Summer Programming

At DREAM, the meaning of summer has always been core to our foundation. That’s why we operate on an extended-day, extended-year basis—we believe that model is key to student success.

The DREAM Summer

Summer programming is an essential part of DREAM’s Grow the Whole Child education model, and our expectation is that every DREAM scholar signs up for summer programming of some sort. Choosing the DREAM option helps ensure your child has continuity between the support they’re receiving during the school year and the summer months—including social-emotional, academic, and physical wellness development. 

Here’s some of what DREAM’s summer programming offers for you and your child:

  • Studies demonstrate that, on average, students in the United States lose 39% of their school year gains during the summer months. That’s why preventing learning loss is a critical part of our summer programming, and for 95% or more of participants in recent years, it’s worked to keep them at or above grade level in between semesters. 
  • But our strongest emphasis is on relationship building and social-emotional health. That’s the kind of support that children need year-round, not just during the school year.
  • We offer programming for scholars at all grade levels—and all of our programming is free.

Stay tuned for Summer 2022 registration information.

  • REAL Kids for Pre K-Grade 4
  • DREAM University for Grades 5-7

Registration for Summer 2022 will open soon, and all DREAM scholars are guaranteed a spot.

“It gave me my first set of friends. It was a guiding force. Without [DREAM’s summer programming], I would have been lost.”

- Alex Ruiz Jr., DREAM Legend and Skidmore College student

Starting to wind up for summer at DREAM?

Get excited with this welcome message from staff member Mr. Daniels.

A Part of Something Bigger

When a little kid from the East River Houses was signed up for a program then known as Harlem RBI by his dad 23 years ago, it was his first time playing an organized sport of any kind. He received his first uniform. And he became part of something bigger than himself.

That kid stayed with RBI all through adolescence, including some of the tough parts. One day during programming, following two separate ejections from games, a suspension from his team, and a community service assignment, he became so upset that he started throwing things out the window, including a computer. He had to meet with the executive director, his parents, and his coach to discuss how – if at all – he could remain on his team.

But that wasn’t the end of his story. In fact, he says, it was the moment his perspective began to shift. And today, 23 years later, he’s the one who is present at pivotal moments like these for our current DREAM scholars. Because that “kid” from the East River Houses is Rob Saltares – recently promoted to DREAM’s Senior Manager of Athletics, Health, & Wellness.

At a glance


On average, students in the United States lose 39% of their school year gains during the summer months


of DREAM summer program participants in recent years have maintained or increased their reading level by the first day of school


of 2021 DREAM summer participants met or exceeded expected literacy goals over the course of the summer


When and where does DREAM’s summer programming take place? What are the hours?
Programming is offered in both East Harlem and the South Bronx. It’s full-time (8:30 AM to 5:00 PM) and runs for up to 6 weeks from July to August, depending on grade level.
Who can participate in DREAM’s summer programming?
Our programming is open to all DREAM scholars enrolled for the upcoming school year, with a limited number of seats available for participants from partner schools. We offer our REAL Kids programming for grades Pre-K through 4 and DREAM University for grades 5-7, along with high school summer enrichment opportunities that include summer youth employment.
What does an average day in a DREAM summer program look like?
Preventing learning loss is a huge part of what we do, to ensure that every student is prepared for the start of the school year. But our biggest focus is on relationship building and social-emotional health—the kind of support that kids need year-round, not just during the school year. REAL Kids and DREAM University participants can expect to spend lots of time outside on the field building teamwork and other skills, as well as in the classroom brushing up on their reading and math skills. Plus, there’s time for unstructured play, snacks and meals, field trips, and more.
Is DREAM’s summer programming free? How can I sign up?
Yes! All of DREAM’s summer programming is free. Applications open in the spring, so check back soon for applications for Summer 2022.
Does DREAM also offer afterschool programming?
Yes! DREAM operates on both an extended-year and extended-day basis. All DREAM students are guaranteed a spot in our afterschool programming, which, like our summer programming, focuses on academics, social-emotional health, and physical wellness.
Sign up for REAL Kids Sign up for DREAM University