Laureus Foundation Feature

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Empowering Kids to Play Every Day with Nickelodeon

We are thrilled to officially announce our national partnership with Nickelodeon. Together, we will inspire youth to lead healthy lifestyles through the transformative power of sport and play. To kick off the partnership, we have made grants to five after-school sport programs in underserved communities to help support their mission and expand their impact. These grants are an important part of Nickelodeon’s ongoing health and wellness efforts, as it uses its global  platforms to educate kids about the importance of playing every day.

“At Nickelodeon we are excited about expanding opportunities for kids and play in collaboration with Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA and its partners that offer best-in-class athletic, academic and youth development programs.  We are proud to highlight these five programs with a Nickelodeon PLAY grant because they align with Nickelodeon’s mission to make the world a more playful place.” – Jean Margaret Smith, Senior Vice President of Nickelodeon Public Affairs and Administration Last year, we teamed up with Nickelodeon to host play days across the country that invited hundreds of youth to try a variety of sports and physical activities. Now, we have made grants in five major cities: New Orleans, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City and Chicago. As an experienced grant-maker in the sports-based youth development space, Laureus USA will administer these grants and assist with monitoring and evaluation.

“Nickelodeon truly cares about the health and wellness of its youth audiences, and we are honored to partner with them in making a positive impact on cities across the country. These grants will provide more youth the opportunity to achieve healthy lifestyles, which we know will lead to brighter futures.” – Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Olympic Gold Medalist and CEO of Laureus USA

In New Orleans, we have made a grant to support Didbia DREAM, which provides youth a safe and constructive space for youth to play after-school and develop their social and emotional skills. In Chicago, we are supporting XS Tennis, an afterschool tennis program that also focuses on academic achievement that is available for free to youth in the South Side. In Los Angeles, we have made a grant to Woodcraft Rangers to support their all-girls sports programs at local elementary schools. In New York City, we are supporting Play Rugby USA, who engages youth across all 5 NYC boroughs in after-school rugby programs that also focus on academic achievement. In Atlanta, we are supporting Atlanta Track Club and their free, incentive-based running program Kilometer Kids that promotes and healthy and active lifestyle to children aged 7-14.

Together we will continue to advocate for kids to be active on a daily basis, and works towards making the world a more playful place one community at a time.

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CTC, nonprofit team up to bring STEM Saturday to Killeen

A nonprofit serving underprivileged students in New Orleans and Miami will bring a STEM initiative to the Killeen area for the first time.

Dibia DREAM, in partnership with the Center for African-American Studies of Central Texas College, plans to engage more than 80 students Dec. 1, through STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — activities and recreation.

The event, dubbed STEM Saturday, will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Marion J. and Alice W. Douse Community Center at 1002 Jefferis Ave.

Dibia DREAM blends STEM education with academic tutoring, health and wellness, financial literacy, physical education, and mentorship to engage underserved youth in order to improve their educational opportunities, outcomes and long-term quality of life.

Participating students will design, build, and test their own race cars.

STEM Saturdays will be a youth initiative that is a citywide, geared toward families interested in community-based academic events where students and parents can attend and learn together.

There is no cost for students and their families.

“Science, technology, engineering, and, math are often the basis for new product innovation and improvement. Therefore, it is important that the next generation is exposed to these areas of study at an early age,” said Horace Grace, director of the center for African-American studies of Central Texas College.

Dr. Yvette Holmes, the oldest granddaughter of Marion and Alice Douse, is passionate about impacting the community where she and her cousins spent their summers and holidays growing up.

The Douses’ youngest granddaughter, Lea McKinnon, is an educator of students with learning differences at the Killeen Independent School District’s new Roy J. Smith Middle School and works with the STEM Academy program there.

Call 850-320-3785 for information on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.

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Dibia DREAM Creates Business out of Teaching STEM through Sports

Post Via Small Business Trends:

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. And the focus on these disciplines has been making a huge mark on the education world. There are also plenty of after-school programs focused on sports and recreation. But Dibia DREAM is a program — and a business — that aims to mix those two concepts to help underserved kids in a really unique way.

Learn more about the business and what it aims to accomplish for kids in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Helps underserved youth learn important skills through STEM, sports and recreational programs.

Brandon A. Okpalobi, CEO of Dibia DREAM told Small Business Trends, “DREAM focuses on helping underserved youth in Miami, New Orleans and Bermuda translate the skills required to win in sports into skills required to win at life. This approach created a blueprint for success that youth can understand.”

Business Niche

Mixing STEM with sports and recreation.

Okpalobi says, “We have worked extremely hard and done extensive research to ensure our students have exposure to STEM. WE feel that STEM allows our students the critical thinking skills to become great at whatever field they decide to pursue after working in STEM.”

How the Business Got Started

Because of a passion for sports and helping people.

Okpalobi says, “As a young CEO, I work to unlock youth potential through sports. I moved to Miami to attend the University of Miami and walked on to the Division 1 basketball team. I earned a full scholarship and was later elected team captain. After graduation, I combined my business education and passion for sports to start my organizations.”

