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Dreambuilders is a 16-week program that culminates in a graduation ceremony in the presence of family and friends. Each graduate writes a reflection, which is framed and displayed at the celebration and presented below. 

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My biggest success from the Dreambuilders program is getting the money to purchase my car. The car is important for my health, and it allows me to continue to do my advocacy work and community engagement. I do work between Northern Virginia and Central Virginia, and the surrounding counties. I want to reach more people through my community engagement, and my car will help me do this.

I worked on myself in this program.  Getting myself healthy and whole was a goal.  I continued with my training in trauma and my Peer Recovery Specialist skills.  I learned about myself, and the children I serve, that I once was one of those children.  As I was learning in my trainings about the children, it took me back into realizing my spirituality about myself.  I learned how to handle the unresolved issues I had.  I learned more about dealing with trauma and being trauma informed.  I learned about mental health and how to better take care of myself through rest, less stress, creating boundaries and conflict resolutions strategies.

I continue to press on to deal with my responsibilities.  Living in survival mode and worrying about safety, while I act as a gatekeeper for my community. Through prayer, praise and worship, and reading my Bible I am able to help stay balanced in parts of my life.   

My vision for my future is that my family is self-sufficient, as well as myself.   I’m looking to purchase some land so me and my family will never be homeless again.  I want to leave a legacy for my grandson, my godchildren and godgrands. I will continue to fight for the unjust, to make it right and to be able to justify what is wrong in our black and brown community. I will continue to create my organization for mothers and their children, so that they can learn to advocate for themselves.

My success has been in becoming more relaxed and happier. Watching my grandkids interact with each other during PACT Time and seeing the boys become more communicative and Alaja become our Team leader are reasons for this. It was very educational being in the program. I developed reading strategies by focusing on breaking down the sounds within words.  I worked on my health plan, and learned teaching and parenting strategies.

I saw a lot of benefits being in PACT Time with my grandkids They had more interactions, and did more things together instead of on their own. Rashard and Adeen developed new communication skills, and Alaja grew as a leader. I gained understanding of how to be a more effective parent to all of them.

Most important for me was learning about the finance topics, especially about the difference between needs and wants. I learned how to be a more understanding grandparent and learned to see how each grandchild is different and has different needs. It’s easy to fall out of character, so I remind myself about seeing them as they are, not as I may want them to be. I learned it was important to see who they are while also giving them rules. Communicating and advocating for my health is another thing I got from the program.

I used and developed my organizational skills to stay on top of taking care of the family while being in Dreambuilders. The program supported me by offering child care while I took classes.  The program encouraged my communication skills, which helped me in my interactions with my children’s teachers, and helped be create a health plan with my doctors.

My vision for my future is owning a home and seeing my grandchildren graduate from high school. I want my grandchildren to see how a house starts with a brick and finally becomes a house.  I see myself getting back more involved in the world and my community, both big and small.

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My success story started with joining the program and being in the Dreambuilders group. I learned to use community resources to reach my goals and took classes like reading and the finance classes. I was consistent and determined and it helped me build up my cleaning business.

I learned to use my communication skills, and community resources to reach my goals. I applied to programs to become a better reader and to help me get ready for my driver’s test. I was willing to change.

It’s been real tough to be in the program and work. I had to organize my schedule, be on time, talk and share in meetings and classes, even when I was tired. I had to stay focused to manage my schedule.  Rest was very important. It’s got to be because rest gives you time to think and focus.  

I hope my future is good. I want to move on and develop myself in a new way. My future is a new stepping stone to go forward and find what my next goal is. I see a new home, a whole new change in life, is what I see.


Granddaughter  of a Dreambuilder

During PACT Time I remember everyone learning something new, and learning more things that they are good at. During the time where we made word bracelets, we said things to each other that we don’t normally say at home. This program has made us grow as our own and together as a family.


When we are at home, we are normally in different rooms and don’t hang out with each other. PACT Time made a difference in our household and it allowed us to think about others, so we started making movie nights, and sleepovers in each other’s rooms. Thank you, PACT Time, for helping my family grow as one.

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Dawn Lawson 
Family Empowerment Coach

Each Dreambuilder faced challenges while participating in this program. Despite any barriers they have shown perseverance while displaying a positive attitude. 

The road was bumpy for some, while others had doors slammed in their face. Instead of quitting, they refocused, regrouped, and reset. They have embodied what this program is about by taking risks to achieve goals and owning their success and mistakes.


I have seen growth in each, whether it is gaining more confidence, self-discovery or completing a personal goal. 

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