Easley faith-based nonprofit The Dream Center has been chosen as a top-five finalist for WORLD News Group’s 2020 Hope Awards for Effective Compassion. If selected by online voting, which closes on Oct. 17, the organization will win $10,000.
Founded in 2012, The Dream Center works with its clients to climb out of homelessness and regain self-sufficiency. The nonprofit provides housing, food and clothing as needed. As clients progress through the program, they may also have an opportunity to work in its resale stores and soup kitchen, as well as attend classes to learn practical skills such as finance, parenting and communications.
“The Dream Center’s mission to give people a hand up instead of a handout sets them apart, and we’re glad to shine a light on the important work they’re doing,” said WORLD reporter Charissa Koh. “The Dream Center was chosen as a finalist because of its commitment to equipping the homeless and addicted with tools to become self-sufficient. The center’s singular approach to recovery allows people to experience long-term life transformation.”
The Dream Center has also developed Opportunity Village, a community of 23 tiny houses where homeless people may live while participating in a yearlong program where they take classes, receive counseling and gain job experience. Upon graduation from the program, each resident must have a job, reliable transportation and savings.
“We are honored and humbled to be featured in a national magazine, much less be a finalist with the opportunity to receive $10,000 in funding,” said The Dream Center co-founder Chris Wilson. “As we prepare to welcome a new group of women and children into our Opportunity Village, this money would assist with maintenance and repairs and have a tremendous impact on the way we foster long-term life transformation.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit has reduced classes and meals to twice per week. The Dream Center’s staff also continued to check on regular clients while offering them bags of food and masks. In addition, the Opportunity Village program has sewn more than 3,000 masks, which were supplied to Chick-fil-A and a local manufacturer.
To vote for The Dream Center in the Hope Awards for Effective Compassion, visit wng.org/compassion.