Our Blog

Andrew — Age 12

AndrewAndrew, 12, received a scholarship to participate in Super Smash Bros Gaming Camp this summer through the Columbia Career Center. Andrew loves playing video games and would like to pursue designing them when he grows up. When talking about why he is excited about camp this summer, Andrew told me “interacting with characters on screen can be very cool.” He pointed out “with movies and books you don’t get to decide what happens, but in video games you have more freedom and creativity.” Andrew’s favorite subject in school is band. Also, special things about Andrew: he has an especially good memory and enjoys keeping up with politics. Some goals Andrew has for this summer are to communicate better with people and make new friends at camp. He also would like to go outside more- to bike and play soccer with his friends.

Don — Age 16

13268401_1054507084615636_1608139279026917642_o“Football is my lifesaver…” 16 year-old Don has big plans for his future, including college and the NFL. Football has been a huge part of his life and he’s excited to continue with Rockbridge High School’s summer camp. Don sees football as a way to develop discipline, something that will help with his academic goals. Those who know Don well can attest to his commitment to being a well-rounded individual both on and off the field. Respecting his family, surrounding himself with friends who set good examples, and saving money are all at the top of his priority list. Look for Don on the field this fall as he pursues a Division I scholarship!

Big News — We’re Opening an Office!

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For a few months now, it’s been a hobby of mine to browse Craigslist and other sites from time to time, seeing if an amazing deal on great office space for the Day Dreams Foundation ever catches my eye. Well – a few weeks ago I found something! I went and checked it out, and the space was absolutely perfect for what we needed.

So, with that being said… on May 15, we will be moving into a permanent office space located at 200 E. Walnut #4, in the basement of the Mid America Mortgage building! The building is highly visible at the corner of Walnut and Providence, right next to Olive Cafe and across from Central Bank of Boone County. The office space is 588 square feet, with a board room, two offices and copy room. It even came with the board room table, chairs, desks and file cabinets that we needed! It was truly an opportunity too good to pass up. We will be able to place a sign in the window next to the side entrance to our office, off Walnut, which will increase our visibility in the community.

More than anything though, this office space will allow us to meet with families to award scholarships and go over our scholarship expectations and ground rules in a more private setting (rather than at the library). The central location in the city will be easily accessible for our families and they will be able to drop off applications and other forms in person. This office will also provide our board members and volunteers a central space to work and meet. In the near future, we would also like to bring on some interns, so they can also have work space here. This will also allow us storage space for our growing collection of fundraiser-related supplies and t-shirts.

This is truly a game changer for our organization. In the beginning, the office will likely be open less than 15 hours per week, but that may grow with time as our organization continues to grow. We will update you once those hours are finalized. We will also likely be changing phone numbers to a landline office phone (rather than calls routed to my personal cell phone).

Thank you to everyone who made this big step forward possible. We are so excited! Hopefully we can have you all by for an open house soon.

All my best,

Joe Bradley, Founder and President

Nina, Neela, Marcus and Nyah

IMG_4900I want to introduce you to four awesome Day Dreams Kids that are all from the same family — Nyah, Marcus, Neela and Nina. We first awarded these kids scholarships last year, but renewed their scholarships again this year after they each completed their community service hours and we received word from their coaches/instructors and teachers that they had done their best in their activity and in the classroom.

NinaNina, 4, received funding to participate in School of Missouri Contemporary Ballet classes this summer, as well as an Access Arts Summer Camp and summing lessons through MizzouRec. Nina loves the water and enjoys dance tremendously. She’s very excited to learn how to swim (although she demonstrated for me how long she could hold her breath – pretty impressive!), as well as continue with ballet. She loves sparkly blue and wants to be a lawyer when she grows up! She also really like Beyonce. Her mom said that something special about Nina is that she “has a great smile, is very positive and polite, and can roll with it.” Some goals Nina has for this year are to learn her letters and count to 100. She wants to be able to hold her breather under water and leaner different ballet positions. She wants to become a better listener, and go to sleep on time.

NeelaNeela, 8, received a scholarship to attend YMCA Camp Lakewood in Potosi, Missouri. She said she loves camp because it’s “really fun and cool.” Her favorite parts are going swimming, learning to do lots of art and riding horses. Her favorites include the color pink, reading, Ariana Grande, and playing dolls. Neela’s mom said the she is “very much about family. She is very loyal to her siblings.” In the classroom, Neela wants to be more proficient in reading and math. She would also like to become more independent at camp this year, and be a helpful friend. For health goals, she wants to try to get enough sleep and eat her vegetables.

