Dreams for Kids DC
RYR charity spotlight
Join us for our monthly #RYRcharityspotlight as we shine a spotlight on the charity that has caught our eye this month
This month we have been amazed by the work of the US based charity Dreams for Kids DC who provide life-changing activities that empower children with physical and developmental disabilities, to unite with their peers and realise their potential
Glenda Fu Smith from Dreams for Kids DC tells us about how she became involved and what the work of the charity means to her and the children and families it helps
As a child, I never felt like I fit in. I I always desired beautiful American eyes, fair hair, and not to feel like the first thing people saw of me was that I was Asian...or different. But as I've gotten older I really value how I was raised and celebrate my heritage—even though I hated playing the piano, going to Chinese school, eating ethnic foods for most of my life. But all of these things I now value so much in my life, and make me interesting to other people.
Working with our Dreams For Kids DC participants I see many differences, and just like me those differences are what make each of these participants and their families special and memorable!
Dreams For Kids DC (DFKDC) provides life-changing activities to young people affected by physical and developmental disabilities—helping them realise their true potential. All too often children and young people with disabilities are isolated and don't have adequate opportunities to partake in physical activities that other children are able to experience daily. Dreams for Kids DC wants to change that!
Through our four innovative FREE programs, we give our participants the opportunities to:
Come off the sidelines and unite with their peers through fun activities like waterskiing, ice hockey, science, art, and cooking—all are now digitally offered—we encourage you to join us at dreamsforkidsdc.org
“Pay-compassion-forward” through a variety of philanthropic activities at the Holiday Celebration including: wrapping presents for underprivileged children; decorating desserts for homeless shelters; making holiday cards for Veterans, and more.
Build communication, leadership, and vocational skills in an effort to have meaningful relationships, new confidence, and real skills that allow them to pursue independence and gainful employment.
Be on the forefront of change and equality empowerment
Through our programs, we aim to empower our participants’ differences. Each of their attributes makes them unique—from how they look on the outside to the special power they have on the inside.
It may take a while for some to accept the fact that being different isn't a bad thing. Instead learning that it should be cultivated and praised. We wish to instill this in all of our DFKDC children, so that they'll realise from early on how special their "differences" are...something I regret realising too late.
What people don't understand is... that they fear what they don't understand. We need to always look past the physical, colour, gender, all of that—and lead with love and compassion, instead of fear and anxiety. When you don't understand something in school, you learn about it, you practice it, and finally you're able to grasp that knowledge. Why can't we do the same with simple human interaction?
Embracing differences is one of the catalysts that led to Dreams For Kids DC organizing its first ever Equality Summit. The 2020 DFKDC Equality Summit (which occurred on August 29th and 30th) focused on the intersection of families of colour and youth with disabilities; bringing together thoughtful leaders, speakers, and our own DFKDC participants to share their experiences, learn from each other, and most importantly discuss how we can support change. We had three panels with 11 amazing speakers and performers, and our very own DFKDC participants moderating—the topics included Advocating for Disabled Families of Colour; Teaching Your Children About Racism; Diversity in Everyday Virtual Life.
There were real epiphanies and emotional moments.
I cannot thank our panelists enough for sharing their passion for equal rights and educating our community. I encourage RARE Youth Revolution readers to reach out to us to learn more.
Our DFKDC participant moderators Elias, Michael, and Faith were a huge part of this digital conversation—sharing how their difference propelled them to achieve their goals whilst advocating for themselves. I have seen all three of them grow up through my ten years with DFKDC, and I am so proud of their individual and collective incredible accomplishments.
Myself and Dreams For Kids DC will always be here to motivate and uplift you. Don’t ever forget that you are important.
Celebrate your differences, realise your potential, and use them to drive you toward your goals
Written by Glenda Fu Smith, Dreams for Kids DC
To find out more about the work of DRKDC please visit their website
or follow them on Instagram @dreamsforkidsdc