We have the kids…They have the Dream…Lets Build them their Dream Kitchen


In 2018 close to 2,000 students in our community took part in a survey. The intent of the survey? To learn what they need and want. We learned that a majority of the girls wanted to learn archery. A majority of the boys were interested in drones, and combined more than 900 wanted to learn to cook.

With that information we began to remodel the 1950’s kitchen in our community learning center with the goal that it become a teaching kitchen where they could learn to cook, and gain vocational training in the culinary profession. In addition we plan to provide cooking classes for parents, and anyone else interested in learning how other cultures cook.

The model is this. If you take a cooking class, please teach a class. You could teach how to bake a pie, make tamales’, cook pierogies, how to make Indian fry bread, can vegetables, make jam or whatever is your specialty. In essence we all learn from each other, and teach each other.  Sounds like a sweet plan doesn’t it.

We have completed stage one of the remodel with full demo of the 1950’s kitchen. We will need to rewire, sheetrock, paint, put in new lighting, cabinets, counters, shelves, backsplash, flooring, gas range/oven, oven exhaust hood, commercial grade dishwasher, commercial grade garbage disposal, and more, but it will all be worth it if just one child is able to realize their dream.

We hope you will invest in the success of these children and teens who dream of savory and sweet success in the kitchen.

To learn more, and see photo’s click on this link: Kitchen Remodel

To learn how you can invest in the remodel click on this link: Invest in the kids Dream Kitchen

Welcome our Summer/Fall Intern Henry Cox Raman

With the help of Salem Dream Center summer/fall intern Henry Cox Raman, Henryan OSU Engineering student, the kitchen in our learning center is taking shape. The 1950’s stove and sink have been removed. The configuration of the kitchen has been opened up to become more efficient and welcoming. A new deep sink, counters, cupboards, a gas oven and a dishwasher have been installed.

New Electrical wiring was installed by Kevin Wood and All City Power, who donated all their labor and parts. Thank You Kevin and team.

We are working to get the funding to run gas to the learning center, and to plumb it into the kitchen. As soon as that happens Karo will be able to teach teens, young adults and parents cooking, as well as cook for the kids who come to the learning center to Study at the Edge, our after school study group.


What really excited us was watching as Henry took his passion to build, and passed on his wisdom and passion to SDC teens who worked along side of him every step of the way in the remodel.

Henry in the kitchen









Henry quickly became one of the kids favorites as he worked with us at grade school camp in August. Henry has a very special way of relating to the kids and making sure they know how incredible they are. He chose Dung Beetle for his camp name, if that doesn’t make a statement, we don’t know what does.

This year at camp we had a one autistic child, and one down syndrome child. We quickly realized that Henry has a unique gift that helps him to interact with these amazing children, and a wonderful ability to calm them when they felt a bit overwhelmed by all the craziness of camp. He would spend hours just hanging out with them, teaching them about the nature around them, or talking about what was important to them, like Harry Potter, or dancing.

If you would like to learn more about Nuestra Casa, please visit our Nuestra Casa Facebook Page

Jose Lemus joins the Dream Team

We are excited to announce that Jose Lemus has joined our dream team!

Jose Image

We are excited to announce that Jose Lemus has joined our dream team!

Thanks to a grant from The Collins Foundation, on December 1st we were able to hire Jose as Program Manager for The Edge; our community outreach programs.

We met Jose 14 years ago on the 1st day Dream Center began in 2004. Back then he was a very polite and cute little 10 year old boy who went by Beto. It didn’t take long for us to realize how special Jose was. Jose has an incredible heart, and is always ready to help anyone in need. His work ethic is beyond impressive. Jose was one of Dream Centers first success stories as he attended, and graduating from College. Jose then went on to work teaching in the school district, as a one on one specialist. Jose is also a Hot Shot, as in; every summer Jose goes out to fight forest fires, putting his live on the line to protect others.

Jose was one of the first teens to get the Dream Center vision: “Giving of yourself is crucial to rising out of poverty” As a teen Jose began volunteering at Dream Center, and then volunteering every Friday night at City Vibe, a local outreach serving Urban Campers and the Homeless. Not only did Jose serve, he set an example for others as brought other teens to volunteer along side of him.

We will always remember the crisp fall evening at Dinner on the Green when we asked Jose why he volunteered to feed the homeless every Friday night, while other teens were at their High School football game? His reply: “Because it’s what you do, and now it’s what we do”

Jose has big plans to help Dream Center become an even more positive influence in the lives of children, youth, teens and their families. He has already had an immense impact on our Saturday programing; The Edge. Jose’s “Everyone is included always” approach to all of the programing has taken The Edge to a new place, one where more children and families are receiving the the attention they desire, and deserve.J

As part of Jose’s job he will be working directly in the schools four days a week supporting the teachers and staff. He will also be working at our learning center Nuestra Casa evenings helping teens as they study.

As part of the Collins Foundation Grant to hire Jose, they made a generous matching funds challenge of $20,000 to help continue Jose’s employment, and to support SDC programs. Would you please consider becoming a monthly sustainer in 2018 and help us take advantage of the Collins Foundations matching funds challenge?

