The YMCA Dreamer Laboratory is an afterschool program that is working to close the achievement gap between students who grow up living in poverty and students from higher income households. The program is run by the John R. Grubb Community YMCA and based out of Findley Elementary on the north side of Des Moines. The Laboratory fits in perfectly at Findley as the school is also currently partnering with the I Have a Dream Foundation, an organization which starts college funds for students at schools with a large number of youth living in poverty.
By partnering with these two organizations, we are striving to get the students excited and hopeful about their futures by providing academic support, building relationships and introducing tools for success. We are excited to see our enrollment increasing and our enrichment activities becoming even more impactful.
Within the last four months, we have begun partnering with The Jane Foundation, FoodCorps, and Girl Scouts to provide quality lessons in music, nutrition and leadership. The YMCA Dreamer Laboratory also focuses on academics by providing daily homework support and by accessing Lexia Reading Core5, a computer-based literacy service that tracks the students’ reading levels throughout the year. Through the computer program, we’ve seen the percentage of students reading at grade level has increased by 27% among Dreamer Laboratory participants since the beginning of the year! Congrats to our students and all of the supporters helping this program thrive.