US Dream Academy Helps American Kids Avoid Path to Jail

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( — July 4, 2017) Mays Landing, NJ — There is nothing worse than seeing a family fall apart due to crime and poverty. Children are always the underserving victims when a parent is incarcerated. It is virtually impossible to go through a childhood crisis like this without it negatively taking a toll. This type of environment statistically projects a very bleak future for the children of incarcerated parents. They are far more likely to grow up and follow a path that includes being expelled or dropping out of school, getting charged with a crime, and serving time in prison.

Developing healthy relationships with dependable mentors who are committed to helping academically and socially is key to giving a child an opportunity to heal and modify the vision for his or her own future.

The U.S. Dream Academy is a beautiful organization that seeks to help American kids in situations like these. Children can be spared the fateful path that leads to jail and instead be redirected to a road that leads to their dreams. Their academically based intervention program serves to change the course for these at-risk children.

Established in seven locations across the nation, the U.S. Dream Academy has partnered with schools across the nation to serve over 9,000 students who have risk factors including parental incarceration. Children who are accepted into the U.S. Dream Academy program are paired with mentors who work to build up their skills, build out their character, and inspire their best dreams. The participants spend a minimum of 11 hours per week in afterschool activities. Besides one-on-one mentoring and group learning sessions, there are family-oriented events hosted to incorporate the other important people in the child’s life. 

Ultimately, the U.S. Dream Academy intercedes on behalf of children in America who need it the most. Students in this program receive an extra layer of care through elementary school, middle school, and all the way through to high school graduation. The time spent with mentors after school time provides a safe and supervised place for a child during the hours where there is a greatest risk for juveniles to become involved with violent crime. This time is spent improving academic skills, helping with interpersonal relationship skills, positively shaping attitudes and behaviors, and rebuilding confidence and self esteem.

Founder Wintley Phipps is an education advocate with a heart for children. He has received awards for his leadership, mentorship, and work as a philanthropist over the past 28 years. Mr. Phipps is also a two-time Grammy award nominee and a senior pastor at a church in Palm Bay, Florida. He has blessed many with his incredible vocal talent including five recent United States presidents, plus Oprah Winfrey and influencers and leaders from around the world.

Wintley Phipps has set goals for his organization based on his observations of close relatives. “All of my wife’s brothers and sisters have been incarcerated at some point in their lives. Her older sister had six children, and five have been in prison,” Phipps explains. “You look at other kids who you know, without intervention, without help, many of them will follow their parents down that same road unless they get the kind of encouragement and guidance and motivation my wife got from the family down the street.” 

When The U.S. Dream Academy approached the DotCom Global Media team about developing a website, owner Sam Natello was blown away by the mission and accomplishments of this organization. Sam is a Christian man with an equally impressive professional background, and he runs his business in alignment with his faith and beliefs. Sam quickly realized the many parallels and values that he shared with the founder and directors. Sam was excited to create a new website for the U.S. Dream Academy. Also a fan of great gospel music, Sam was even more inspired after watching a YouTube video of Wintley singing in a classical theatre. He emailed the video link to his entire staff to introduce them to the face of DotCom’s newest website client.

Sam is joined by his wife Anna Natello in leading a team of website designers, content writers, and social media managers. Their office is located in the heart of Atlantic County, New Jersey. Sam Natello has built hundreds of custom websites for clients at DotCom Global Media.

The website design project for U.S. Dream Academy was more than just designing a site and communicating a message. It ran much deeper than that. Every page needed to present compelling information about children at risk of incarceration. Every page needed to inspire visitors and present the realized hope for a brighter future.

Besides all of the content, design, and features, this website needed a backend system that would grow with this incredible organization. A user portal had to be built from the ground up, giving directors of various locations access to easily add or change the content on the website. According to Sam, the user panel that he built for U.S. Dream Academy is an extremely smart-system and it is easy to use, so he will use it as a model for future websites that require the same type of access.

“It’s amazing to see the finished project,” Sam Natello said, referring to the recently launched website. “We put so much into the planning and development on the back end so we could effectively show the level of…just…pure goodness that U.S. Dream Academy provides. They create tremendous value and it needed to be evident on their website. It’s awesome to publish a beautiful site and see it working like it’s supposed to.”

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