Biggest Win

Partnering with the Nyah Project and taking ten kids to South Africa July 2017 for 12 days.

Okpalobi explains, “I was watching Roots at night and the next day I had a client on my for-profit sports development business and the parent said, “I’m taking my kids to Isreal but I don’t practice the religion.” I said to myself, you have to ask him why is he taking his kids if he’s not that into it. He said “it’s important that my kids know their heritage, where they come from and other details that they will learn on this trip.” At that moment I said I’m taking kids to Africa next year. Not sure how but I will do it. Leigh-Ann Buchanan started the Nyah Project and took 7 kids to Ghana that year. I reached out to her and said “hey I don’t want to plan anything but ill sponsors 3 kids so it can be ten kids and I’ll go on the trip.” The rest is history. Life changing experience.”

Biggest Risk

Starting the business in the first place.

Okpalobi says, “Started my business with a dollar and a DREAM literally. If it didn’t work then I would be miserable working for someone and hating it daily. Living in regret is the worst punishment.”

Lesson Learned

Be nice and ask for help.

Okpalobi says, “I can be difficult at times and that rubs people the wrong way. I’m also extremely confident so at times it appears that I don’t need help or anyone when I really do.”


How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Adding another location.

Okpalobi explains, “We would add another DREAM Academy in Homestead, cutler Bay, Perrine, New Orleans or Killeen, Texas to help youth in the community win at life through our program”

Favorite Quote

“Never waste the opportunity of youth” – Nathan Vandelay

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Dibia DREAM – STEM in Sports Camps Summer 2017

Dibia DREAM – STEM in Sports Camps Summer 2017

The educational Slip and Slide is what you can call the weeks between school ending for the summer and starting back in the fall.  Many do not realize how big of a difference there is between a child who is engaged during the summer and a child who is left at home to their own devises. Teachers can tell the difference.

According to a Huffington Post article teachers “spend three to four weeks re-teaching students course material at the beginning of the year”.  This can be combated with programs like Dibia’s STEM in Sports Camps.  We engage kids in education and physical activities.  This year Dibia DREAM worked with two of Miami’s summer camps to effect a change in the educational and physical lives of youth locally.

Cutler Bay Camp

“We partnered with the City of Cutler Bay for the first STEM in Sports camp. Sponsored by The Children’s Trust in partnership with Carnegie Mellon and Miami Dade College, we worked with youth during the summer month to increase awareness around STEM fields,” said Brandon Okpalobi, Dibia DREAM Founder.

The Cutler Bay Camp serviced 40 youth in this South Florida community.  “Our goal was to combat the “Summer Education Slide” and stress the importance of health and wellness through sports,” he said.

According to LaKeesha Morris-Moreau, Grants Coordinator for the Office of the Town Manager for the Town of Cutler Bay “The STEM camp is a direct result of input from the community requesting more activities for older youth that are not interested in participating in the athletic activities offered in the Town,” she said.

The camp exceeded the expectations and set goals of the organizations according to Morris-Moreau.  Here are some key factors that she pointed out from this first year of camp:

  • 40 Middle School Students from Cutler Bay Middle School and surrounding high-need areas enrolled in the program.
  • Using a combination of hands on learning and online assessments, students were able to earn badges that will lead to an Introduction to Robotics Certification from Carnegie Mellon University.
  • At the recommendation of Carnegie Mellon, we expected youth to earn no more than two (2) out of four (4) badges in the brief six (6) week program. We were surprised to find that not only did all of the students meet or exceed the goal of earning two badges, but two students earned all of the badges and passed the challenging final exam to earn the Introduction to Robotics Certification!

Morris-Moreau said, “This program re-affirmed our belief that when properly motivated and nurtured, students will not only meet our expectations, but exceed them when given the opportunity.   We could not be more proud of them.”

The physical portion of this camp was also important according to Morrise-Moreau.  “Since the program focused heavily on instruction and computer based learning, we felt that it was necessary for students to have an engaging way to release some energy and focus on personal fitness.  Dibia DREAM enhanced the program by offering a structured and challenging fitness program that the students could enjoy. “

Camp Honey Shine

Dibia DREAM has partnered with Honey Shine, Inc. to provide STEM awareness for the last two years during Camp Honey Shine.  The program serves 150 girls ages 8 to 18 from low-economic situations from throughout Miami-Dade County.

Okpalob said, “We not only focus on the STEM in Sports curriculum, but we also have enhanced focus on self-esteem and character building, and increase each girl’s physical fitness goal at Honey Shine.”

Dibia DREAM partnered with NIKE for the health and wellness portion of Camp Honey Shine bringing this program to new heights in 2017.  With the combination of physical health and their academic curriculum Camp Honey Shine gives us the opportunity to touch the lives of girls that come areas like Overtown, Liberty City, Little Haiti, and Little Havana to name a few. These girls face daily challenges in their communities and Camp Honey Shine becomes a safe haven for them during the summer.