Peer pressures that kids face are challenging to handle alone.
Sadly, some children may cave to the negative influences around them. But with proper resources, as well as love and support, children in the Omaha area are rising above these obstacles with help from D.R.E.A.M. — a local program titled Developing Relationships through Education Athletics and Mentoring.
Former Husker and National Football League Green Bay Packer Steve Warren (photographed above) is the founder and president of the local nonprofit which offers educational assistance, such as mentoring, scholarships and after-school programs to the young people of Omaha, as well as a branch in Springfield, Mo.
After Warren, 34, retired from professional football, he was unsure of the career path he would take. There were different job opportunities he could have pursued but nothing was as fulfilling as impacting people’s lives in a positive and powerful way. Warren always enjoyed working with children and helping others, so giving back to the community was a perfect fit for him.
“This chose me, I didn’t chose it,” Warren said.
D.R.E.A.M. reaches out to kids with unstable home environments, kids struggling with peer pressure or kids needing extra support in the classroom. The program serves many kids on a daily and weekly basis at elementary and middle schools primarily in the North Omaha area.
Daniel Boyd, the Program Director of D.R.E.A.M., said the most rewarding thing about the job is watching kids grow, as well as making an actual impact their lives instead of being another number in a large organization.
Once children become involved in the program, the most noticeable difference is their respect for others as well as themselves. “We teach our kids that “respect” has 10 million different definitions,” Boyd said. “We want our students to know that there is no respect without self-respect. Respect yourself and your interests and your talents before you get others to respect you.”
The seventh annual Big D.R.E.A.M.S weekend is scheduled for April 4-6. This year, D.R.E.A.M. is hoping to raise $100,000 in the three-day event leading up to the Husker spring game.
Learn how you can help support D.R.E.A.M. by attending the following events Big D.R.E.A.M.s Weekend activities.
THURSDAY, APRIL 4: Meet & Greet and Fashion Show
Meet and Greet starts at 6. Former Husker players Prince Amukamara and Niles Paul will be in attendance.
Fashion show begins at 7:30. This year’s theme is “bedtime stories” to help promote children’s literacy.
It’s best to get reservations for the event. $20 per person, $25 day of event.
FRIDAY, APRIL 5: Celebrity Bowling Challenge at Sempeck’s
$50 for adults, $30 for children 10 and under — All proceeds go to D.R.E.A.M.
More than 40 celebrity guests will be in attendance, including former Husker players, Mike and Mary from the Morning Blend and various team mascots.
There will be go karts, laser tag, and a video arcade for families to enjoy as well.
SATURDAY, APRIL 6: Tailgate before the Nebraska spring game
11 a.m. at the Nebraska Bookstore. Children’s activities and Huskers players will sign autographs.
For more information, visit bigdreamsweekend.org
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