Steve Jefferson/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - Some Indianapolis middle school students have reason to dream big tonight.
Grammy Award nominee Wintley Phipps announced plans Tuesday to start the U.S. Dream Academy at John Marshall Middle School. The program targets drop-outs and students with incarcerated parents.
"A child with a dream is a child with a future," Phipps said. "Seventy percent of the kids in America who end up in prison come from those two groups of kids."
Principal Jeff White introduced Phipps to the students at John Marshall. The singer, who has performed worldwide, is in town to promote a musical benefit for the academy at the school.
"I have sung everywhere from Saturday Night Live to Soul Train to Billy Graham. All kinds of things," Phipps said.
The Dream Academy joins another program at John Marshall, the "OK Program", designed to reach students. Metro Police officers Tim Knight and Tony Finnell visit classrooms encouraging and even tutoring students.
"We provide them with resources for them to take advantage of, and those that do, they find success," Finnell said.
IPS Superintendent Dr. Eugene White is impressed with the program.
"The OK Program is fantastic," he said. "But that's another example of people going beyond the call of duty to help young people."
Teachers will recommend students for the Dream Academy.