MarcusMarcus (who goes by MJ), 9, will be playing for the Mid MO Elite basketball team this year. MJ really like playing basketball because he said he has some great coaches and teammates. He would like to play in the NBA someday and his role model is Steph Curry. I asked him about Steph’s chances to make it back from his injury for the championship, and he didn’t think it was likely. MJ’s favorite color is green and his favorite subject in school is reading. Something special about him is that he’s really good at math. A few goals that MJ has are to work on his handwriting, make 50 jump shots, help out his community, and not eat out as much. You and me both, kid.

NyahNyah, 13, received a scholarship to attend the WashU Summer Challenge camp at Washington University in St. Louis this summer. As the oldest child, Nyah partners up with Nina to help her out, and also took charge in arranging her siblings for the group photo. She wants to participate in the Summer Challenge because “Many people that go there end up being very successful.” She’s most excited to learn about anatomy at the camp. Favorites include the color purple, English class and dancing. She would like to be a dancer when she grows up and looks up to Misty Copeland and her mom. Nyah would like to raise her grades in Spanish and English class next year, become a strong learner at camp and get to know some new people at WashU. She also has goals to help her mom out more with her siblings and to get more sleep and eat more salad.

Good luck to these awesome kids this summer with their activities!

Tickets available for A Night Under the Stars Gala


Please join us for A Night Under the Stars Gala, benefitting the Day Dreams Foundation at the brand new Champagne Ballroom. The evening will include dinner, award presentations, guest speakers and live and silent auction items. A cash bar will be available. Doors and the silent auction will start at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 7:00 p.m. Please purchase your tickets for $65 each in advance by May 31. A reserved table of 8 can be purchased for $500. Proceeds will go toward our scholarship programs, including our extracurricular scholarships and our new Jenny Bradley College Scholarship.

We are still in need of sponsorships and auction items! Please contact joe@daydreamsfoundation.org. For more information, please see our Sponsorship Form.

To purchase tickets online, please CLICK HERE!

Buy Shakespeare’s Frozen Pizzas and Help Send Aiyanna to Dance in New York!


We are so thrilled to announce that 11-year-old Aiyanna, a Day Dreams Foundation scholarship recipient, was informed last week that she was accepted into the Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Intensive in New York. Out of over 800 students nationally and internationally who auditioned, Aiyanna was one of the chosen few. Aiyanna will have expenses in travel, tuition, room and board during this amazing journey so her family is fundraising to help make this trip possible. The Day Dreams Foundation has a $500 maximum scholarship per year, per child. So, we are trying to help her with the fundraising she is doing on her own! Her family is selling frozen pizzas from Shakespeare’s to try to put a dent in the $4,000 needed for the trip. They have set a goal of 200 pizzas. Let’s help them get there! Aiyanna will get $5 for each pizza sold.

Here’s a few things to know about the fundraiser:

  • Please make checks payable to: Phyllis Williams (Aiyanna’s mom)
  • You can turn in checks or cash to any Day Dreams Foundation board member and we’ll get it to Aiyanna’s mom.
  • Cost per pizza: $12
  • Payment & Orders must be received by: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
  • Frozen Pizza will be delivered: Thursday, March 24, 2016

To order a pizza, please fill out this Google form:

PHOTO GALLERY: Day Dreams Foundation hosts trivia night

The Day Dreams Foundation hosted its second annual trivia night fundraiser Friday at the Riechmann Pavilion in Stephens Lake Park. The foundation, started in 2013 by MU alumnus Joe Bradley, raises money to allow children from low-income backgrounds to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports or theater.

View a photo gallery from Columbia Missourian photographer Michael Cali HERE.

Kanisha — Age 15

KanishaGreenMcClainKanisha is a 15-year-old rising basketball star for Rock Bridge High School. She said that she loves playing basketball because, “it keeps me out of trouble and helps me to meet a lot of new people and gives me a promising future.” When Kanisha isn’t hitting the hardwood she’s working hard to bring her dream of becoming an entrepreneur to life. She hopes to get there one day through studying hard and becoming a better leader. She has some lofty goals she would like to one day achieve, but Kanisha knows that she has to get better every day to become the person she hopes to be. She said that she has a goal of “becoming known as someone who will always be there for you” and hopes that she can show that by becoming closer to her teammates. She is a wonderful student and said that she would like to make the A Honor Roll next semester. Kanisha is the ideal Day Dreams scholarship recipient because she would like to eat healthier, volunteer more, and because she says, “I’m great at basically every sport.” Welcome to Day Dreams, Kanisha!

#Donate4Dreams on #GivingTuesday

All day long, our board members will be sharing stories about why they chose to give of their time to the Day Dreams Foundation. We’ll update this post throughout the day with more stories! Please consider donating to the Day Dreams Foundation today. Click HERE to make a one-time, weekly or monthly contribution.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.48.51 PMMegan Peres, Board Member

After returning from my internship at Walt Disney World, I was going through a lot of withdrawals. The biggest one being I missed making kids dreams come true. I missed seeing those bright smiles when I got to give a child a little extra pixie dust. I missed being a fairygod mother to a sweet little prince or princess. That’s when the Day Dreams Foundation came along.

