Dr. Annie Neely at William M. Boyd Elementary School
Create Your Dreams was founded in 1994 when a group of civic-minded individuals met with Dr. Annie Neely, the principal of William Boyd Elementary. Dr. Neely stated that her students were filled with potential but would be destined to continue in the cycle of poverty because they lacked mentors, resources, and opportunities. That summer, a camp was organized for twenty students that led to an after-school program and the formation of CYD.
Our objective in 1994 was to create a long-term program to support children until they graduated high school. The community need was great: in 1994 only 40% of the children in the area graduated high school and, without intervention, the 60% dropout rate would continue. After we discovered that 100% of our students were on track to graduate high school, we added a college readiness component to expand services.
Today, William Boyd remains a Title 1 school and a feeder school for Douglas High School. The need for early, high-quality learning opportunities is evident in the numbers of students dropping out and not enrolling in a post-secondary education. In 2016, the graduation rate for Douglas High School was 68% and only 35% of students enrolled in college.