What We Do

Learning Dreams is a project based in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota that for 20 years has helped build a culture of learning for those cut off from educational success. In the community we appeal to youth and families as people with their own dreams to grow and learn. We find out what really motivates them, and we connect them to mentors, programs, and learning networks that creatively respond to those dreams, helping to build a foundation for educational success. Learning Dreams doesn’t fix people; we find their strengths and build on them.




We listen to what motivates peopletheir  hopes and dreams. People respond, their dreams matter.


We creatively connect people to community resources, helping them  build a path to reach their dreams.


We help staff deepen their work by effectively supporting the dreams of the people they serve, transforming outcomes and lives.


The heart of Learning Dreams is the support we provide. People need others to stand by them to succeed.

Who We Are

Dr. Jerry Stein

Dr. Jerry Stein

Founder & Director

Dr. Jerry Stein is a Senior Fellow at the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. He is on the faculty of the M.Ed. program in Youth Development Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development.

In 1996, Dr. Stein created the Learning Dreams Program. He manages all Learning Dreams operations and staff.

[email protected]

Office: 612-625-2224

Jena Brune

Jena Brune

Field Coordinator

Jena began working with Learning Dreams as a Volunteer Neighborhood Educator in 2009.

She is currently the Hennepin County  Coordinator and is responsible for Learning Dreams activities, volunteers, and community partnerships in Minneapolis.

[email protected]

Joy Spika

Joy Spika

Neighborhood Educator

Joy Spika is a mixed media artist who focuses on youth and art accessibility issues for homeless and at-risk populations in the Twin Cities.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, Joy has been a part of many community art projects and organizations including the Phillips Neighborhood Mural Project, Intermedia Arts, ArtiCulture and Kulture Klub Collaborative.

[email protected]