The North Shore Weekend EAST, Issue 116

Page 10




THe North shore weekend

12/27 – 12/28/14

Organization is a dream come true for needy

Dreamweaver International Director Dr. Warren Bruhl, surrounded by Kenyan children.

by jenna schubert

Dreamweaver International aims to improve life for people in Kenya — and beyond. “We’re looking for ways to make people

feel valued again,” says Dreamweaver International Director Dr. Warren Bruhl. “And because we’re looking to solve issues of poverty, we have to do everything possible to help needy people become needed —that’s Dreamweaver International’s theme.” Dr. Bruhl, a Northbrook resident who

ran a chiropractic practice in Glencoe for 25 years, is the son of Dreamweaver International’s founders Ken and Sandy Taylor, who launched the organization 24 years ago when they were missionaries in Nairobi, Kenya. The Taylors realized that, despite building churches in the area, the native people were still affected by poor education and a lack of healthcare opportunities. As a result, they started the Northbrook-based organization, in hopes of improving all aspects of life in Kenya. O ver the yea rs, Dreamweaver International has expanded to include a threefold mission: improving education, healthcare, and quality of life (which is known as the “compassion care” branch of the organization) for the Kenyan people, as well as for people of other nations. A key component of the education initiative was the opening of the Kimana School of Leadership and Professional Studies in 2011. The college — which is located in Kenya’s Kimana Rift Valley, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro — has programs in computer education, business, early childhood education, and theology. Currently, the college has 80 students, although the Dreamweaver International board’s goal is to accommodate 200 students in the next couple of years. Healthcare includes teams of volunteer nurses and doctors who visit rural areas in Kenya to examine and treat the natives, known as the Maasai people. Plans are also in the works to build a hospital (which will be called Kilimanjaro Mission Hospital) near the college. As Dr. Bruhl explains, the hospital is a huge step, considering that healthcare institutions are difficult

for Kenyans to find. “Their state-run hospital facilities are understaffed and underfunded,” he says. “So, many times, doctors and nurses go on strike, and there’s no healthcare available to anybody in the area.” The final part of Dreamweaver International is its “compassion care” segment, which includes Gear for Goals — a program that has provided sports equipment to more than 40,000 children in 18 countries. Local schools such as Glenbrook North High School and Northbrook Junior High School have participated in drives. Thus far, the volunteers and board members of Dreamweaver International have seen the remarkable effects of their work, according to Dr. Bruhl. “I’ve heard [Kenyan] people say to me that we are an answer to their prayer,” he says. “And some have said, ‘It’s nice to know that somebody cares.’ ” Dreamweaver International volunteer opportunities are plentiful — from helping organize gear drives and completing various administrative duties here in the U.S. to serving as a volunteer coach, teacher, nurse, or doctor in Kenya. “In the Chicago area, we have a lot of talented and resourceful people — with not just financial resources, but also education resources,” Dr. Bruhl says. “Within our Chicago market is a wealth of ability to change things around the world. But we have to get outside of ourselves, be willing to do more than we’re doing, and to choose to not always be so comfortable.” To learn more about Dreamweaver International, visit or email ■

standout student

He videotapes stupendous action-sports moves and sets them to music

Spencer Welte

by jake jarvi

Eighteen-year-old Spencer Welte, a senior at Lake Forest High School, first found his love of pairing video and music while

filming his friends at Billy Uhlig Memorial Skate Park in Lake Bluff. His early skateboard videos can still be found on his personal YouTube channel — where his friends jump and flip their

skateboards in slow motion, underscored by bands like Purity Ring and Imagine Dragons. “I realized very quickly that making videos is something I’m passionate about,” Welte says. “I do a lot of action sports filming for skateboard, skiing, snowboarding, and I’m constantly watching those kinds of videos on YouTube and Vimeo. That’s my main passion, showing really cool feats of human ability. It’s not just a cool montage of tricks; it’s a way to express myself.” He further developed his storytelling ability in telecom class at LFHS, experimenting with the commercial and music video formats. His first music video was grounded in his love of action-sports photography, telling the story of a new kid in town finding a community of friends through snowboarding. For one assignment, he co-directed a commercial for Lake Bluff restaurant Inovasi, and it won second place at the Chicagoland Television Educators Council Festival. Lately, though, he’s turned his talents to the service of Committee Representing Our Young Adults (CROYA). During his junior year of high school, Welte, a regular CROYA attendee, was elected cabletech chairman. His duties include taking pictures at CROYA meetings and activities and posting them to the non-profit’s Facebook page. “I think it’s important that people

understand what CROYA is about,” Welte says. “I feel like pictures show the smiling faces, but people don’t really know what’s going on. “There’s a lot of pre-judgment that comes with CROYA, but people don’t realize how fun it is. If you see the people that come to CROYA, it’s not just one group of kids. It’s all different kids from all different types of groups.” Video after video on the CROYALFLB YouTube page shows high school kids leading meetings for their peers before some brand of revelry breaks out. Smiling and dancing teens play games like dodgeball, enjoy Halloween and 1980s dance parties — and dare each other to get hit with pies or eggs. Each video is rendered in slow motion and edited to a different evocative indie rock track implying the strong community of friendship and fun that every CROYA pamphlet has always promised — but with an immediacy that’s undeniable. As Welte heads off to college next year, he’s looking to continue developing his knack for action-sports photography. “I’m really hoping for the University of Utah,” Welte says. “It obviously has the ski and snowboard aspect to it, but they also have a pretty well-regarded film program. They also have Sundance Film Festival right around the corner from their campus. “It’d be a dream to go work for someplace like GoPro and get to travel the world and film all those amazing videos.” ■

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