The first time I handed out a scholarship to a child, I knew the Day Dreams Foundation gave me the chance to spread magic again. Amahdjhe was so excited when I told him he was going to play for Columbia Orange Basketball. His mother explained to me that she heard about the Day Dreams Foundation from some of Amahdjhe’s teammates and thought it was too good to be true but applied for the scholarship anyways. She also told me how Amahdjhe and his friends always talk about how they are going to go pro one day. This short conversation is what made me realize that Columbia, MO can also be the place where dreams come true.

This Giving Tuesday I encourage you all to donate to the Day Dreams Foundation because you would not just be donating your money but giving an opportunity to make a child’s dreams come true! ‪#‎donate4dreams‬

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.49.30 PMKatelyn Sanders, Board Member

While the story of how I came to be involved with the Day Dreams Foundation might be anti-climatic, I think it’s one that paints a very accurate picture of the organization and what it’s about. I moved to Columbia in February. Not long after the move I met several of the current Day Dreams board members, and was eventually asked to join. I can’t say enough about the board members. These individuals lead by example in the way their lives reflect their passion: helping others in the most humble and selfless of ways. So if for no other reason, I knew that an opportunity to be part of an organization run by people like this was one I would be silly to pass up. Of course Day Dream’s mission of making it possible for all children to participate in extra-curricular activities is one I can easily stand behind. A person doesn’t have to look far to see the benefits children reap when acting in a play, kicking a ball, displaying their artwork, learning how to be part of a team…donating to the Day Dreams Foundation helps ensure children can pursue these passions. Help us help these kids and‪#‎donate4dreams‬!

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.49.38 PMJoe Bradley, President

I started playing golf when I was 8 years old. No one in my family played, but I watched Tiger Woods win the 1997 Masters and was hooked. I convinced my mom to sign me up for junior lessons through a local community college. I remember the night before my first lesson we went to buy my first set of clubs — there was only one junior set available at the store back then. I took the clubs out of the box and slept with them in my bed that night. I still have the clubs in my garage — my Little Brother Ja’shaun plays with them now.

My parents were nothing but supportive of my dream to become a pro golfer. Junior golf is definitely not one of the cheaper endeavors I could have pursued. There were clubs, shoes, golf balls, lessons, junior leagues, out of town tournaments, driving range passes, greens fees, and much more. I started Day Dreams because I wanted to give every kid that chance. The chance to pursue a dream. Money should never stand in the way of a child and his or her dream. Obviously, I didn’t become a pro golfer. However, I’m confident that the people I met chasing that little white ball around a golf course and the life lessons I learned around the along the way were pivotal to me becoming the man I am today. Thank you to my mom and dad for giving me the chance to dream — a dream that has manifest itself into the Day Dreams Foundation. I hope I never wake up.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 7.18.50 PMKelsey Louder, Board Member

I first found out about Day Dreams Foundation after Ellen asked me if I could include scholarship applications in the resources I give to families at work. After hearing about this wonderful organization I was thrilled when Ellen asked if I was interested in joining the board. Upon leaving my first board meeting I was nothing short of inspired. Inspired by the other people on the board. Inspired by the Day Dreams Foundation’s mission. Most of all, inspired by the stories I heard about the kids and families. During my first meeting to hand out a scholarship I met an amazing family. This little girl and her mother were fun, enthusiastic and motivated. It was impossible not to leave with that same attitude. She told me that acting classes would not only help her do well in the upcoming play, but also help her to make friends and be more social. I give my time to being a board member because in the short time I have been involved I have seen the impact these scholarships have on kids and their families.

Donating money to Day Dreams Foundation doesn’t just help children participate in an extracurricular activities, it gives them the opportunity to learn about themselves, accomplish goals, and work towards their dreams! ‪#‎donate4dreams‬

Drevon and DeteriesMarcus Williams, Vice President

My involvement in the Day Dreams Foundation comes from simple reasons. I like giving back, so that of course made it an easy choice. But on a more personal level, it presented me an opportunity to be apart of something that I would have needed as a young man. There were many times growing up where my mother, mostly raising two boys on her own,couldn’t afford to pay for us to do the things we wanted, both in and out of school. When a scholarship application is read during our board meetings, I feel a subdued-but-sharp twinge of familiarity as we hear about the desperate circumstances that lead families to reach out to us. I know those situations all too well. But that’s why I know it’s imperative that I do what I can to help now that I’m blessed to have the chance to help. I couldn’t accept Joe’s invitation to join the foundation fast enough.

