- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Nonprofit Dubuque Dream Center is aiming to make a difference in the lives of students through a combination of academics and sports.

The Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/1Sf2UKP ) reports that the nonprofit serves more than 90 area children, mostly from low-income families. Each day, Executive Director Robert Kimble and a team of volunteers, greet, feed and help the students with homework, and coach them in basketball, baseball, boxing, dance and choir. Volunteers, which include some Dubuque teachers, also take the students on outings, meet them at school and visit them at home.

The center, which launched in September 2013, works to teach students character development and provide academic intervention. Participants are referred to the center by school officials, and there is a waiting list of 100 students.

The nonprofit is supported in part by a Dubuque Community Schools Leadership Enrichment After-School 21st Century grant.

Seventh-grader Deonte Howard says the coaches and volunteer at the center have put him on a different path.

“If not for the Dream Center, I’d probably still be out running around, angry, frustrated, getting into trouble at school and not getting anywhere,” Howard said.

Chris Nugent, principal of Fulton Elementary School, says she sees there is a greater collaboration between the school and parents due to the relationships they have developed with teachers who tutor at the center.

“You get to know each other and build that relationship before we have to talk about school issues. Then, they trust you and see that you care about them as a family and individuals, not just a number or a test score,” Nugent said.

The center hopes to expand over the next two years and partner with six Dubuque schools to serve 200 at-risk students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It currently has partnerships with Fulton Elementary and Jefferson Middle School, serving students in those same grades but with efforts largely focused on those in fourth through eighth grades.

The center also wants to offer activities and leadership and volunteer opportunities to high school students, as well as provide support to their families through counseling, job-training and parenting services.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com


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