The Greater Wheeling Area Youth Outreach, Inc. is committed to empowering young people from lower income families with the opportunities, skills, and vision to achieve long-term dreams and goals.
Seeing academically underperforming children from low-income households being left behind by northwest suburban public schools prompted Philip Herman in 1997 to establish a supplemental education program for low-income suburban youth of all races.
The program, originally coordinated under the auspices of the Wheeling and River Trails Park Districts, provided academically struggling students with adequate time to study and a chance to participate in healthy group recreational activities.
Herman's vision was for his after-school program to blossom into a larger scale tutoring/mentoring initiative for middle- and high school students. That program became the Greater Wheeling Area Youth Outreach, Inc. (GWAYO), and was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation on August 16, 2001.
How is the poverty cycle broken? According to the Harvard Family Research Project, a need exists for innovative programs that will resist the tide of failure among disenfranchised minority youth and adequately prepare them for success in postsecondary programs. In addition, students need a place where they can get away from stresses of daily life and study in a safe, affirming and fun environment. The Dream Maker's Program has been put into motion to assist students in building upon their achievements, year after year, alongside other youth who want to do well academically.