for putting together an unforgettable event!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at this year's Extreme Recess and it was a phenomenal experience. The event had many activities such as face painting, adaptive water-skiing, canoe rides, water slides, etc. The volunteers were all very accommodating and the happiness on the faces of the families/children was truly inspiring. This is an extraordinary organization and I look forward to volunteering for many events in the near future.

1 Tom_82

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dreams for Kids is a unique charity that is truly dedicated to helping special needs children and their families. I participated most recently in their "Extreme Recess" event. I was pleasantly surprised at what great lengths the charity (and all the volunteers that participated) went through to make the day special for the children and their families. I would highly recommend all levels of participation and support for DFK, from volunteering to donating, you simply know you're supporting a great organization.

2 Cindy167

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Alexis has been invited to many extreme recess events. This is a great organization because they know exactly what kids need to be whole. They want to have fun.be like other kids.Leave their disability behind. They are going to remember they snow skiied,water skiied,fished,played baseball.A time when they soard and were free! All their lives! What a gift.what an organization Thanks for making my girl a standout in the game of life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

You can’t make this stuff up!

DFK’s Extreme Recess at Twin Lakes, WI is a day of water sports, fishing, bouncy house, water slide, plenty of sunscreen and a great BBQ lunch.

Most of the children have never had the opportunity to participate in these activities. Going from a wheelchair to a water ski and speeding along at 40 mph – at first it’s fear but the kid in all comes out in seconds using the thumbs-up signal to go faster.

As a volunteer, every year I take home a fond story or two. This year it was Thais. Exiting the bus I asked this young lady of perhaps 12 what she wanted to do first – water ski? Tubing? Canoeing? Thais looked me in the eye and said "I want to fish - I have never fished before.” Are you sure you want to bait a hook with a slimy worm I asked? “Yes” is all she said with a smile while looking past me to see where the fishing pier was located.

Within minutes Thais had caught her first fish - a 4” bluegill. She ended up with about 9 catches, one being a 10” wide mouth. And that’s no fish story!

Joanne Y.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CROYA has had the honor of working with Dreams For Kids Extreme Recess for the past 4 years. DFK, Tom, Shelly and the rest of the staff are amazing. They provide so many people opportunities that kids would never dream of. It is so much fun to be a part of such a great day out on the lake making kids' dreams come true. The look on their faces when they get up on the water ski, tube, kayak, boat or fish is priceless!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

A big thank you to Tom and your whole organization for a wonderful water ski day...our son, has been attending for many years and looks forward to the day. The word LOVE was shown all day, by the delightful, helpful Hosts, the food crew, the boat drivers and helpers in the water, the fishing volunteers, who made him feel so good, with every catch!! It was a relaxing day for the parents too, as our children were well taken care of by their Hosts. Thank you for giving these young people the opportunity to be like everyone else, if only for a day. He took home many stories and of course, a tattoo to show his friends!! Looking forward to next year...thank you

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family just attended the Dreams for Kids Extreme Recess adaptive waterskiing event in Twin Lakes, WI and it was a blast!! Our son is not able to experience standing up to waterski so a few years ago, we were invited to attend a waterskiing event where our son waterskied FOR THE FIRST TIME! This was his third year to ski and he loved it so much he didn't want to leave until he got "one more chance" to ski!! All the selfless Dreams for Kids team and volunteers are so giving and want everyone to have a great time. It is so impressive how dedicated they are to bringing joy to those with disabilities and they don't stop there. They also are so helpful to the families and provide fun for every member. We really appreciate the generosity and hearts of all involved!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved for about 4 years with Dreams for Kids. It's a great organization in terms of volunteering because everyone is extremely passionate about helping kids. You will also be sure to have a great time volunteering because you can feel the joy and happiness you are bringing to kids, whether it be for kids with disabilities or at risk youth. It just makes the time fly-by every event that I volunteer for because you are constantly engaged in activities. The organization is also operated by stand-up quality people including founder Tom Tuohy, Shelly Gonsch and crew. I've met some great people who have become friends through the years.

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On July 31st, I attended my first Extreme Recess event. I was blown away on many levels. The day was very organized. There was a wealth of things for the kids to do and volunteers to help them. It was clear the kids and their families were overjoyed with the opportunity to experience activities they have never or rarely participate in. I was proud to be a part of it.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was my family's second year at Extreme Recess and once again they did an amazing job! My entire family enjoyed the day but most of all my 8 year old with special needs. This organization does an exceptional job going beyond expectations in accommodating families with special needs children all you had to do was look at the faces of all the children participating and see the joy and what great work they were doing. This year my son decided to try the water skiing . The staff and volunteers were so patient and encouraging even though it took 30 min for him to work up the courage. After his ride he told everyone it was the best day off his life. Thank you so much for making that moment possible .