Our Blog

Brianna — Age 10

BriannaChiu“Hey there, you must be Brianna.”

“Yes, I really am! And this is my sister, Marley,” Brianna says cheerfully as she sat talking, laughing, and sharing a snack with her baby sister in the library.

“So, why do you want to participate in ballet?”

“Well, because it’s fun!”

“What sorts of things are you excited to learn from this activity?”


So went the meeting to award a scholarship to Brianna, a kind, goofy, and imaginative 10-year-old who is enthusiastic about ballet, among many other things. Her favorite color, something her mom said is highly variable, is black on this day. She loves writing, reading, math, and art and is an astute student. As a role model, she looks up to her mom, and hopes that her baby sister will look up to her in this way some day (and I’m certain she will). Some of her goals for the semester include healthy eating, to stay calm in stressful situations, and to “practice everything” that she can remember.

It was a joy to talk with Brianna, her mother, and her little sister during our meeting. I learned about how helpful and compassionate Brianna is with her family and at school, and about her sprightly and positive approach toward life. I learned about her flexibility and work ethic, transitioning on a few occasions between languages and cultures, in Columbia and Mexico (the country). I learned about how ballet classes have impacted her, through exercise, learning about commitment, fostering friendships, and creating a space for fun, to be a kid. Brianna, her family, and the Day Dreams Foundation team are all very excited and grateful for Brianna to be able to participate in ballet at the School of Missouri Contemporary Ballet for another year. Who knows? We might just have the next Anna Pavlova in our midst.

“Yes, a ballet dancer. That’s what I want to be when I grow up. Well, either that or a miner… someone who looks for interesting things that nobody has even thought up yet.”

We’ll see if she pursues ballet, mining, or any number of additional undertakings in the future. We’re delighted that she is happy to participate in dance classes now.

The Tom Bradley Show Interview

Thanks to The Tom Bradley Show for having Joe Bradley on this morning to talk about the Day Dreams Foundation and the upcoming bubble soccer tournament! Sign up for the tournament by Sept. 31 at www.classy.org/daydreamsbubblesoccer. You can listen to the interview below. It starts at about the 49:25 mark.


Day Dreams Kids: Kaiden and Ashley

Congratulations to two of our new scholarship winners, Kaiden and Ashley!

Kaiden, 8, was awarded a scholarship to play for Sporting Columbia SC as well as a gift card to purchase shoes and shin guards. According to Kaiden’s letter of recommendation, he is “well-liked by his peers and a true team player” as well as “a ver appreciative young man.”  We’re confident Kaiden is going to give his best on the field and in the classroom!

Ashley, 13, was awarded a scholarship to continue classes over the summer at Missouri Contemporary Ballet. Ashley is part of the First Position Dance Group with Boys and Girls Club of Columbia Missouri during the school year. According to her letter of recommendation, Ashley  “is a beautiful dancer that is quick to catch on. We often call her the Choreography Queen because can pick it up so very quickly… She is talented and is on my short list of girls that I believe could pursue dance within higher education.”


Seven Benefits of Extracurriculars — By Eugenia Nathan

EugeniaNathanI am the product of extracurriculars, lots of love and support. Essentially, that is what the Day Dreams Foundation is all about. Through fundraising, generous donations, and passion for the good that comes from a child participating in an after-school activity, the foundation is able to eliminate financial barriers that keep Columbia children from taking part in activities that shape who they are.

A little about me. Growing, up I was fortunate enough to have parents with endless patience. I am one of 3 girls. My older sister was pretty athletic. After playing on a city recreational soccer league, she quickly found her niche. She learned about working as a team, respecting adults and rules, how to form friendships, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle; she applied these life lesson in other facets of her life and still does today.  It wasn’t so quick and easy for me. I tried ballet, tap, jazz, t-ball, piano, basketball, soccer, track and volleyball before I found writing. The school Newspaper became my thing- I was extremely fascinated with all things words. I learned how to write something more useful than a 5 paragraph essay and how great it was to meet new people and tell their stories. Here’s the kicker! Even though I bounced around from activity to activity, I learned something important while trying several after-school activities. Lessons about honesty, friendship, humility, and perseverance followed me even as I moved onto writing.

When you stop and ask why it is important for a community to rally around making extracurriculars accessible to their children the answer is simple: it makes better, happier children.

Think about a child you know. Now think about how each of these benefits will impact that child.

Benefit #1: Forming Relationship Skills

Put a bunch of kids on one team, give them a goal, and they somehow learn to get along with each other, work through conflict, and learn how to appropriately act in social situations.

Benefit #2: Kids learn ‘there is no I in team’

Extracurricular involvement gives kids the opportunity to walk away from the idea of only thinking of themselves, but rather contributing to something else.

Benefit #3: Getting involved in diverse interests

It is important for kids to find something that they can make their own. This fosters ownership and helps kids form their unique personality. Diverse activities allow kids to explore various interests they might have. Day Dreams Kids are also required to complete service hours for each month they are on scholarship, further expanding their interests.

