Matthew Gonzalez is a natural role model and inspirational force for the young people of East Harlem and the South Bronx. In his six years at DREAM, Matthew has become an indispensable asset to the organization, the community, the families, and to the youth.
Matthew serves as DreamWorks College Access Coordinator, advocating for and guiding high-school aged youth through all aspects of the competitive college admissions process, planning college visits, completing financial aid and scholarship applications, all while serving as a positive role model and encouraging them to dream big. Lovingly known for his undefeatable encouragement, Matthew can often be found speaking to a student at 10PM as they struggle with their application essay, or sending an “I will do everything in my power to get you into college” text message. This encouragement led to a 100% college acceptance rate in the DREAM class of 2017.
In addition to his full-time responsibilities, for the past four years, Matthew has also volunteered with DREAM as a softball coach, going above and beyond for his young people and personally investing in his students. Matt’s star coaching took him to Lyon, France, where he represented DREAM at an international sports conference.
Matthew’s journey with DREAM, formerly Harlem RBI, began by volunteering as a Learning Coach in 2011. He was then hired as a Team Enrichment Coaching Fellow through the AmeriCorps program, then Associate Program Coordinator, and 8th Grade Program Coordinator and High School Access Coordinator.
Youth see Matthew as a big brother, looking to him for guidance and support in their academic, athletic, and personal lives. As one of his students stated, “Matt has dedicated the past several years to serving a community that is in dire need of adults that truly care about youth of color. From making sure I keep my grades up, to being a support system in my times of need, to being my number one fan on the field, I speak for all of DREAM when I say Matt’s passion for helping others succeed is incredible”. As another succinctly stated, “If it weren’t for you Matthew Gonzalez, I would not be the man I am today”.
Matthew received the prestigious Posse Scholarship to attend Brandeis University where he received his BA in Sociology and American Studies. Matthew has a master’s degree in Criminology from John Jay College and completed a fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service from New York University.