This month, we speak with Anthony Ron, aka DJ Dubbz, for our Spotlight On Dreamer Alumni series. Thank you Anthony for sharing your story with us!
Name: Anthony Ron
Dreamer Cohort: Chelsea 1
Year joined program/Which grade were you in?:
1993 - 2nd Grade
What did you think about “I Have A Dream” – New York when you were in school?
There was a time when I didn't want to go to the "I Have a Dream" Program because I felt it was another extension of school. I did not yet know the value of the commitment that my Sponsor, Jeff Gural, had made with me as a second grader. In the earlier years I cringed at the fact that I was going to an after school program where I had supervised homework help. During that time in my life, I had developed chronic asthma, and was in and out of the hospital. I would miss school for weeks, and struggle to complete my assignments at home. My biggest support systems were my family, and “I Have A Dream” – New York. My counselor Hannah Wise who would soon become the Project Coordinator was more than just a counselor, she doubled as a big sister in some regards. Hannah would help me with my math and writing homework on a weekly basis. It was the first time in my life that someone who was a total stranger was actually rooting for me to win. I don't know if she treated everyone the same way, she could have made us all feel like this. But, coming from a Housing Project from the inner city, naturally you are conditioned to not trust people. Especially the kindness of a stranger. Hannah was probably the reason why I stuck with the program to this day. She has since moved into the healthcare field as a Registered Nurse and continues to be a great support system in my life.
What High School did you attend, and what year did you graduate?
La Salle Academy - 2004
Did you go to college/secondary school? If so, where and what did you study?
[I graduated from] John Jay College [in] New York City, I studied Public Administration.
What are you doing now?
Currently I am a new business owner. I opened up my doors in January 2013. This company has enabled me to have many different kinds of clients from all walks of the entertainment industry. I started out as a DJ when I was 12 years old, and I have carved my niche in the market and am currently diversifying my services to reach a new client base.
How would you explain the “I Have A Dream” program to someone who had never heard of it?
It is an organization that enables kids to make their own choices. They can choose to sit and learn more, and become a more stable human being, or they can choose to simply not. It is an organization that mentors children, helps with tutoring, and ultimately pays your college tuition, in the event that financial aid through government funding is not possible. This promise is a guarantee, it can be cashed out to the bank, it all depends on the Dreamer if they choose that path.
How did being a Dreamer affect you?
It affected me a greatly because it exposed me to a world that I had no idea existed. Coming from the inner city in Manhattan, there were many distractions and obstacles that we faced in our environment. IHDF-NY showed us that there were positive people out in the world that actually were betting on us to win. That was an amazing idea for me, to meet people that cared for me unconditionally.
What were some of your favorite memories about being a Dreamer?
I remember us all packing into a bus and heading to our Sponsor Jeff's house. He would break out a cotton candy machine, a popcorn maker, and we would enjoy his huge estate in upstate New York. The Dreamers would bring their parents along for the trip and it was a really great bonding experience between parents, dreamers, and staff.
Would you be where you are today without “I Have A Dream” – New York? Why or why not?
I don't believe that I will be in the place I am career wise without the "I Have a Dream" Foundation. They nourished my goals before I even set them. They kept me focused on my studies throughout high school and college. So many of my peers did not have the I Have a Dream in their lives, and it's sad to say that most of them are nowhere near where they want to be in life. I think a huge part of my confidence and business sense comes from my upbringing. IHDF-NY played a huge part in that, I truly don't know where my place would be in this world if they were not a part of my life.
What does your family think of “I Have A Dream” – New York?
They were always very supportive of me being involved in IHDF-NY. There was never a time when there was any type of friction between my parents and the IHDF-NY staff. My family believes that because of their help, I was equipped with the social skills necessary to land certain deals that came my way over the years.
Are you still involved with “I Have A Dream” – New York? How?
I am still involved with the I Have A Dream Foundation. I am on the IHDF-NY Junior [Dreamer] Alumni Board. I also have a possible "Green" venture that could be a great thing for the foundation as well. This is one of my newest ventures, I will give details on it when things do materialize.
If you are a Dreamer Alum who would like to share your story for the blog, please contact Thierry Cazeau at firstname.lastname@example.org