|The Dream House|
Today is a first on SpeedontheBeat.com, as today’s interview doesn’t focus on a recording artist, but instead a social activist group based out of Baltimore. The Youth Dreamers Inc. is the dream of Baltimore teacher Kristina Berdan and nine Stadium school students brought to life. What they’ve done for their community is remarkable. And, as you know, anyone who’s doing right by the community receives applause from me. With that said, I had a chance to sit down with one of the members of the organization, Dominique Davis, for a Q&A session about the organization, its goals, and a few nuggets about currents and future projects.
Dominique Davis: The Youth Dreamers, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that’s goal is decreasing the amount of youth-involved violence in the Coldstream/Homestead/Montebello (CHM) community by giving youth-positive outlets after school. These include employment opportunities, custom programming and giving youth ownership by helping in the management and administration of the Youth Center itself–as well as the overall core management of the organization.
Davis: The YDs started about 12 years ago in 2001 at The Stadium School when nine youth were asked what kind of project they would like to work on for the year. Back in the [day], the Stadium School had project-based learning–even dedicating one day of the week to custom project classes. These projects allowed students to get out in the world and learn life skills and get involved. Youth Dreamers spawned from that.
Davis: In recent years, the change in educational climate and the push for higher test scores has made it hard for project-based organizations like the Youth Dreamers to get funding. With that said, we have tried to reinvent and redefine what Youth Dreamers can do in the community and with the house itself. Because of this–no matter where we go with funding or support–we have been writing a book for the past two years to document our successes and challenges of our organization as well as to teach people around the world the power of youth voice and how to nurture it and inspire change in the community.
|Group shot of some of the current “Youth Dreamers”
Ms. Davis (far left) is a rising junior at Frostburg
University and a graduate of Baltimore City College