Kyle Bacon is being honored as a Champion of Change for his efforts in Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Part of my mission and purpose is to help transform the lives of young people, families, and communities through the education and the development of our most underserved and under-supported youth. It is a passion that was modeled by my own family and a gift I received as a child of a longtime community leader and dedicated educator.
Many others also poured into my life over the years -- helping me walk into my purpose: an attorney cousin who planted a seed about college; a church community that supported my academic and small business endeavors; many loved ones who believed in me; and grandparents who made a way. But it did not take long for me to realize how many young people do not have such opportunities or a strong support system, and I saw first-hand what a difference that makes.
At Howard University, I studied International Marketing. I continued to be involved in my community, this time as a volunteer in public schools and Community Outreach Coordinator for our student government. I helped to mobilize the campus to make an impact in the lives of our surrounding community, especially the young people. I understood how important it was for all of us to just be there for a young person and be involved in their lives.
I channeled this interest as an independent academic resource worker as I worked with students in public and independent schools. Many struggled academically, but nearly all had a personal struggle. I found that, by showing genuine interest in a student’s success, their confidence began to build. I developed strategies to help through direct instruction and compassionate intervention, and saw many who had been failing come to achieve proficiency. These same strategies worked for enrichment and educational programs I developed for youth in Ohio who had fallen to the fringes through the penal system.
This is why I feel honored to work now as Mentor Program Coordinator of the U.S. Dream Academy Learning Center in Washington, D.C. I support the Dream Academy’s mission of empowering children who are at risk of incarceration to maximize their potential by providing them with academic, social, and values enrichment through supportive mentoring and the use of technology. In my current role, I help build relationships and layers of support for the young people we serve by bringing in mentors and volunteers who pour into the lives of our Dream Kids, as well as cultivating relationships with businesses, churches, and other key stakeholders in our children’s futures.
I’m passionate about the work I do because I have seen far too many young people end up in prison cells or the cemetery, where many promising and precious gifts die. When the potential to do dynamic things is quenched or life is ended prematurely, this world becomes less bright. At U.S. Dream Academy, we believe that a child with a dream is a child with a future – a bright future. Every child deserves the opportunity to live a life of choice of who and what they want to become, and to have the opportunities and supports to explore and realize their dreams. Through the caring adults who mentor and support the students in our Learning Center, our three pillars are brought to life: academic skill building, character development, and shaping student dreams of what they want to be when they grow up.
It is rewarding to share my passion with other adults who create time in their own busy lives to invest in the future by serving as dedicated mentors. It is thrilling to take part in the lives of young people as they learn they really are important and their lives do matter. I desire to live my life in such a way that inspires others to trust God, live by faith, and operate in the gifts and passions given them by investing in our youth. I am humbled and honored to be recognized as a White House Champion of Change. I’m appreciative of all who have believed in, supported, and invested in me and hope that someone is moved to take action today to support our dynamic Dream Kids in one of our U.S. Dream Academy Learning Centers across the country.
Kyle Bacon is a Mentor Program Coordinator of the U.S. Dream Academy Learning Center