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DREAM’s purpose is to help youth affected by violence to visualize their dreams in a concrete and achievable way. The methodology enables at-risk youth to develop life plans that will make them more resilient and less likely to get involved with violent and criminal activities.

This approach directly supports Creative’s goal of creating safer communities and increasing community and individual capacity to address violence. Not only do participating youth benefit from this approach, but their families, teachers, classmates and the wider community also benefits indirectly from the DREAM curriculum. The more youth reached with this DREAM, the greater the its impact.

Originally developed in Creative’s Outreach Centers in Central America—safe spaces for youth to learn, play and develop in high-crime neighborhoods—DREAM has grown to become the centers’ foundational approach for youth. Its philosophy – that life is about more than today – is the mantra of the Outreach Centers.

The DREAM approach includes a workbook for each youth, which carefully guides them through self-reflections on their past experiences. With the help of a mentor, the workbook walks youth through a life planning process, while providing them with a structure to consider strengths, opportunities, and weaknesses across different dimensions of their lives. DREAM then takes youth out of their present situation and encourages them to pursue dreams of a different kind of life. This intervention is very useful in building youth’s social and emotional capacity, especially when the youth lives in a violent environment.