By THEO FRYE-YANOS, age 11

PHOTO: Hector Rivera
PHOTO: Hector Rivera

Can you imagine working with children and helping to arrange free arts programs to empower them throughout their lives? Well, that is exactly what Hector Rivera, Program Associate for DreamYard does.

Theo Frye-Yanos: What does DreamYard do?

Hector Rivera: DreamYard is a non-profit organization based in the South Bronx that works to incorporate art and creativity into children’s lives and provide them with opportunities for a successful future. Its programs are free, and they rely on donations and funding from grants. They have in-school programming in over 40 public schools in NYC.

TFY: How did you get working with DreamYard?

HR: I started as a child in DreamYard while it was just beginning, and I was one of its first students. I was doing its theater program, and I remember playing the lead role in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. From then on, I fell in love with the arts. Then, a few years after that, a friend told me about a summer theater program in DreamYard that was performing Romeo and Juliet. Having loved all of Shakespeare’s works, I wanted to be in the performance. I was able to enroll myself in the program, and I loved it. My years of doing DreamYard had influenced me greatly.

Many years later, in my Junior Year at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, I started interning for DreamYard. I wanted to get involved at the community level, and they were able to hire me full-time, working in the Bronx. And I have worked as a Program Associate for DreamYard ever since.

TFY: As a Program Associate for DreamYard, what do you do?

HR: I mainly coordinate out-of-school programs. This means scheduling events for DreamYard, and doing administrative work. Administrative work could be managing children’s applications for DreamYard’s programs and running the database. But sometimes, I go out and recruit for our art center programs.

TFY: What is special about what DreamYard does?

HR: DreamYard is special because it works to provide children with free, quality resources. All of our programs are children-based and have a big emphasis on social change. Our three core values are Empower, Create and Connect.

TFY: What is your favorite part about working with DreamYard?

HR: There are many parts that I like about working with DreamYard, but I’ve got to say that my favorite is the fact that I work with children, kindergarten through fifth grade. Some days, I will be in a bad mood, and not feel like going to work. And when I get there, I see a bunch of children with smiling faces and it cheers me right up.