SILVER SPRING, Md. (DC News Now) — Diane Wallace Booker is the U.S. Dream Academy executive director in Silver Spring, Md. She has been at the helm for more than 25 years. She leads an after-school effort that helps children whose parents or relatives are behind bars.

“My focus is to infuse fairness in our communities,” said Booker. “It is an effort to infuse fairness in our entire democracy, and I wanted to stick with it so my son and others can achieve this American dream.”

U.S. Dream Academy provides the program in several cities across the country, including Baltimore and Washington D.C. The majority of students are in elementary and middle school.

Booker said it is important for young minds to develop good habits and decision-making at an early age, and they put a big emphasis on being role models.

“Research shows the more positive influences young people have in their life,” said Booker, “The better the chances they have of doing well and staying in school,”

Booker says they have received support over the years from people around the country, and the students get a chance to meet men and women from all walks of life and professions.

“When they see people who like them, it gives them hope,” said Booker, “They realize dreams can become reality, if they stay focused and work hard.”