Dream Catalyst Lets Homeless Youth Celebrate

Spending almost two months in a homeless shelter as a teenager changed Erik Lehman in ways he never could have imagined. Now it’s his life mission to help youth affected by homelessness. He founded Dream Catalyst, a non-profit organization, to impact homeless kids’ lives by helping them awaken to their personal dreams, purpose, and contribution to the world.

The seed was planted over 20 years ago when he helped celebrate the 12th birthday of Mikey, another kid in the shelter. Mikey otherwise wouldn’t have had any recognization on his special day, and the big difference Erik was able to make with a small gesture deeply affected him.

Now Dream Catalyst presents opportunities to youth like the Uncover Your Dreams, Discover Your Voice workshop, a soul-nourishing event that allows kids to experience a sense of fulfillment and purpose through inspired presentations, group discussions, meditation practices, writing activities, creative expression and uplifting songs. In a supportive environment, they’re able to awaken to who they truly are and who they are here to be.

Another project in the works designed to help kids “RePURPOSE their HEARTdrive.”

“I am developing a vision called Game Changers which talks about what might be in the way of many of the dreams of today’s youth which is the rampant fascination, obsession and perhaps at times, addiction to violent video games,” explains Lehman. ” We will be offering children the opportunity to Change in a violent video game as the ticket price or entry fee for either a live event or a contest. They will be introduced to Game Changers from a variety of backgrounds and then they will learn that they can change their own game and then they can serve as Game Changers in their community.”

A crowdfunding campaign for this initiative is in the works, but if you’re inspired to support the mission now, you can make a PayPal donation here.

Dream Catalyst’s focus is Making Dreams Matter: One Child at a Time.

"Dream Catalyst is an organization founded on the guiding principle that all dreams matter! We are committed to looking at social challenges including homelessness through lenses of abundance rather than those of scarcity. Our mission is to launch the dreams and celebrate the birthdays of youth facing challenges including homelessness. Our volunteers who serve as mentors will get to leave their legacy by sharing their gifts, wisdom and passion with children who are ready to manifest their dreams. We learn as much as we can about our volunteers and the youth we serve, so that we can create the best possible mentoring partnerships.

We also get to celebrate birthdays! We make certain that the celebration is “youth-centric” down to the last detail. We understand that birthdays contain transformational magic, and we create experiences that allow for that magic to flow, so the birthday girl or boy knows just how special and essential they are. It is my firm belief that a birthday is one of the most transformational days available in the life of any young person. This is even more the case in the lives of children living in shelters. When a birthday is celebrated within a community of caring people, we build each other’s hope in humanity for the coming year. If a birthday is spent in isolation, then loneliness rather than hope may prevail and serve as the grey cloud that may forever change the life course of that child as they enter into adulthood.

Dream Catalyst is here to insure that our participants are celebrated for who they are born to be. In partnership and collaboration with many local, regional, and national organizations, Dream Catalyst has the opportunity to create immediate impact in the lives of children facing challenges.

Ultimately, research on resilience challenges the field to build this connectedness, this sense of belonging, by transforming our families, schools, and communities to become “psychological homes” wherein youth can find mutually caring and respectful relationships and opportunities for meaningful involvement. Ex-gang member Tito sums up most insightfully the message of resiliency research: “Kids can walk around trouble, if there is some place to walk to, and someone to walk with” (McLaughlin et al, 1994).

It is our promise to foster relationships so that the children we serve can have someone to walk with who can transform their lives and launch their dreams into an atmosphere of support, encouragement and belief!"


A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization

Federal Identification Number (EIN): 46-3416157

P.O. Box 6654
San Rafael, CA 94903