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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Tom Tuohy 07/03/2017
Thank you for this great review, Steve!
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.
Tom Tuohy 07/22/2017
Thank you so much for this recognition!
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!!
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!
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!
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: 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.
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!
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
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.