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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 trains and mentors youth as social entrepreneurs, providing practical education, real world training and contemporary job skills as they create enterprises that provide solutions to society’s critical social issues.

Results: We have launched a national program of social entrepreneurship learning for youth, hosted on our education partner's Global Learning Models, delivered by teachers in school and by trained mentors after school. The 11 week curriculum includes The Clearing, which helps youth clear conflicts and trauma of their past and present, as well as 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 into our new Center for Social Entrepreneurship, to feature the resources of leading entrepreneurs and academics.

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: Preparing Youth to Create the Future Today, a program that provides students with an 11 week social entrepreneurship curriculum that was created by nationally recognized entrepreneurs and academic leaders and is delivered through peer to peer mentoring and reinforced by professional mentors in the community and in 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

71 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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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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...

Comments ( 1 )

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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!

Comments ( 1 )

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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!

Previous Stories
2

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!

2

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

Comments ( 1 )

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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!