Almost everyone knows this man as an incredible rapper and recording artist, but how many people know that Jermaine Cole (better known as J. Cole) is also the founder of The Dreamville Foundation? That's right, J. Cole of Forrest Hills Drive started his own foundation back in October of 2011 to help provide better futures for urban youth in Fayetteville, North Carolina.Just when you thought he couldn't get any greater, he did. So, what exactly does The Dreamville Foundation do for urban youth?
From early on, Cole knew that he wanted to give back to his community after he pursued his dreams of becoming a rapper. He wanted to encourage youth to follow their dreams and present them with opportunities to do so. On the foundation's website, it explains that it was "created to “bridge the gap” between the worlds of opportunity and the urban youth of Fayetteville, NC. The foundation’s goal for the urban youth is to have a dream, believe in their dream, and achieve their dream. The Dreamville Foundation is dedicated to creating programs and events that will allow our youth to be “Set up for Success.” Being raised in Fayetteville, Cole knows firsthand what it is like to try to achieve your goals there and what opportunities are available for local teens. Plus, knowing that teens tend to be discouraged to follow certain dreams, he felt it necessary to show them that they can achieve any goal they set and become anything they wish to be, just like he did; they just need the right support and outlets.
Even though his dream was to become a recording artist, Cole wants the youth to know that it is okay to have a different dream than his; the foundation supports the exploration of every profession. Cole states, "I want to start the process of showing them there are other options besides what's on the screen. They don't have to be a rapper or an athlete; there are people who manage the rappers, who book the shows. There are so many jobs you can do; this is about expanding their minds to those possibilities." Often, schools don't talk about the jobs of those who produce music artists and coordinate their shows and tours, it's more about the business world. There is a certain type of neglect for these other jobs people tend to forget about, while others dream of pursuing. Cole recognized this need and decided to channel part of his career to developing the careers of others.
The Dreamville Foundation has a series of programs every year to help the youth of Cumberland County. Two of these annual programs are the Back to School Supply Giveaway and the Annual Dreamville Weekend. The Back to School Supply Giveaway supplies kids in this county the tools and supplies they need to have a successful school year. Unfortunately, the not all of the families in this given area can financially prepare for their child's school year. Fortunately, The Dreamville Foundation makes transitioning into the next year of education a much easier ride by providing kids with all of their essentials from binders and folders, to backpacks and clothing. The Annual Dreamville Weekend hosts a series of events that provide the youth with opportunities to get involved in the community and to make connections with people that can help them pursue their dreams. Some of the events include the Young Men's Book Club and Appreciation Dinner that recognizes the community leaders that continue to have a positive impact on the community through the foundation, while also taking the time to recognize outstanding student efforts. The foundation also hosts a conference that includes a Career Day panel of African-American professionals representing a wide spread of different careers. The foundation even has a book club! If you check out their website, you can take a look at some of the books they suggest youth to read.
Like almost every organization, members of all communities are encouraged to volunteer to get involved in this wonderful cause. You can volunteer to help out at their events, or even donate just a few dollars. Every little bit helps. Even if you're not a fan of rap, or just not a fan of J. Cole, it is easy to see that his heart is in the right place and it is undeniable that he has a passion for helping the community achieve their dreams.