The young people at the West Philadelphia Dimplez4Dayz resource center are called dreamers, and the founder of the organization, Akayla Brown, has her own big dreams at just 19 years old.
“My passion always was helping people and changing the lives of others and making sure that other people are secured and that’s always been it,” said Brown. “I literally just want to help people.”
She started the non-profit when she was 13 and it’s grown from there. Last year Brown opened up a resource center for the dreamers she helps and its become a place to grow, set and reach goals and hang out with friends
“I feel like a lot of times youth in their communities don’t have the opportunities, don’t have the resources don’t have people believing in them for things that they want to do. Now they can literally come to a place where their dreams will come true,” said Brown.
The center is open every week day after school and basically all day during the summer. The dreamers here meet to do activities, their homework, learn from special guests and much more.
“We’re a family here, we’re genuinely a family,” she said.
Dimplez4Dayz is dripping with amazing young people.
Brown is a rising sophomore and also a Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar at Howard University–yes the Howard in Washington D-C! She travels back and forth to be at the center.
And then there’s Ramier Jones, he’s 18 years old and one of the mentors.
“One of the younger guys he’s like my little brother at this point to where he got my phone number he could call me, he could text me anything he needs and I’m there,” said Jones.
He says this is a place where kids can be themselves, a place these young people deserve.
“The shy person in the corner, they’re talking now they’re laughing, everybody’s connecting now, everybody knows everybody’s name and its like our environment is contagious—it’s good vibes, good energy,” said Jones.
And he’s encouraging folks to give back to the organization including its big back to school drive coming up.
“When it comes time when we have food drives, book bag drives, fun events come donate, come volunteer and try to support us—a lot of people talk about pouring into others, but its hard to pour into others when they’re not pouring into you,” said Jones.
The back to school event is happening Sunday, August 14th from 2-6pm at the Dimplez4Dayz Resource Center at 3509 Haverford Avenue in West Philadelphia.
The organization has teamed up with others in the community to give away 1,000 backpacks.