Spotlight On The Dime Child Organization

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 16:58 Written by  Cicely V. Teal

For the past 10 years, January has been designated National Mentoring Month. Started by a joint project of the Corporation for National and Community Service, The Harvard Mentoring Project and MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, National Mentoring Month highlights those who have devoted their time to the lives of young people. There is a need for mentors, and by drawing national attention to the importance of life coaches for today’s seemingly disenchanted Generation Y, everyone–individuals, businesses and non-profits–can work toward a more optimistic future for America’s youth.

As part of National Mentor Month, GlossMagazineOnline spotlights the Dime Child Organization (DCO). D.I.M.E, which stands for [D]emanding [I]ntelligence Through [M]entoring and [E]ducation, was the brainchild of Chicago native Warnita Taylor. The mission statement is simple, to provide educational resources and services to youth that would ensure them hope for a promising future.


As a business management major at DePaul University, Taylor was well aware of the throes of attaining resources and the lack of support systems that some students faced in order to pursue a higher education. In reflecting on her own support system, Taylor wanted to create an organization where resources were available to those who were less fortunate. “It was a vision from God,” Taylor said.

In 2001, while attending DePaul, Taylor and some friends organized a fashion show to raise scholarship money for a few college-bound high school students. From there, Dime Child began to blossom. dc

Taylor networked with people in her circle to expound on her idea. A neighbor, Dr. JoAnn Grey, who was a school principal, connected Taylor with different sources and gave her feedback on various programs that would be beneficial to public school students. “I was able to connect with parents to hear what they thought was needed,” she said. Taylor made a blueprint and followed through without wavering. The Dime Child Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization “that serves 350 youth yearly throughout the city of Chicago and surrounding areas.”

Dime Child currently has a full-time staff of six and a part-time staff of 24. DCO has programs at 15 public schools, and there are a total of four in-depth programs; Mentoring Dimes, Upward Bound, DCX Magazine and WDCX radio.

In the Mentoring Dimes program, Dime Child currently provides after school programming in different elementary schools Mondays through Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Students receive tutoring and homework help in math, English, reading comprehension and science from certified educators. “They participate in peer mentoring with younger children, as well as enrichment opportunities in fine arts and culture,” Taylor said.

Upward Bound is a nationally acclaimed program that serves hundreds of high school students each year. The program provides total preparation for students entering college. It "seeks to increase the rate at which low-income, first-generation students graduate from institutions of post-secondary education.”


Dime Child Foundation’s magazine, DCX, was the idea of Taylor’s husband, WGCI radio personality Jamal Smalls. The magazine program focuses on educating youth about journalism, specifically magazine work. “My husband wanted to add a creative element to the foundation,” Taylor said. “Our focus has really been the magazine.”

The magazine is distributed to approximately 60 high schools across the city, and Taylor is using the magazine to increase revenue for the organization.

The WDCR Dime Child Radio Program was also Smalls’ idea. Students produce, program and operate an Internet radio station completely on their own. “Teens can interact with peers and the community and also speak out on issues that are important to them,” Taylor said. “The students’ work can be downloaded on iTunes.”

This year, GMO is proud to announce a partnership with Dime Child. GMO is dedicated to National Mentoring Month and will be giving two students in the Dime Child Organization the opportunity to write stories for a GlossMagazineOnline issue. Young people need to have confidence in themselves and be encouraged to pursue their dreams.

“No one cares about your dreams or goals as much as you do,” Taylor said. Although Taylor faced many hardships trying to make her dreams manifest into a reality, the rewards have been worth the struggle. “I get to work with my mom, my husband and the students,” she said. “I really feel like I am making a difference.”

Taylor wants people to know that DCO is cutting-edge, innovative, fresh and non-traditional non-profit. “I want to make sure when people come in, they have the heart, the leadership and the vision. It’s all about the students and keeping them engaged and connected,” Taylor said.

If you want to give your time to a young person in need, the Dime Child Organization may be a great place to start. Check out the website at DCO is located at 2929 South Wabash, Ste. 200, or you can call the offices at 312.528.0700. You can also follow DCO on Facebook and Twitter.

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal

Cicely V. Teal graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Communication and Depaul Univeristy with a M.A in Journalism. She contributed to and maintained a column at N’Digo Magapaper, and wrote for Urban Influence Magazine, Breaking Tweets, The DePaulia and The Independent. She also worked on documentary projects at WTTW channel 11, children’s television programming at WCIU-TV and African American programming at Central City Productions.

She is a blogger and studies web analytics, social networking strategies and integrated marketing at the University of Chicago.

She can be contacted at