Benefit #4: Bumping Self-Esteem

Everyone wants to find something they can excel in. Extracurriculars give kids a way to get involved in something that they can shine in, giving them a self-esteem boost.

Benefit #5: Learning Time Management

Juggling activities and commitments are something our children will one day have to deal with. After-school activities are great practice for this important life skill in prioritizing.

Benefit #6: Encouraging academic success

This may be more relevant as kids enter into middle school. Several programs require their participants to be in good academic standing. Day Dreams kids are required to have their teacher sign off that they gave their best effort in the classroom if they would like to have their scholarship renewed for another season/activity. A healthy love for learning and maintaining good grades can grow from a rooted love for extracurriculars.

Benefit #7: A smile

Memories, smiles, and laughs make for a happy child. The children in our community today will one day be our doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Let’s build the foundation for a happy and healthy future.

To learn more about how you can build this happy and healthy future, explore this website. You can learn about how we started, the kids who are fulfilling their dreams, upcoming fundraising events, how to apply for scholarships and other ways you can support the community.


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Playground Equipment

Over the past few weeks, our board members have been running around Columbia dropping off new playground equipment to five elementary schools in Columbia. The following schools were selected by the Day Dreams Foundation board to receive the donations: Shepard Elementary, Blue Ridge Elementary, Benton Elementary, Alpha Hart Elementary and Derby Ridge Elementary. The schools received an equipment bag full of new basketballs, soccer balls and kickballs. It was a joy to drop off the new equipment and meet some of the great people in the Columbia elementary schools! We hope the kids enjoy the new balls!

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Shakespeare’s Pizza Fundraiser

Support Day Dreams Foundation by dining out at Shakespeare’s Pizza on Thursday, March 19 at any of the three locations. Simply print off the flyer, present it when you order and Day Dreams will receive 15% of the sales! Everything on the menu is eligible: pizza, salad, drinks, frozen pizzas, etc. Even gift cards count! You can also use the flyer for dine-in, to-go orders or delivery. Be sure to mention the flyer on the phone if you order delivery and then present the flyer to your driver. So please print off the flyer (or a few of them to give to friends) and eat at Shakespeare’s Pizza on March 19, which is the first (real) day of the NCAA basketball tournament. Pizza and March Madness… a perfect combo.

Day Dreams Foundation Christmas cookies!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported the Day Dreams Foundation this year. We surpassed our $1,000 goal to print marketing materials and applications. In December alone, we have already raised $800 online! For a brand new non-profit, that’s unbelievable. The most encouraging thing has been when I receive email notifications about new donations and I don’t recognize the name of the donor. It’s one thing for your friends and family to support your cause, but it’s another thing entirely when the general public starts to back the organization. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Here’s what donor Barbara Peterson had to say when she made her donation:

I was so excited to learn about your new Day Dreams Foundation. When I was 10 years old, one of my friends played Khoury League softball and wanted me to join her team. Her dad was actually the coach. My mother, who was raising five kids by herself, couldn’t afford the registration fee. Her father paid my entry fee. That small gesture changed the arc of my life in so many positive ways. I have never forgotten his kindness.

DayDreamsPromosThere are so many kids in our Columbia community who are in need of a similar opportunity. We strongly believe that participating in an extracurricular activity can have a tremendous impact on a child’s development.

Applications for our scholarships will launch on January 1, 2015. Please help us hit the ground running and award as many scholarships as possible in the New Year. We’ve launched a bold new fundraising campaign for the last six days of 2014. We’re hoping to raise $2,014 before 2015 starts! If you hadn’t heard, our IRS tax exempt status was approved, so all donations are tax deductible! Please consider making a donation today!

– Joe Bradley, Day Dreams Foundation President



Tribune Article

The Day Dreams Foundation was featured in a December 16, 2014 article on the front page of the Columbia Daily Tribune. Below is an excerpt from the article. Click the link at the bottom to read the rest of the article.

Charity aims to help finance costs of extracurricular activities for children

BY Roger McKinney

A new not-for-profit organization in Columbia wants to help young people get involved in extracurricular activities by removing the costs that prevent many of them from doing so.

The Day Dreams Foundation, formed in September, received its designation as a public charity from the IRS on Nov. 20, making donations to the organization tax-deductible.

Bradley said he knew the Voluntary Action Center offered $50 scholarships, but was unaware of any organization that would offer the full $135.

Continue Reading… 

Charity aims to help finance costs of extracurricular activities for children

TribuneFrontPageDecember 16, 2014

By Roger McKinney — Columbia Daily Tribune

A new not-for-profit organization in Columbia wants to help young people get involved in extracurricular activities by removing the costs that prevent many of them from doing so.

The Day Dreams Foundation, formed in September, received its designation as a public charity from the IRS on Nov. 20, making donations to the organization tax-deductible.

Bradley said he knew the Voluntary Action Center offered $50 scholarships, but was unaware of any organization that would offer the full $135.

Continue Reading… 

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