SOURCE: U.S. Dream Academy

U.S. Dream Academy

April 23, 2012 13:20 ET

U.S. Dream Academy to Honor Heisman Winner Mark Ingram, Jr., Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler, NFL's George Allen "Pat" Summerall, Lars Houmann, Hilton O. Smith, and Kathy Victor at 11th Annual "Power of a Dream Gala" to Benefit At-Risk Youth on May 1st

Actor Lamman Rucker, Mary Mary, Chef Jeff Henderson, James Brown and Members of Congress Among Special Guests

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Apr 23, 2012) - The U.S. Dream Academy today announced its "Power of a Dream" Gala, themed "Dreams for the Future" to be held on Tuesday, May 1, 2011 (Reception 5:45pm, Dinner 7:00pm) in Washington, DC to benefit their nationally recognized after-school programs for children. The event will be held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel located at 2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008. Each year the Power of a Dream Gala attracts the support of Hollywood celebrities, political figures, corporate executives, community leaders, and VIPs to invest and raise awareness to further help U.S. Dream Academy programs succeed in making a difference in the lives of at-risk youth and children of incarcerated parents.

Honorees for this year's event, who are also making a difference in young people's lives with their philanthropic efforts, include: Lars Houmann (President & CEO Florida Hospital), Mark Ingram, Jr. (Heisman Trophy Winner New Orleans Saints of the National Football League), Laura Kaeppeler (Miss America 2012), Hilton O. Smith (Sr. Vice-President, Community Affairs Turner Construction Company), George Allen "Pat" Summerall (Former National Football League Player and Television Sportscaster), and Kathy Victor (Board of Directors Chairman, Independent Business Owners Association International).

A special highlight of the evening will include performances by the U.S. Dream Academy DREAMKids, Grammy Award Winning Gospel Group Mary Mary, and Grammy Award nominee and founder of U.S. Dream Academy, Wintley Phipps. Chef Jeff Henderson, Executive Chef, Best Selling Author, Multi-Grammy Award and Star of the Food Network's "The Chef Jeff Project," will serve as the keynote speaker. Emmy Award and Edward R. Murrow Award winning anchor (ABC7/WJLA TV) Cynne' Simpson and popular actor and Star of Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns" Lamman Rucker will emcee the gala.

Honorary Congressional Gala Co-Chairs for the event will be The Honorable Ben Cardin (D-MD.) and The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD). Corporate Gala Chair is Darien C. Grant, J.D. of Turner Construction Company. VIP guests will include Members of Congress, Sport legends, Corporate Executives and community leaders. Sponsors of the Gala include Amway (Presenting Sponsor), Insurance Advantage, USA Funds, Anna Sue Dowd, Southwest, Wells Fargo, Florida Hospital, Ancile Solutions, Adventist Health Systems, Kaloram Partners, G.S. Proctor and Kelly & Associates Insurance Group / KTBS Payroll.

The U.S. Dream Academy Gala Honorary Congressional Committee includes the support of The Honorable Orrin Hatch (R-UT), The Honorable Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), The Honorable John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.), Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), The Honorable Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA37), Rep. André Carson (IN-7), and The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

About the U.S. Dream Academy

The mission of the U.S. Dream Academy is to empower children who are at risk of future incarceration to maximize their potential by providing them with academic, social and values enrichment through supportive mentoring and the use of technology. The vision is to create an army of young men and women with positive dreams for their lives, equipped with the tools to make those dreams a reality with the core values of Faith, Freedom, Inspiration and Integrity.

The U.S. Dream Academy focuses on impacting the lives of children with incarcerated parents and children falling behind in school. The program, founded by renowned gospel singer Wintley Phipps, is currently operating in 10 cities nationwide. Its research-based initiatives challenge over 600 young people daily and engage them in active learning through one-to-one mentoring, strong academics, and technology-driven activities and curricula.

In Washington, D.C., the Dream Academy Learning Center is co-located at the Ferebee Hope Elementary School where students have access to after-school academic support, character building and dream building activities along with weekly mentoring by positive adult volunteers.

Important Statistics

  • One in 40 children in the United States has an incarcerated parent.
  • More than 10 million children in the U.S. have had a parent in prison.
  • Each year about 400,000 mothers and fathers finish serving prison or jail sentences, and return home.

Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler video supporting the U.S. Dream Academy 11th Annual "Power of a Dream Gala"

For tickets and sponsorship information: visit or contact Angela Bonitto, Director of Development: phone: 410.772.7143, email:

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Priscilla Clarke
    Clarke PR
    Tel. (202)723-2200
    Cell. (240)476-9643
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