The Sun Never Stopped Shining

My last blog post was titled “I don’t want anyone to miss this!” Now a while later since we’ve been so busy, I get to write about what really DID happen on May 12th because, truly, I don’t want anyone to miss THIS EVENT STORY and FB LIVE VIDEO BELOW:


On May 12th in Philadelphia this year the temperature was about 40 F / 4.5 C and it was pouring rain. We had planned for months. The vendors. The workshops. The Zoom call with students in Cairo.

dreamline under clouds1People had really put out. The Photobooth vendor driving up from Wilmington. The artist who designed the Dream Spiral.


The Dreamline teachers from Dallas who arrived with 1,000 Dreamline Banners from their schools and other as well.


The folks who were doing workshops on fabric printing, social media for change, and more.


The dedicated event volunteers who showed up early and worked tirelessly to get everything in place, ready, and rolling.


The spoken word and hip hop artists who were donating their time and talent–and it was a lot of talent.

We had a huge lineup of activities and fun and expression all set for everyone! You can check out the program:

Screenshot 2019-06-13 10.46.22
Click to download the pdf

May 12th was the coldest most rainy Mother’s Day imaginable.


But the sun never stopped shining at Cherry Street Pier!



Right before 1:00 when we were scheduled to start, they started to come. And they came, and they came. I couldn’t believe it when the Pier reported to us after it was all over that more than

450 people

walked through the doors to learn about and support the dreams from students across our city and around the world!


Ciro Screen

You just can’t stop this thing!

 I am so exceptionally grateful, and can’t wait until next year.


Special thanks to our videographer José Sevillano, anchor Patrice Seko, and Arabic narrator Ranem Atina.

Interviews with Organizers Jeffrey and Serita. Introduction in Spanish.



For more content see our Facebook Page @DreamlineB

I don’t want anyone to miss this…

I do not want anyone to miss what will happen on May 12th in Philadelphia. There is such an outpouring of creativity, generosity, and energy, I’m often feeling overwhelmed by it.

Just today, I was on a call with Michael Munetsi, an art teacher in Dallas, Texas, who spoke of how her students got to know who they were, truly, through the Dreamline experience. It is that deep connection that will be celebrated en masse on May 12 .

And I want you to be a part of it. If you live near us, come. Get a free Eventbrite ticket here.

If you live elsewhere and Facebook is accessible to you, follow us to watch our Facebook Live stream. The schedule for it is at the end of this blog.

But don’t take my word for it. Take the Walking Tour of May 12 below for a preview, and see for yourself. I look forward to seeing you there.

What you see below is a diagram of Cherry Street Pier, the site for our May 12 Dream Festival.  For a sense of scale, the whole thing, from left to right, is about 500 feet long. It  connects to the street on the left side where people enter. The rest is surrounded by water and there’s lots of glass. It is an early 20th century pier, recently renovated by the Delaware River Waterfront  Corporation as an art and community space. It just opened last fall.  It is the ideal place to let dreams fly. More on the history of the pier here.

And now let’s start our walking tour…

When you walk in you’ll be greeted at the welcome table (far left).  If you have an Eventbrite ticket, you’ll get a free raffle entry. And we’ll be giving away Dream in a BottleKits, a Dream-Branded bottle with a beautiful design created by Dreamline staffer Grace Bridy, that has a poster inside on how to bring Dreamline into your community.

One of the Pier’s great food trucks from Cooperage Restaurant is on your left. Further down, you’ll see our socially minded vendors and community organization information tables. Other food vendor trucks you’ll find down the Pier are Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Birdie’s Biscuits, and Harden’s Indonesian Fare, along with the Pier Beverage Truck.

Moving down the pier, you’ll encounter our workshop tables where you can stop in to learn techniques for simple printing on cloth (great for Dream Banners), how to start your own podcast, or how to make a Dream Bracelet you can wear home. And those are just a few.

In front of the workshop tables, you’ll be able to enter, for the first time ever, our newly revealed Dream Spiral, an immersive installation of Dreamline Banners from around the world. You’ll walk in, surrounded on both sides by 7-foot high “walls” of cloth Dream Banners. Moving into the center, you’ll be entirely surrounded by art and words on cloth. There you’ll be invited to write your own dream on a small piece of paper and add it to the “waterfall of dreams” hanging at the center of the spiral.

When you emerge, you’ll be fully ready to sit down and make your own Dreamline Banner with markers and cloth at the nearby Banner Making station set up for all who are attending. Then you can take it to the Dreamlining Table, adding it to the Digital Dreamline to be instantly shared around the world on the Dreamine gallery and mobile app.

Step over to the Photo Booth, donated by Snap Happy Photo Booth to get a great shot. Finally, attach your Dream Banner to one of the Dream Cubes being created down the Pier in our PVC Zone–where you can help construct PVC Dream Cubes if you like building things.

