DreamYard is Building Career Pathways for Bronx Youth

Harnessing the inspirational power of art and creativity, DreamYard was founded to provide young people with pathways to economic and educational opportunities.

Published September 21, 2023 | 2 min read

Key Points

  • The DreamYard Project provides youth from low-income neighborhoods in the Bronx with pathways to economic and educational opportunities through the arts.
  • DreamYard’s BX Start initiative launched in 2019 to help young people build skills and pursue creative careers in gaming, technology and entrepreneurship.
  • The RBC Foundation USA has proudly supported DreamYard since 2017, and has made strategic investments in the BX Start initiative to provide access to entrepreneurship and readiness workshops.

The mission

Art and creativity have the power to provide hope, bring communities together and change the way we see the world through new perspectives and ideas.

Harnessing this power, The DreamYard Project was founded in 1994 to provide young people in the Bronx with pathways to economic and educational opportunities through the arts.  

Young people today face significant hurdles in navigating rapidly changing job markets and preparing for sustainable career paths. These challenges are even more pronounced for youth from low-income neighborhoods and especially for those who identify with minority groups.

The Bronx is a community rich in culture and a history of innovation. At the same time, due to institutional inequities, it is considered one of the economically poorest districts in the country, with over 63% of children in the area born into poverty1.

In addition to extended-day and afterschool art education programs, DreamYard provides a safe place where young people and educators can come together to foster creativity, explore interests, exchange ideas and network.

“Our youth develop the tools necessary to become creative and engaged citizens, life-long learners, as well as leaders and innovators for the twenty-first century” said Jason Duchin, Co-Executive Director, DreamYard.

The programs

As part of its mission to create career and economic pathways, DreamYard launched the BX Start initiative in 2019, with support from the RBC Foundation.

The program is designed to prepare young people, ages 14 to 24, for creative careers in gaming, technology and entrepreneurship. Accessing jobs in these sectors is typically a struggle for youth from low-income neighborhoods.

The year-long education program focuses on invention, innovation and creation, and gives learners access to state-of-the-art digital media facilities. 

The BX Start gaming curriculum helps unrepresented gamers see themselves in the industry and opens doors to college programs and career opportunities in the growing gaming economy.

For students whose passions lie in creative-driven projects, the maker program curriculum covers topics from 3D modeling and printing to drones and fundamental electronics.

The entrepreneurship curriculum engages participants in business-focused workshops exploring the essentials of launching a successful organization and the practical skills that future business leaders need.

BX Start is an empowering program that helps participants build a broad and impactful skill set including collaboration, critical thinking, creative decision-making, oral and written communication and the art of creative expression.

The RBC Foundation has partnered with DreamYard since 2017 and RBC employees regularly volunteer with the organization. Colleagues recently helped paint a mural near the BXStart program location and worked with DreamYard leadership to create a pitch deck for potential partners.

We’re proud to support DreamYard and its work to create equal opportunities for Bronx youth and help them develop the skills and capabilities they need to envision bright futures.

Founded: 1994
Based: Bronx, New York
Cause: Building pathways toward equity and opportunity through the arts.
RBC Foundation USA partner since: 2017

  1. DreamYard, 2023.

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