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Dreambuilders is a 19-week program that culminates in a graduation ceremony in the presence of coaches, family and friends. Each graduate writes a reflection, which is on display at the celebration and presented below. 


Being a part of the Dreambuilders program has made me more confident. I’ve always had a dream of owning a business. With setting goals and taking the steps to reach those goals, we have made my dream come true. 

During our coaching meetings each week we participated in fun activities which included creating positivity cubes about each family members good qualities, working on relaxation methods to deal with stress, making candles prior to working on goals. I also liked the mask we made during my coaching meeting.  We also focused on goals and how to take small steps each week to reach goals. Each week we set goals and rewarded ourselves for completing goals.

 I also enjoyed Parent Time. I enjoyed learning about my strengths as a parent. I enjoyed all the different topics during Parent Time.  My children and I also enjoyed PACT Time. The food was delicious. It was great having the quality time together as a family. During PACT Time we read books as a family, talked about our achievements, and gave solutions to problems.

During this time in Dreambuilders I learned that I would have mountains and valleys but not all mountains are bad. I have learned to find the lesson in each mountain. Learning how to manage stress and deal has helped me overcome the mountains I have faced while being in this program.  There were personal issues that I was dealing with, but I learned to deal with it step by step. Most importantly, I learned to stop being so hard on myself, and if I was trying then I was doing good.  I learned to celebrate myself more. I got to go to the Winter Wonderland to look at the lights which I extremely enjoyed. It is important to look out for yourself.

When I first started this program, I was shy, but I felt that my coach Ms. Dawn helped me bring my confidence out. I feel that I am starting a new life and have a new positive outlook on life. It helps to have support. I am proud of my hard work and to be able to start a business.



First, I would like to thank the City of Promise for this opportunity. And I would like to also thank all the families that have been through this Dreambuilders journey with me. I appreciate all the love and support I’ve received.

It’s hard being a single mother. As mothers, we love our children and want the absolute best for them in these trying times. Covid left a lot of us jobless and a little depressed. I decided that I needed some support on a few goals. There really aren’t a lot of programs out there that are consistent, and soon as I started, we got to work.

I had numerous meetings, asking me what I needed and wanted as a mother to improve my situation. I started with three goals, and we as in the staff, we worked hard, and I absolutely completed every goal. It was hard, and on some days I wanted to give up. But I had a strong group of individuals who wouldn’t allow it. We talked, and they provided all the necessary tools to believe and keep striving for success.

The resources that I have had a chance to use have aided me in building a good relationship with all my children’s schools and built a strong foundation. We stay in touch on a regular basis to ensure consistency and good communication for improving grades and also ensuring safety with bullying and goals. In Pact Time meetings I’ve had a stronger relationship with my children. We talk about what’s going on and where we are headed.

The impact that this program has made on me, and my children has set long term goals in place and has put a new emphasis on life in general for me. I have made a lot of improvements with seeing things through and completing and accomplishing things I thought weren’t possible. Seeing other people go through the process where we are all raising children and we have the same issues while discussing them in group learning. Learning from other mothers meant everything and I am blessed to have my children experience this with me.



While being a part of this program, it has helped me discover a lot about myself. Moreso than I have before. In the beginning, I was a bit optimistic about the program helping, Not saying that there are no amazing people helping, but saying whether they could get through to me. I'm easily overwhelmed and procrastinate quite a bit, but there was someone that would help me understand why.

Dawn was a major part of me, understanding me. Her words were kind and helpful and she gave me an environment each week that made me feel comfortable and able to speak about ME. She not only gave me the confidence I needed to go out and do what I wanted to do for myself, she helped me understand THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HELPING YOURSELF!

Also, within Dreambuilders, it has been amazing spending quality time with my children.  Every Tuesday we had PACT Time -  Parent and Child Together Time - we spent time learning together about each other and learning what our children want and need. Mondays were for the parents, we learned how to deal with bullying and different ways to teach and discipline our kids. It was also a breather for parents. We got to have time for ourselves, while the kids enjoyed themselves swimming or working out or just walking around with each other, talking about their day or how school was.