On this Giving Tuesday, I implore those of you with the means to do so to make a charitable donation because extracurriculars are things that many of us take for granted every day, but for hundreds of kids in just Columbia, it’s not as easily accessible. Think back to what you wanted to do after school in your formative years; now think about those options, for reasons outside of your own control, suddenly not being on the table. That’s the harsh reality facing so many children in Columbia today. But if you give, that could very well mean one less family in that position. When put that way to me, the choice to serve was unquestionably easy.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 10.52.48 PMEllen Huch — Secretary

I started taking piano lesson’s in 3rd grade. I wasn’t so sure about the idea, but my dad had taken them as a kid and insisted I at least give it a shot. My teacher was a recommendation from a neighbor who my parents had never met before signing me up for lessons. From my first lesson I knew I would like her. She has a way about her that makes you feel important. When she listens to you, it’s easy to tell that she truly cares what you have to say. She lights up the room with her smile and infectious laugh and is easily on of the most vivacious people I have ever met. I took piano lessons from that first lesson in 3rd grade, all the way until I graduated high school. Over the years, she became so much more than a piano teacher to my family and I.

Beverly makes all of her students feel like part of the family. She hosts annual Halloween and Christmas parties, filled with piano performances, but also filled with laughter and a sense of belonging. She encourages her students to get to know one another by having us participate in duets, and even quartets. Every year, all the high-schoolers are invited to “piano camp” at her lake house with a little bit of piano, and a lot of tubing, swimming, and fun.

Beverly is an expert at helping her students reach their full potential. She chooses pieces for them that are within their skill level, but always just a little harder than the last piece. More than that, she truly believes you can do it. She knows just how to console you after you blew a performance or competition, and no one is prouder when you go home with a trophy or a blue ribbon.

I looked forward to my lesson with Beverly every week, and it had nothing to do with playing piano. Beverly was someone to talk to, someone who I knew would listen to me without judgment, and offer truly heartfelt advice and love. When my father passed away suddenly, it was speaking with Beverly every week that I remember as being one of the most helpful ways of dealing with my grief.

Beverly taught me how to play piano, but she also taught me how to embrace what life throws at you and make the best of it. She taught me how to read music, but she also taught me that your relationships with others are what are truly important. She taught me that practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. She taught me to use the acronym, “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” to remember the lines on a treble clef, but she also taught me to work hard and not to use shortcuts. She taught me to make a plan and set goals, but also to go with the flow when your plans fell through. She taught me that my best is good enough.

I am a better person today because of Beverly. I can only hope that all children have the opportunity to have a mentor like her, whether it’s through piano lessons, a sport, or another extracurricular activity. The Day Dream Foundation works to ensure that all children have that chance, and that’s why I am honored to serve on it’s board of directors. Please consider making a donation today in honor of an important mentor in your life!

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.49.47 PMEugenia Nathan, Board Member

I absolutely love being involved with Day Dreams because it means another child gets to smile. I get to work with a lot of students in an academic setting, but seeing the positive impacts of participation in an extra-curricular have shown me what a stepping stone of opportunity a scholarship can be. I have had the blessing of meeting with a Day Dreams scholarship recipient and seeing how she is growing as a leader and a talented artist. This is just one part of Day Dreams that makes my heart happy.

Another part is you! The community involvement and support to make more and more dreams possible always blows me away. When so many people rally around something that builds so much good it reminds me what a wonderful world we live in.




Maria (age 6) and Marcus (age 9)



Maria: 6 year-old Maria is quick to give an inviting smile and show off her self-taught gymnastics skills. “That was a well executed hand-stand! Who taught you that??” Maria: “…myself!” After putting on her new Day Dreams t-shirt, Maria struck a quick pose and was right away back to hand-stands and cartwheels. Maria’s scholarship will allow her to participate in a tumbling class at Flipz USA! This class will help build a foundation for her to become a future cheerleader. Maria is especially excited to pick out her first leotard! From the performance she gave me, it’s clear Maria will be an excellent fit in her new tumbling class. Welcome to the Day Dreams team!

Marcus: Meet 9 year-old Marcus! Always wanting to be the fastest runner, aiming for plenty of goals, and ultimately to be like his father, Marcus is an aspiring soccer star! When he is old enough, Marcus hopes to play on the same team as his father. On a typical weeknight Marcus can be found giving it his all on the indoor soccer court, and continues even after the game with some kicking practice with his father. Described by his teachers as an encouraging and hard working student, Marcus especially enjoys art, reading, and physical education. Marcus’ dreams don’t stop on the soccer field! His ultimate goal is to “become a soldier in the Army!” A person doesn’t have to know Marcus for long to see that he will put his Day Dreams scholarship to great use, spreading positive energy and making those goals!

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