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October 04, 2017

Building Dreams: Teaching Character

Did you know? The rate of violent crime continues to rise in Indianapolis and it’s highest in geographical regions served by the Indianapolis Public Schools system. 

In fact,

  • The crime rate is 6x higher,
  • Poverty rate is 4x higher,
  • Unemployment rate is 3x higher,
  • And, there are 3x as many people without a high school diploma than in other crime areas in the city.

Our mission is to help deserving but underserved youth develop the social and emotional qualities needed to be successful in life and to combat these statistics. Through incentive-based programming, we encourage students to reach their full potential both in the classroom and in life. We use education, athletics, and wellness activities as the foundation for youth development.

Our goal is to positively affect the way that students think and act. We do this in the classroom, where students spend a majority of their time during the day. The incentive-based portion of our Building Dreams program reaffirms positive class participation and behavior. Students can “gain five yards” on a weekly basis by meeting specific behavior criteria. Every 15 yards/points that a student gets will earn them an incentive–up to twice per quarter.

  • Consistent class participation = 3 yards “First Down”
  • Positive classroom behavior = 2 yards “First Down”
  • No class participation = -3 yards “Sacked”
  • Negative classroom behavior= -2 yards “Sacked”
  • Students can also receive extra credit by presenting a book to the entire class, or by displaying one of the program topics outside of their classroom.

Traits that exhibit positive classroom behavior like showing teachers and classmates respect, completing assignments on time, and contributing to class discussions will allow the students to earn points towards their weekly goal. The objective is for the students to recieve five yards per week.

When students demonstrate negative behaviors like talking/interrupting others, refusing to follow directions, or not staying on task, they will lose yards.

Each Building Dreams classroom has football themed posters and signs that keep track of students points per day and week so that they know exactly what their behavior has been and how many points they have towards earning an incentive.

Winning Strategy: The incentive component is used to encourage positive behavior and classroom participation. Just like the real world you must earn what you receive, through this component we teach students to identify hard work and compliance with success. If you follow the rules and do your work, you will be rewarded for doing so. Just like in adulthood, if you do your job and obey the rules of society, you will be able to provide for you and your family. They must learn to earn in life!

Students who have completed the Building Dreams program agree with the following statements: 

    • 91% said Building Dreams caused me to think about my future and what I want to achieve in life,
    • 82% said the program motivated me to complete more responsibilities at home,
    • 68% I’ve become more confident in who I am and what I believe in,
    • 65% I enjoy reading more.

If you’d like to learn more information about our Building Dreams program, click here.

To get Building Dreams in your school, click here.