“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
“When I first started hearing about all the problems around the world and the issues facing our planet, I thought, ”Someone really needs to do something.’ Now I realize that someone is us.”
– Kelly, Young Dreamer
Dream Volunteers was established in 2007 by Executive Director Brian Buntz, a former Peace Corps Volunteer and classroom teacher, and Eric Lochtefeld, a Bay Area entrepreneur. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization currently operating in the US, Guatemala, India, Ghana, Vietnam, and Costa Rica, providing scholarships, hands-on training, and project support for teens in developing communities and global travel and service programs for students and young people seeking to learn more about the world.
Our vision stems from a deep-rooted commitment to the communities where our volunteers serve and the belief that by supporting a rising global generation of young and passionate “dreamers,” we will empower positive change throughout the world. These young people are the future, and it is in their hands that new solutions will arise. We intend to continue to expand our network of young dreamers and dream volunteers to create a global web of dreamers transforming their communities and the world.
“Honestly every decision I have made — from which school to go to [for college] to which major and which internships and which career options I am looking at — everything has been dictated by my experiences with this program.” – Allegra, Young Dreamer
The way we see the world affects the role we play in it. To realize potential, one needs to see opportunity and to feel empowered. Our mission is to position young people across the globe to expand their sense of possibility and become change makers through education, service, and cross-cultural connections.
Today more than ever, we need strong leaders, moral courage, and bold innovation. Our goal at Dream Volunteers is to foster the awareness, empathy, courage, and confidence necessary to encourage and inspire our young people to become the changemakers and problem-solvers our world will need to face the challenges ahead. We aim to inspire and empower a community of young changemakers and leaders shaping our future world.
We will challenge and engage you deeply. Dream Volunteers programs involve service (work) and reflection (thought). We ask participants to step outside their comfort zones, to consider alternate perspectives, to listen and learn from each other. We connect students from very different backgrounds and geographies, and we travel to parts of the world not often visited.
For those that are willing to take that leap — to open their hearts, arms and minds — we promise a life-changing experience!
Young Dreamer Network was formed in 2007 by Executive Director Brian Buntz, a former Peace Corps Volunteer and classroom teacher, and Eric Lochtefeld, a Bay Area entrepreneur. It is a 501(c)(3) public charity.
YDN began by providing financial support to promising teens in Guatemala and India. The Redwood City, California Chapter of YDN was launched in 2010 with 14 brave, young pioneers from Summit Preparatory and Everest Public High School. Since then, Dream Volunteers has grown throughout the Bay area, California and across the US and Canada. Today, thousands of young dreamers travel to destinations as far reaching as the Costa Rican mountain highlands to the desert city of Jaipur.
Volunteer groups come from schools and universities in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. Students and families in local communities in our primary destinations (Ghana, Guatemala, India, Vietnam, and Costa Rica) benefit from Dream Volunteers’ schools, scholarships, and community development projects.
what others are saying
This trip was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It was amazing to be immersed in the culture and meet such wonderful people. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. It was also great to know that I was making an impact on something important..Christina, Student (Costa Rica service trip)
The trip satisfied and surprised on many levels. I appreciated the concentrated time with my own family, and yet the reflections as part of the group were equally as valuable. The work in the village was meaningful and personal.There was a real opportunity to learn, meet and interact with those we there there to help. I intended this for a growth experience for my young sons, but I came away changed as well.Dara, Parent & Participant (Guatemala service trips)
My work at the school is the highlight for me. I love working with the kids. I never thought that I would have this responsibility of teaching and helping shape their education. I think I have grown a lot. I know when I first got [to India], I didn’t think I could do it (teach and take charge) and now, now I can’t imagine doing anything else!Katie, Student (Gap Year program)