If you step back and look up, you’ll see the Pier’s two-sided video display overhead. It’s 11 feet long and 7 feet high!. When we’re streaming live on Facebook, you’ll see it there. And between segments, you’ll see some of the Dreamline Banners from around the world that have been uploaded to our app, some with the voices of students reading them. And with tech luck, we’ll have students from different places around the US and the world reading the Dreamline banners from that screen as part of our Spoken Dreams segment (see below.)

Speaking of sound, you could be hearing any of the following performers who have volunteered to add their art to our event this year: spoken word artist Word Smith and his DJ, vocalist Aylee, rap and spoken word artist T Coda, vocalist James Allen, vocalist Trina Davis, and others.

Continuing down the Pier and toward the performers, you’ll find the our Dream Philly Festival Raffle and Merch Table where you can buy a chance to win one of the very generous packages donated by local business such as United by Blue, Fringe Arts, Bluecross Riverrink, and Shot Tower Coffee. You can also pick up Dream buttons, tattoos, and other items to help you keep focused on what matters most.

As you get to the end of the indoor part of the pier, you’ll see the Ripoff Contest area to your left (along with the PVC Zone). There, contestant teams will be competing to see who can rip sheets into Dream Banner sized cloths in fierce timed competition to win honor and prizes–and do community service at the same time. The banners will be given to schools who need them.

Finally, before you step outside, you’ll see and hear the stage area where the Pier’s PA –that totally fills the space will broadcast our performers. At 2:30 (US Eastern Time) it will be the center of our brief remarks followed by our Spoken Dreams segment of the day. You’ll see bleacher seating in front of the performance area along with a large group of wooden chairs. Spoken Dreams will feature individuals speaking their Dreamline Banners and the Banners that inspire them for all to hear.

Walk past this and step outside. The end of the Pier is completely open sky, filled with planters, and surrounded on three sides by the water of the Delaware River. To the left you’ll see the 1.8 mile long Benjamin Franklin Bridge spanning the river from Philadelphia to Camden, New Jersey. And all around you’ll see Dream Banners blowing in the breeze. (If the weather is rainy they will be inside as there is plenty of space.) You’ll also find two of the Pier’s food trucks in this space so you can get a snack and take some time to read and enjoy art and words of dreams from Texas to Chestnut Street.

And while you’re out here, you’ll definitely want to step into one of the free 10-minute standing yoga stretch sessions donated and led by Flex Yoga’s founder Aisha Shabazz. She’ll help you open your heart to receive these powerful messages of hope.

And that’s our tour. I very much hope you can experience this in person on May 12, 2019. But if you can’t I hope you can tune in virtually to find meaning in the fabric of our connected dreams.

Below is the schedule of our Facebook Live feeds on May 12th. Follow our Facebook to get and share our Video Link on the day.

May 12, 2019 Dream Philly Festival Facebook Live
Video Stream Schedule

All times are in USA Eastern Time. Time Zone Converter Here.

Intro with Jeffrey and Serita, event organizers. Quick look at the food trucks and the whole Pier.

Highlighting the Workshops  in progress.

A look at the Dream Spiral and all of the Dream Banners on display.

2:15–2:30 Call in time for Facebook Liver Dreamline readings from around the world. Will show on the Pier’s 11 x 7 ft / 2  x 3.3 m video wall.

Spoken Dream Segment with introductory speakers, attendees reading their own dreams or those that inspire them,.

Wrap up with Jeffrey & Serita and interviews with attendees.

“It’s a worldwide thing.”

img_20190414_0753329140980852658822022.jpgLast Monday I was on a call with Dave Potter,  a thought leader in global ed, an individual who has worked with iEARN and other groups for years and now works for the Kind Foundation on Empatico, their school-to-school connection project. He was saying one of the challenges of engaging schools in innovative work is that when the leader leaves the school, so does the program.

But NOT in Dallas, and not with Dreamline. The Anson Jones Elementary School had been doing Dreamline as a whole school for the past few years. At the end of last year the principal, Mr. Herrera left. And so did Dreamline art teacher Candice Lindsay. But instead of folding, the program exploded, holding its own at Anson Jones, moving into Mr. Herrera’s and Ms. Lindsay’s new schools and pulling in others as well.

Dallas mayoral candidate Scott Griggs (and son) with event organizers Shannon and Candice.

The result blew me away when I attended the first-ever multi-school Dreamline Festival in Dallas last Saturday.  Started last fall as the idea of Shannon Kline and Candice Lindsay, it happened last week and it was magical. Originally planned as an outdoor event, it moved to a  donated space to get out of the heavy rain. Then the power was off, but the organizers never lost a beat and were gaining power every second–especially with a donated generator. As I said to the group, “When the power is off, the power is ON.” And it surged on Saturday.