Matching Sustainers Challenge

Karo Thom joining Salem Dream Center

Karo Thom joins the Dream Team!

sdc_panel_02We are excited to announce that long time Dream Center volunteer and supporter Karo Thom has joined the Salem Dream Center. Effective February 1st Karo will become Program Director for Nuestra Casa, our learning center located in the heart of the Edgewater District.
Karo brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in mentorship, education and business management. She will oversee all programs, including educational programs and vocational training. Karo will personally lead the culinary and catering vocational training courses, as well as cooking classes. Her desire is to help equip teens and young adults to succeed in the culinary world with hands on experience. Karo being a chef and successful owner of restaurants as well as Alcyone Catering are sure to help empower teens and young adults, and insure they have opportunities to succeed in life.
Karo’s desire to help educate teens and their families on how to cook healthy meals within a budget, as well as how to cook using local produce, directly targets one of SDC’s core focuses, Food Security.
Karo has a history of helping teens and young adults who are struggling, to overcome the challenges that they face. Many have gone onto very successful careers and productive lives.

Would you please consider becoming a Dream Maker?

A Dream Maker is someone who faithfully supports Dream Center with monthly support for a period of one or more years.
We are at a critical point where we need to create a strong donor base as we continue, and as we grow helping people transition out of poverty, illiteracy, hunger and oppression.
The funding that we have been blessed with from West Salem Foursquare as part of their launching of Salem Dream Center and City Vibe in January has come to an end.
The amazing one-time donations we received at last February’s luncheon will run out in November.
We have been so blessed by all the support that we have received, and we thank each of you who have supported us, and those who continue to support us, but we are at a cross road where we need to increase our support from private donors, and other sources as we move into this new phase in our becoming an independent non-profit supporting at risk youth and struggling families.
Would you please commit to pray for us? We feel confident that God wants Dream Center to not simply continue, but to grow. We know this because we see lives changed, and we see amazing things happening through our programs and ministry.
After much prayer, we reach out to you and ask you to come along side of us and devotedly make a difference.
How can you help? Commit to faithfully sponsor a child monthly for one or more years:
• If 200 people faithfully sponsor one child every month with a $50 donation, we would be able to continue to bless children and families in our community with basic programs and support.
• If 300 of the 1000 people who follow Dream Center on face book faithfully sponsor one child every month with a $50 donation, we would be able to provide all of the programs that we have these past 10 years, including Field Trips, Summer Camp, Easter Party, Holiday Food Boxes, Dream Tree Christmas Gifts, Sneaky Elf, Emergency Food Boxes and Shelter, Clothing, Educational Support and much more.
• If 500 of the 1000 people who follow Dream Center on face book faithfully sponsor one child every month for a year with a $50 donation, we would realize our dream to create Nuestra Casa (Community Learning Center) and run all the programs listed above that we have these past 10 Years.
Would you please consider providing monthly support to help us? If you are able to support us with less than $50, thank you, every donation helps, and for those of you who are able to support us by sponsoring more than one child, thank you, you are making dreams come true.
We are also looking for people to host in home gatherings where Renee and I could present Dream Center to a group of people who you know, and whom you feel would be able to support Dream Center on a larger scale.
Please know that in addition to asking for your individual help, we are aggressively seeking grants, but that is a slow process. We are also looking at a wide range of sources of support from various private, corporate, governmental, and regional groups.
In the past ten years Dream Center and City Vibe have broken the chains of poverty for hundreds and hundreds of people. We have helped to instill a desire to achieve a better life, and we have provided the tools needed to realize those dreams. Today we stand at a new chapter and we are very excited to see what lays before us as we develop a learning center where children and adults can break the fangs of poverty, illiteracy, language barriers, hunger, unemployment and under employment. This is exciting. Please join us and make dreams come true.
All donations that we receive are eligible as a charitable donation, and you will receive a receipt letter with our tax ID information.
Donations can be mailed to:
Salem Dream Center
PO Box 5976
Salem Or. 97304

Why? Because you do!

When Dream Center began we stepped out in faith with this belief; if we love people exactly as they are, without expectation or requirement, they will ask us why!

The exclamation point after why is not a typo, it’s there with sincere intent. Yes it’s a question, but we believe if we live out our faith the excitement and wonder that invokes the question, overshadows that it is a question.

Over these past ten years we have watched as that belief has become a reality, with former Hells Angels, gang members, moms, dads, children and elderly asking; “Why do you do this!”

It’s then that we are able to share how Christ impacted our lives and we have no choice but to follow the example he set for us, loving people until they ask why!

This past year an ever growing group of youth and teens have been volunteering at Dinner on the Green. It started with four teens led by Jose’, but this group of youth has grown to 15, the youngest is eight, the oldest 20.

Every Friday night they volunteer to help feed and support hungry men women and chidren. They forgo football games, dances and parties, and instead spend their Friday night blessing others. They work with passion and dedication. To be honest they make many of the more senior volunteers look like slackers (they aren’t, it just looks that way) with how hard they work.

They come with smiles on their faces and they are most often the first to arrive and the last to leave. Their passion is obvious and it’s contagious.

Recently at a Dinner on the Green I asked Jose’ “why do you do this?”

He looked at me with an almost quizzical look and without hesitation replied; “Because it’s what you do!’ ‘It’s what you have always done, you come to Dream Center and show us we matter, that you care, and you make us feel like we matter’. ‘We do it because we have to, we have to live out what we believe, just like you do.”

When we began we expected people to ask us why! But I honestly didn’t expect so many people to then live out the example we lived out, the example Christ set for us.

So the answer to the question, what happens after they ask why? is this; They live it out in their lives and the example is replicated, it’s contagious.

I believe with all of my heart that we may be the first, or be the only Bible someone reads. So make it a read of a life time!

Jose’ and his faithful team of youth volunteers are living Bibles and that is a read I want to read and live.

Love until they ask why!