CHICAGO (CBS) — Its name matches its mission: The Dream Center. But the Bronzville community center is in danger of closing.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports 100 kids could lose a safe haven, where founders Beyonca Johnson and Holly Medley have a motto: “Everything is possible.”
That motto is being being tested now.
“You’re running a program, you’re feeding little hungry boys and the community and keep spending out and nothing’s coming in — then eventually the money runs out. The money runs out,” Johnson says.
Johnson and Medley say they’ve spent their life savings building and maintaining this community center on 43rd Street, from renovation, to food, to Apple computers.
“We have saved alot[sic] of youth throughout Chicago by creating a haven that we all call The Dream Center. We currently have no funding, and our funds have all been depleted,” Johnson said on the Go Fund Me page she established on Aug. 30 for donations.
Johnson and Medley had hoped to get grants from foundations or at least funding from government agencies. But they’re running out of time.
“We have been taken to court today and have received 15 days before the eviction process is started. Were [sic] raising money to keep our doors open so that we can continue to save life and help our youth achieve their dreams. The secret to help this generation is love, concern, resources and a haven,” the donation page says.
Today, they owe thousands of dollars in back rent.
The Dream Center, which was fully renovated in 201, is home to the HollywooDreamers Foundation. It’s focus, according to the page, is “on the most underprivileged youth residing in Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods, surviving on limited resources and constantly seeking out a purpose for their life.”
The center provides multiple programs to kids, including classes on entrepreneurship, career prep, ACT and SAT test prep and tutoring, among other programs.
“We figured by opening The Dream Center, that people in the community would say ‘man, somebody really cares. Let’s support this. Let’s help grow and advance our community together.’ But that support never came. No. no,” Holly said.
For young people like Khaliah Jackson and Asmina Turner. “It’s just a warm environment – when you feel at home,” Jackson said.
But now The Dream Center may not be open much longer.
“The kids are going to be devastated. They love this place.”
The Dream Center said the landlord has been understanding and will not force them out of the building immediately, but they woon’t be able to stay in the long run, unless they come up with a lot of money.
The Dream Center has established a Go Fund Me page for those who want to donate to keep its doors open. As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, just over 300 people had donated roughly $12,000 of the foundation’s $50,000 goal.