Nearly a thousand Dreamline banners, Dream Cubes crowned with fairy lights, a first-ever Dream Rock activity, group art, face painting, Dreamline Banner making, and more, were featured.


The event was staffed largely by the middle school art club of Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School. And there was strong participation by Arcadia Park Elementary, Hall Elementary, Harry Stone Elementary, Sam Rosen Elementary, and Herfurth Elementary.


The center of the event was the collection of Dreamline banners from across the city surrounded by the energetic blast of sound and light from a volunteer professional DJ.


It was a day I will always remember and that, I imagine, all present will carry with them in the years to come. And they’re already talking about next year.

A few quotes from middle school students at the event:

“It’s like you’re a big family when you do the Dreamline, however you don’t know each other yet.”

“It makes you see how humankind people are.”

“There’s people from all over the world, but they all kind of share the same purpose, which is like to make this world a better place, to make it better so people will be happy, and they want to help others. That’s what kinda got me.”

“You’re pouring your heart out over an image, over some piece of art.”

“The part of it that got me excited was that I know people would actually hear my voice.”

“This applies to a lot of people, not just me. It’s a worldwide thing.”

I could not have said it better.

Seamless: Social Emotional Learning & Dreamline

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You’ve read here before about Shannon Kline, the Dreamline teacher who, in 2018, won a national Sanford Education Award for her work with Dreamline and Social Emotional Learning. In this week’s blog, Shannon Kline explains clearly and simply how the Dreamline student experience aligns with the Social Emotional Learning competencies so many educators are striving to develop in their students. Thank you, Shannon!

by Shannon Kline
Anson Jones Elementary, Dallas, TX

Shannon Kline

Dreamline and SEL are directly related concepts that can be intertwined for an overreaching learning experience. SEL is based on five competencies in which areas of learning are based. These competencies are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making (, 2018). Dreamline focuses on what students value and what their dreams are. Making a solid connection between the two is seamless as educators help students develop their banners. While the connection does not have to be direct, it is modeled, and SEL can be seen through the experience of Dreamline.


When beginning to develop the dream banner the students first work on establishing their values. To do this, students must understand what they value and why they value it. This directly correlates to self-awareness. Part of self-awareness is identifying emotions and having an accurate self- perception. Understanding emotions and our perception of self helps us to develop what we value.

Values which are a person’s principals usually first come from the standards we set for ourselves. By being aware of who we are and what we believe personally our values start to take shape.


Our values are also related to self-management. The standards we set based on how we view ourselves then translates to the way we manage our behaviors. This connection shows that what we value leads to how we choose to behave. A person may value being courageous. This will lead to behaviors such as advocating for others. A person may value being kind. This will lead to behaviors that may result in service or giving. A person will manage what behaviors they have according to what they value. Not only does self-management encompass how a person behaves but it also relates to a person’s self-motivation and how a person sets goals. Values are a driving force to motivation and goals which in turn cause students to have a dream.


When talking about developing the value flags with students a teacher does not have to directly reference the competencies that are being fostered or connected. With Dreamline the act of developing the value portion of the banner allows for these skills to be addressed without being explicitly taught.

With SEL there are several components of implementation. One of those components is integrating the concepts of the competencies into different activities. Developing the value banner is an exceptional way to address SEL competencies with students.


The second portion of the banner is the dream banner. This part of the Dreamline project not only relates to self-awareness and self-management by carrying values into dreams, but it also relates to social awareness and responsible decision making. Social awareness allows for empathy and respecting diversity. When students begin to develop the dream portion of the flag they start to think in socially aware ways. One way to introduce this is to ask the students the problems they believe the world is currently facing. This activity promotes thinking about social issues or social injustices. Problems may include too many wars, pollution, or needing a cure for disease. This is working with the competency of social awareness. Students then can brainstorm how to solve these problems and translate that into their dream for the Dreamline banner.

Developing the dream poem with social awareness in mind students then begin to think about how to make responsible decisions to take what they see as a problem and formulate a solution.

Responsible decision making is an SEL competency that can be expanded through the creation of a dream banner. Formulating a solution or dream for the world internally provokes responsible decision- making ideas through questioning. A student may ask themselves “what can I do to help stop wars, what can I do to combat pollution, or how can I cure disease?” By eliciting these internal questions, decision making starts to formulate. Students will begin to write out the solution in a poem that shows the decisions they will make to ensure the solution to the social issue is achieved.


There is a natural connection of creating Dreamline banners and working with SEL competencies. Dreamline is not an explicit instruction of the competencies but rather an extension of putting the SEL competencies into action. Dreamline offers an outlet not only to express a dream that students have but to pull from SEL to develop those dreams.


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