Basketballs dribbling, drums drumming, and kids dancing. Passing by the Dream Center in a pre-COVID world, there’s no doubt you would feel a buzz of energy radiating from the community space. While the building has been a little more quiet since COVID-19 hit, the impact of this rooted community organization has never wavered.
For nearly 10 years, the Dream City has been a place where “Dreams Come Alive.” The organization was founded in 2012 by Frederick Newell. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Newell joined the Iowa Department of Human Services, working closely with mothers and other target populations. Quickly after starting the job, Newell realized that there was a lack of services catered to fathers and young parents. Seeing an opportunity for improvement, and having gone through similar experiences as a young father himself, Newell sought to start something new, the Dream Center (now known as the Dream City).
Located on the South Side of Iowa City, Dream City is a hub for community, connection, and dreaming big. Before the time of COVID-19, the Dream City could be regularly found buzzing with programming activities focused on inspiring change through advocacy, art, wellness, and community connections. While the City has had to bring their programming online, the organization’s impact hasn’t stopped. They continue to offer a variety of programs for both youth and adults:
Youth Leadership Academy
The Dream City Youth Leadership Academy consists of providing leadership and service opportunities. This Academy also provides tutoring for Connection Academy students (mandatory), and mentorship programming.
Performing Arts Academy
The Dream City Performing Arts Academy consists of different forms of dance, spoken word, acting, video & photography.The Performing Arts Academy can be seen performing at churches, schools, parades and special events.
Health and Wellness Academy
The Dream City Health & Wellness Academy’s number one goal is to promote physical wellness. This Academy hosts nutritional, sports, and health- based cooking programming to the local community.
Family Connection Academy
The Family Connections Academy provides resources for families in the Iowa City community. This academy serves as a resource for the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of families they serve.
Young Fathers Network
In early 2020, Dream City partnered with United Action for Youth to launch a Young Fathers Network. The weekly meeting is an opportunity for young men to discuss many topics including fatherhood, careers, sports, life, and more.
After 8 years of dreaming big, the Dream City continues to grow — helping young men and women develop leadership skills, build character, and give back to the community. If you’d like to support the Dream City in furthering their mission, you can make a tax-deductible donation here.