STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. And the focus on these disciplines has been making a huge mark on the education world. There are also plenty of after-school programs focused on sports and recreation. But Dibia DREAM is a program — and a business — that aims to mix those two concepts to help underserved kids in a really unique way.
Learn more about the business and what it aims to accomplish for kids in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Helps underserved youth learn important skills through STEM, sports and recreational programs.
Brandon A. Okpalobi, CEO of Dibia DREAM told Small Business Trends, “DREAM focuses on helping underserved youth in Miami, New Orleans and Bermuda translate the skills required to win in sports into skills required to win at life. This approach created a blueprint for success that youth can understand.”
Mixing STEM with sports and recreation.
Okpalobi says, “We have worked extremely hard and done extensive research to ensure our students have exposure to STEM. WE feel that STEM allows our students the critical thinking skills to become great at whatever field they decide to pursue after working in STEM.”
How the Business Got Started
Because of a passion for sports and helping people.
Okpalobi says, “As a young CEO, I work to unlock youth potential through sports. I moved to Miami to attend the University of Miami and walked on to the Division 1 basketball team. I earned a full scholarship and was later elected team captain. After graduation, I combined my business education and passion for sports to start my organizations.”
Partnering with the Nyah Project and taking ten kids to South Africa July 2017 for 12 days.
Okpalobi explains, “I was watching Roots at night and the next day I had a client on my for-profit sports development business and the parent said, “I’m taking my kids to Isreal but I don’t practice the religion.” I said to myself, you have to ask him why is he taking his kids if he’s not that into it. He said “it’s important that my kids know their heritage, where they come from and other details that they will learn on this trip.” At that moment I said I’m taking kids to Africa next year. Not sure how but I will do it. Leigh-Ann Buchanan started the Nyah Project and took 7 kids to Ghana that year. I reached out to her and said “hey I don’t want to plan anything but ill sponsors 3 kids so it can be ten kids and I’ll go on the trip.” The rest is history. Life changing experience.”
Starting the business in the first place.
Okpalobi says, “Started my business with a dollar and a DREAM literally. If it didn’t work then I would be miserable working for someone and hating it daily. Living in regret is the worst punishment.”
Be nice and ask for help.
Okpalobi says, “I can be difficult at times and that rubs people the wrong way. I’m also extremely confident so at times it appears that I don’t need help or anyone when I really do.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Adding another location.
Okpalobi explains, “We would add another DREAM Academy in Homestead, cutler Bay, Perrine, New Orleans or Killeen, Texas to help youth in the community win at life through our program”
“Never waste the opportunity of youth” – Nathan Vandelay
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Images: Dibia DREAM, Brandon A. Okpalobi