Our Vision

City of Dreams goes beyond conventional youth development programs to give kids a real chance at becoming the best they can be. We know that kids from challenged neighborhoods need an extra leg up to get their lives on track, and we provide the right mix of innovation, support, and research-backed methods to make that happen.

Young people from San Francisco’s public housing communities start out with the odds stacked against them.

  1. Only 1 in 4 graduates high school.
  2. Many become pregnant. Teen births are twice San Francisco’s average.
  3. The leading cause of premature death is homicide.
  4. Exposure to gangs, drugs and violence is the norm.

Steep challenges like these call for big, bold answers, and City of Dreams provides them. We wrap time-tested approaches of experiential learning and mentorship into our unique, two-year curriculum of “12 Life Lessons”. We reinforce kids’ learning with journaling and discussion groups, and we make sure they retain newly gained skills and knowledge by repeating the 12 lessons. We make it fun and challenging, so kids stick with us.

Our goal is to expand kids’ perspectives and build their developmental assets. As a result, youth in City of Dreams make healthy choices and stay away from risky behaviors that keep them from achieving their full potential.

In City of Dreams, young people learn and discover by doing, and along the way they acquire a toolkit for solving problems, identifying dreams, setting goals, and resolving conflicts nonviolently. They leave our program as confident, positive young people who can think for themselves and contribute to their own lives and to their communities with practical skills and inspiration.