Updated: Oct 31, 2019
A local organization will soon be able to provide transportation for kids in its summer programming.
The Dream Center hosted its first fundraiser of 2017 on April 15 to collect money for a 15-passenger van to help kids participate in its summer events. “The van will fix transportation barriers that prevent kids from participating in the programs,” said Dream Center Executive Director Fred Newell.
The center, a local family advocacy group, 611 Southgate Ave., provides a summer program that runs from June 21 through Aug. 16 designed for younger kids to take writing, acting, and cooking classes to help them decide what they would like to do in their futures, said Kyra Randle, a junior at City High.
All of the summer programs are free, Newell said. The only program that costs money is the tae kwon do class in order to pay for promotions.
“It builds unity, especially among black people, because it shows a side that’s not stereotypically presented,” Randle said. “It leads kids down the right path for their future through peace and unity.”
Although anyone is welcome to participate, minority achievement is a priority for the Dream Center, she said.
Joe Lauritson, Shelby Helm, and Becca Burr, University of Iowa seniors in the School of Social Work, helped to set up the event.
At the fundraiser, there was an egg hunt, weight-lifting competitions, several obstacle courses, and plates of food for $5. A silent auction was also set up, and several businesses donated to the center. An Air Force tent was also set up to encourage students to join the military.
Lauritson said there are tutors and mentors who volunteer at the center. Additionally, the center is hoping for an annual increase in funds through the fundraiser, which they hope to host each year.
“The Dream Center is fairly new, so it needs support to keep it running,” Lauritson said. “It’s important to build its community.”
There are also fatherhood programs that help build bonds between fathers and sons or support children that do not have a father figure in their lives, Burr said.
According to the Dream Center’s website, one of its future goals is to continue “developing community partnerships in order to create a more unified, collective approach to understanding and addressing challenges facing families in our community.”
The center is open from Monday to Thursday and is a fun hangout spot for kids, Randle said. There is also church every Sunday.
“The goal is to strengthen lives and help create leaders,” Newell said.