Helping Boys Dream Initiative


This initiative is driven to expose boys and young men of color to diverse career paths they may otherwise not consider or have seen themselves in. Expanding their understanding means broadening their social capital — and that’s the secret to opportunities and success, not just academics alone. With greater access to these relationships, students show higher levels of engagement, attain better grades, report higher aspirations, and participate more frequently in college-preparatory activities.

Research tells us that people tend to socialize within homogeneous networks and get hired by people who are culturally similar to themselves. For the most privileged, this provides access to the best career connections, information and opportunities, while those lacking in social capital are left to fend for themselves in the labor market.
— The 74 Million

Inspired By Devante’s Story

While most students wrote about videos games, sporting equipment and lavish vacations, Devante’s (not his real name) wish was to be 26 years-old. He wanted to be old enough to eat when he wanted to — not at designated snack times — and walk around in a building independently. It was another reminder of how some of students, are over-disciplined and over-surveillanced.

“I want to be an office cleaner,” Devante told me when I asked him what he thought he’d be doing at 26. “Like my dad.”

Walking in the footsteps of a loved one is admirable. We need to ask why and how those ideas and ambitions are formed. Children aren’t necessarily just a product of their circumstance, they’re a product of their (and others’) expectations. My hope is to work with boys and young men of color to expand their understanding of their sense of self, potential and place in the world.

Summer Launch

Helping Boys Dream had its summer launch in July 2019 with a trip every weekend. These included visits to:

  • Lululemon: This was our first time meeting together and not all the boys knew each other. We used this time to get to know each other, break down walls, discover commonalities and take a yoga class.

  • Samsung 837: From smart homes to visual arts, we dived into a hands-on experience to understand how technology can enhance aspects of our everyday lifestyle.

  • Sweetgreen: In between chomps of salad and learning about the health benefits of some new vegetables, boys felt comfortable enough to share more about their journey and revealed some common trauma most of us have experienced.

  • SoulFest: World record time! We participated in an outdoor yoga class as well as a Guinness World Record attempt of the most people holding Warrior 1 for 3 minutes.

  • The Tour at NBC Studios: Lights, camera, action! We got a behind-the-scenes look at famous television sets such as Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers and more. We even recorded our own late night talk show. Check it out!

  • Fashion on the Hudson: Our boys got a front row seat at the Harlem fashion show and the Chinese exchange students who joined us on this trip wowed the crowd in their traditional garb.

  • Mamasushi: Our cultural exchange with the middle school Chinese exchange students (in partnership with Javanna Productions M.O.V.E continued as we had sushi — the first time eating sushi and trying chopsticks for some of us!

  • Boogie Down Books: Success can take different paths. We drafted our first resume as well as discussed what a business plan was with the Founder of Boogie Down Books, Rebekah Shoaf.

  • Bronx Native: Entrepreneur, Amaurys Grullon, gave us insight into what it means to build something by the community FOR the community. We love the Bronx!

  • Sano Acupuncture: Founder, Joannie Campuzano, shared her space with us so that we could close out the summer with rooftop yoga and enlightened us about some of the acu-pressure points around the body.

48.5% of Latino and Hispanic students and 45% of Black or African-American students are first generation college-bound students.
— 2010 DOE study

Logic Model

INPUT: 100% of donations and funds raised will go towards the execution of my mission: to expose boys and young men of color to diverse career paths they may otherwise not consider or have seen themselves in. Each field trip will cost approximately $800. An ongoing cohort of 6 mentees will be served each academic year — with a commitment to support them through to high school graduation. These 6 mentees will be boys Colin already has a relationship with through his yoga and mindfulness work.



ACTIVITIES: All 6 mentees will be involved in 13 sessions. Each session involves a yoga and mindfulness workshop, group mentoring and a workplace field trip. The yoga and mindfulness helps center the mentees and reconnects them to their uninhibited, uninfluenced Self. The group mentoring offers an open yet intimate forum for mentees to share relatable stories around growth and obstacles. The workplace field trips are chosen specifically to promote visibility of people of color and/or LGBTQ people in various sectors and includes a Q&A session with a relatable member of staff. Field trip sectors will span: performing arts, design, STEM, business, public service and sports.

OUTPUTS: The pilot program is scheduled to commence during the summer of 2019 with daily sessions for one week, Monday to Friday. After these intensive sessions aimed to bolster connection and camaraderie among mentees, monthly sessions will take place on a chosen weekend day from October 2019 to May 2020. This culminates in: 13 hours of yoga and mindfulness; 13 hours of group mentoring; 26 hours of field trips; 13 hours of workplace Q&A sessions.




  • Short-term: Mentees feel they have developed positive relationships with adult role models and have a safe space to discuss their futures. This could be their growing relationship with Colin or through intentional relationships formed during the workplace field trips. Mentees become advocates for themselves and ask for help.

  • Mid-term: Mentees enroll or become more engaged in extra-curricular activities in line with their interests and become excited about their futures. Reduced self-destructive behavior and school infractions.

  • Long-term: Mentees enroll in and complete higher education in a field they are passionate about. Decreased risk of involvement in crime.

At the end of year 1…


100% of funds will go towards fees for two staff members and program expenses related to travel, food, accommodation, field trip entrance fees and study materials.


100% of mentees incur fewer disciplinary infractions as reported by their school.


100% of mentees self-report a positive change and increased trust in non-familial adult relationships.


In addition to Colin’s leadership and founding the program, Helping Boys Dream relies on the support of advisers and chaperones who make our programs possible.

In addition to Colin’s leadership and founding the program, Helping Boys Dream relies on the support of advisers and chaperones who make our programs possible.

Danielle comes to us with a passion for psychology and education. Danielle’s interest in education stems from her time at New York University studying psychology and pursuing her interest in Russian language for which she later received numerous department awards.

After college, Danielle worked as both an NYCDOE teaching consultant where she assisted in developing specialized k-5 curricula for ICT classrooms. Prior to NYCDOE, Danielle was instrumental in leading several cohorts of 1L students as an Assistant to the Dean at the Washington College of Law in Washington DC.

Danielle currently sits on a team of three Program Managers at A-List Education. The team’s mission is to emphasize the importance of college readiness to as many NYC public school students as possible. The team works directly with over 120 New York City schools to bring the vision to life.

Danielle was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves biking in the city, taking scenic strolls, cooking and picnics in Central Park.

Nonprofit partners


UYF is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that educates and empowers communities to be proactive about issues affecting their health. Through our service to love model the lifestyle brand and mindfulness yoga programs we create an environment of social emotional change. Helping individuals in communities manage stress, develop mind-body awareness, and health consciousness: We create safe spaces for contemplative practices in homes, businesses, schools organizations and corporations.


SoBRO was founded in 1972 by a group of business executives and community leaders. Our mission was urgent: reverse the flight of businesses and jobs from the South Bronx. It became clearer that community revitalization required a multifaceted effort. Today we address all aspects of community development: assisting businesses to get started and grow, training residents according to the needs of employers, offering opportunities for youth to learn and develop, and creating affordable housing and commercial space that reverses blight in the community.


Members of Javanna Productions M.O.V.E. can participate in after school learning, summer learning, traveling tours and pop up events with the organization year round following an individualized curriculum designed specifically for each member. Javanna Productions' intergenerational mission creates informal classroom experiences that bring families in the community together for the advocacy and support of social causes.