Dream Between the Lines

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Why we founded Dream Between the Lines

“So… I have an idea…”

That is how Dream Between the Lines began, founded by a three person team of educators currently working in the NYC Public School system: Phoebe Grant-Robinson, a Principal, Candra Sutherland, an Assistant Principal, and Teneisha Bailey, a Social Worker, all determined to improve the outlook of success and potential of the city’s youth through literacy.
It didn’t exactly start off as it is now, but from the beginning, the idea, passion, and commitment to impacting children and families in temporary housing was our constant driver. As educators whose day job it is to teach students how to read and extract meaning—amongst other skills—it made complete sense that our newest project would involve taking steps to helping children develop a love of reading.

As we began our team meetings, we first needed to clarify our why: Why did we want to embark on this journey? Why did we think an organization of this kind was needed? And why did we think we are the people to do it? With experience working in low income neighborhoods, we’ve seen first hand how easily a child’s life can be flipped upside down. We recognized that a way to help children in these situations is by making an effort to assist the families in need, and not just the child. This solidified our reason for wanting to strengthen the parent-child relationship through the experience reading together can bring, while also providing access to books that might not be readily available to them while living in temporary housing.

Additionally, we wanted to highlight exposure to diverse texts  When children read books that do not include characters that represent them, their identities are potentially minimized, erased, or ignored. At Dream Between the Lines, we want the children we impact to see themselves, as well as others, in the books we provide. We want them to learn to love themselves, believe in themselves, and advocate for themselves, all while understanding that their current circumstances do not define their lives.
Follow us as we continue our mission to nurture a love of reading and inspire children in shelters across the nation to Influence, Impact, and Shine as they Dream Between the Lines.