Mission

Our goal is to empower young people, communities, and decision-makers to support youth in ways that allow them to thrive within the backdrop of a supportive community.

About

During the winter of 2021, the U.S. Dream Academy brought together six young people committed to social justice, who gathered weekly to discuss how to help other young people who grew up in similar circumstances to their own. Their purpose was to help heal, to educate, and to advocate for change in their community. This visual podcast is the result of our work together, and we are excited to invite you to become a part of our village of young people seeking change.

Each of us comes to this podcast with our individual experiences, such as – an incarcerated parent, personally incarcerated, living in homeless shelters, and challenges in school – and while we each have a unique story to tell, we all share similar experiences of being stereotyped, feelings of shame, uncertainty, challenging family dynamics, and aloneness. We also discovered that we shared many more feelings and experiences in common: hope, resilience, family support, mentors, and raised aspirations for our futures. We invite you to enter our “sanctuary” (the safe space to share our story) and hear our stories. Then, if you are inspired, share your own story on If Only You Knew.

Tianna Durant

art director

Tianna is a rising senior at Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA. She is apart of the Eta Psi Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, as well as the manager of the school’s band. Her focus is in child psychology, as she aspires to become a social worker and work with children Tianna will be the first person in her family to graduate from a university Tianna continues to serve and help her community as much as she can!

Mia Anju

media director

I’m Mia Anju, I’m a twenty-one year old native New Yorker, who aspires to end lack of resource on a galactic scale. Throughout life’s journey, every experience has been a lesson or a reflection of self. Discovering aspects of self to either tap into or out of. The beauty of understanding both sides of reality that were present in, creating a change in perception that allows for moments of stagnance shifted to a test of patience, or even introspection. This understanding of intuition and how realities are mirrors of self evolves daily, currently in classes for Psychology remotely.

Derrell Frazier

company`s founder

Derrell Frazier is an experienced Community Organizer and Advocate with a demonstrated history of working in the public and private sectors. Championing the needs of young people involved in the system, he has focused his career on children’s advocacy and social justice. Growing up in Baltimore City, Derrell has faced several challenges, including his parents’ incarceration at various points in his life. He has a unique understanding of how important it is to have adults advocate for children and the benefits of mentoring. Derrell is an alumnus of the U.S. Dream Academy and spokesperson for Dream Academy about the impact of our program and mentoring in his life. Derrell believes that everyone has a unique gift that only they can offer to the world. His passion is to provide people with the tools and resources needed to thrive and identify their talents.

Zenayah Roaché

Zenayah was born in Brooklyn, NY but grew up in Harlem, NY. Living in Savannah, GA, for a period of her childhood, the return to New York City was idealized as one of mass opportunity, education, and genuine family for her and her mom. Upon their arrival, all three of her expectations fell short by the hand of systematic racism against poor and Black women. Attempting to manage a stable home, Zenayah found herself and her mother in different family’s homes and most impactfully, New York City shelters. Starting as a circumstance of embarrassment, Zenayah has now grown comfortable with her story and encourages other young people to do the same. She also finds herself in spaces surrounding all forms of justice: housing justice, legal justice, and educational justice.

Amari McDuffie

My name is Amari McDuffie and I am from Washington, DC aka “Chocolate City!’ I recently graduated from The Pennsylvania State University and now I am enrolled in George Washington University to pursue my graduate degree. My goal is to become a doctor and work on health disparities in Black communities. In my spare time, I love to be with my family, watch Grey’s Anatomy or the Patriots but most importantly, I love doing work with my nonprofit, Soothing Souls, which works with the youth who have experienced trauma.

Elias Hernandez

Elias is 22 years old and was born in Jamaica, Queens, NY. A former gang member and ex-convict who survived multiple traumas, including being stabbed several times. Currently, he is a mentor and an advocate for the youth. Elias is an avid volunteer in his community during the holiday seasons. Elias enjoys listening to music, but his main hobby is being an artist. He paints, writes, draws, and more.

Executive Producers

Diane and Larron came together on this project to blend their experiences, skills, and dynamic backgrounds. Diane in non-profit, youth development, and social justice alongside Larron in Hollywood directing, writing, and storytelling to help create an opportunity for young people to develop a platform for social justice change via a visual podcast.

C. DIANE WALLACE BOOKER

Diane serves as the Chief Strategy Officer to drive innovative strategies and develop transformative partnership that support the long-term growth of U.S. Dream Academy. She holds the distinction of being the Founding Executive Director and led the national expansion of Dream Academy while developing a deep expertise in non-profit management.

An expert in positive youth development and mentoring with a focus on children of incarcerated parents and an attorney, Diane is passionate about creating equitable opportunities for young people to achieve their dreams. Diane has the audacious belief that every child should have the opportunity to be raised in a community free from discrimination, violence and trauma.

To learn more about Diane read her full bio here.

TATEMEN ENTERTAINMENT

The Tate Brothers, Larron, Larenz and Lahmard, have amassed 25 years of knowledge and experience, both in front and behind the camera, in the entertainment industry. They have attained key, solidifying relationships with premier talent, producers, executives, directors, writers and musicians.

They recently launched TateMen Entertainment, a growing multi- media company committed to offering quality content for film, television and digital platforms. Their current slate of projects include the indie film “Beta Test” and the feature film “Deuces,” alongside Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Productions which is presently on Netflix. They have a hit, scripted audio series with Laurence Fishburne’s company, Cinema Gypsy, that is on iTunes and Spotify. Their next film, “Business Ethics” filmed in Toronto, Canada is currently in post-production.

Podcast

Resources

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DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

STRESS MANAGEMENT