November 25, 2015 14:48 ET
DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Nov 25, 2015) - The "I Have A Dream"® Foundation (IHDF) is the focus of a new CBS Cares ad campaign that is expected to reach an estimated 100 million people over the holiday season. The public service announcements (PSAs), which feature popular CBS celebrities including LL Cool J, Mayim Bialik, Luis Guzman, Jeff Probst, Shemar Moore, Tom Selleck, Chi McBride and Tea Leoni, will air nationally and locally in Denver, Miami and Los Angeles.
Through its national office, 16 affiliates and 36 programs across the country, including operations in Denver and Boulder County, the IHDF concentrates on supporting entire classes of students in under-resourced public schools in a long-term program from early elementary school all the way through college or vocational school. Every student in the program receives guaranteed tuition assistance for higher education as well as continued support on their journey.
Together, the local "I Have a Dream" chapters have impacted more than 1,500 students in the Denver Metro Area by providing after-school programming, mentoring, tutoring, pre-collegiate programming, scholarships and so much more over the ten years it works with each student and their families.
More than a dozen research studies and evaluations of local "I Have A Dream"® programs have been conducted since 1991. Findings include: Dreamers demonstrated improvements in grades and school attendance; were better able to resist peer pressure; and showed higher aspirations and more positive attitudes about school, life and the future. Dreamers often graduate high school and enter college at more than double the rates of other students in the local population and significantly surpass the overall statewide average for students in their peer groups. Ninety percent of Dreamers complete high school, representing $2.9 billion in earnings; sixty-seven percent who complete high school enroll in college; and Dreamers are nearly twice as likely to earn a bachelor's degree than their low-income peers.
The CBS Cares ad campaign comes at a crucial point for the foundation's future. The "I Have A Dream"® Foundation, which celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2016, is gearing up to launch an ambitious growth plan to significantly increase the program's reach and capacity. Over the next five years, the foundation intends to triple the total number of active Dreamers in the program from 3,200 to 10,000 and significantly enlarge their footprint by doubling their network from 16 to 32 local "I Have A Dream"® affiliates around the country.
Since it was established in 1988, the Colorado "I Have A Dream"® Foundation (CIHAD) has impacted the lives of more than 800 Denver Metro youth from kindergarten through high school by providing access to resources that go beyond the classroom. CIHAD empowers these youth, who are affectionately called Dreamers, to meet these expectations through an array of tools designed to address five key focus areas: academic enrichment, cultural enrichment and civic engagement, life skills development (soft skills development) and social-emotional supports, post-secondary educational pursuits, and career readiness.
"Educational success doesn't happen overnight; it results from ongoing support that begins early in life," said CIHAD President & CEO Rachael Gazdick. "Our expectation is that all our Dreamers will be prepared for college, obtain a degree, and will have a viable path for entry into the workforce."
"I Have A Dream"® Foundation of Boulder County has supported 15 classes and served 780 students since 1990. "We are committed to motivating and empowering low-income youth to achieve their educational and career goals," said Lori Canova, the organization's president and chief executive officer. "By providing long-term, year-round intervention that includes tutoring, mentoring, cultural enrichment and the promise of tuition assistance for higher education, our Dreamers can become gainfully-employed, productive citizens in our community and break the cycle of poverty."
In Denver, CIHAD recently expanded to include a research-based, whole-school model at STRIVE Prep Ruby Hill Elementary, a newly created elementary school in Southwest Denver. The whole-school model allows six times the number of Dreamers to be served. The shift to a school-based model allows several substantial benefits, including an opportunity for expanded partnerships on the local, state and national level; community-based transformation; family engagement; civic engagement; and the ability to work collaboratively with teachers to increase academic achievement.