 All in all, the Dreambuilders Program is an amazing experience. I suggest it to any mother, father, family or whatever your situation is. It's a learning, growing, helping experience and I believe ANYONE could benefit from it. I know I have. I’m embarking on a new chapter in my life, enrolled in Piedmont, getting my diploma, and about to train to become a PCT for Davita Dialysis. Thank you to everyone involved in the program.


I remember asking God to help me because I knew I was not in a good space for my children. I knew I wanted more out of life. I was wondering how in the world did I get stuck here. I was thinking about choices that I’ve made and the people that I let in my life. I was also wondering how some people were managing and maintaining the lifestyle they wanted. I was depressed, upset, miserable and angry. Sometimes I felt fire burning all around me, wanting so badly to just be financially ok and to be able to take care of my children. I didn’t know how.

I started to let go of people. I stopped friending people, and I found myself stuck in the house raising and taking my kids to work with me. It was hard. My kids’ father was lost just like I was. We tried to make life work for us together, but we didn’t have what we needed to make it. We were broken, traumatized, hurt, and we only did that to each other. But there was something in me that didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to go down that road that was always open to me. I knew that road would only lead to more hurt and more pain. I was scared that something or someone would have a negative effect on my children, and I Olivia was having none of that!

I got out of my comfort zone where I was being manipulated, where I was being gaslighted, where I was being cheated on, and where I was being abused. I told myself that I deserved better, and my kids deserved better. I wanted to be better and be someone that my children look up to. I packed my stuff and I left with my kids and God made sure I didn’t go back. I drove to a shelter where I found new faces and new resources that could help us. Everything was finally at peace. I wasn’t receiving my blessings because I couldn’t see clearly but when I left, my mother and God in heaven was creating a master plan for my children and I.

Within 2 months of being in a shelter I finally got my letter from housing to come to Charlottesville. They had a four-bedroom unit ready for me. I cried; it was my first place. My kids are going to be just fine. I went through a lot just to get here. It may not seem like much, being at Westhaven; but I’m grateful. Now, it was my turn to pick the lifestyle that I wanted for my children. I started to say yes to help.

Mrs. Sarah from City of Promise knocked on my door one day and I was so thankful she informed me about the wonderful opportunities that were available for my children and even for myself. I was ready for someone to come get these kids for a good hour or two. LOL. They have helped my kids in so many ways. My children aren’t shy anymore. My sons Kendrick, Spanada and Lavon are talking more and more with the added help of City of Promise and the reading programs there. My daughter Autumn’s social skills are so much better since City of Promise helped me sign her up for more programs like baton and drums. All of my children have gone to summer camp and swim camp. I am so thankful for this. I feel so much joy and that I made the right decision. I feel that I am where I supposed to be and I’m not going to let anyone take this from me. Now, my kids are well and doing great.

Now, it was mama’s turn. I joined Dreambuilders last fall and I am so glad that I did. Ms. Dawn has been helping me reach my goals left and right. Dreambuilders  has meetings filled with people who want to help us, encourage us, and support us; and we all just want what is best for our children and ourselves.  It’s wonderful being around peers who want what you want out of life. I feel empowered going to the Dreambuilders meetings. I feel like I could conquer all of my goals with everything that I have learned. I have a better understanding of myself.

I feel that Dreambuilders guided me on a path where success is meeting me. I started Dreambuilders with a low paying job and no transportation, and I am ending Dreambuilders working for the City of Charlottesville and my own car! I’m so thankful, so blessed to have the City of Promise support. They have made my goals possible for me and helped me with making my dreams come true.




Aniya Rose
6th Grader

When my mom first told me we were going to PACT Time, I didn't want to go. I wanted to play outside with my friends.

I am now glad we went because I got to have more family tijme. I also enjoyed Parent Time days because while my mom was learning, so was I...with Mr. Isaiah in the gym at the Y. 

I want my mom to know I enjoyed going to PACT Time with her and I am happy we did this as a family.


When my family started PACT Time, I was mad I had to leave the Boys and Girls Club early. But once we started, I had fun bonding over activities with my family.

Parent Time was my favorite because I got to have fun and swim at the Y with my friends while my mom learned.

I want my mom to know that I am proud of her for accomplishing her goals of making a website for her business. Seeing her reach her goals lets me know I can reach my goals too.

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