History and Overview
Follow Your Dreams Inc. (FYD) was established in 2001. As Founder of FYD, Michelle Blue established our mission to empower youth by providing cultural exposure, recreation and arts. FYD’s initial headquarters was in the Harwood community located in North Central Baltimore City. We started in a rusty old yard that took two years to renovate. Five years later we had evolved into a youth-led facility incorporating a video production station, a recording studio, a computer lab, and year-round activities for youth in media arts. Some of our accomplishments include The Video After-School Program and 7 years of FYD’S Youth Awareness Summer Camp. The Follow Your Dreams Youth Center was the first neighborhood facility and served as a safe haven for our youth. In 2007, our youth utilized their gifted minds to embark on an amazing youth enterprise; the opening the 1st youth run recording studio to the public. 14-year-old Michael Hicks and 15-year-old Warren Hill, participants of our program, wrote a successful grant to Youth As Resources (YAR) to fund the studio.
In the years that follow, Michelle Blue would teach the business aspect of hip hop to more youth ages 13-21, inspiring many young people to follow their dreams to create their own music.
Michelle taught (and continues to teach) producing art is art. Young people are challenged to explore their motivation for making music. We do not teach the fallacy of guaranteed success to our young people. Instead we teach that some artists create music for self-expression rather than mainstream notoriety.
FYD teaches that hip-hop culture includes film, music, and production in which young people can explore as possible career options. Our programming gave young people access to the knowledge of sound engineering, entrepreneurial training, leadership training, and much more.
FYD’s programming has proven to be a successful strategy to deter young people from criminal activity and to encourage positive self-expression through music and art.
Bryant Muldrew, FYD’s Vice-President, was originally a participant of FYD’s summer hip-hop course in 2004. Michelle Blue’s work left a dramatic impression on Bryant. Before going through FYD’s programming, Bryant was largely into gangster-rap, but began to see hip-hop as a vehicle for positive messaging. Bryant and his peers continued to participate in FYD for a few years. During this time, he would teach younger people what he learned and perform original hip-hop songs in front of audiences.
Later in his participation, Bryant became a board member of FYD. By 2009, Bryant became the unofficial Vice-President, leading FYD youth programming organized after the teaching of Michelle Blue at the FYD Youth Center in Baltimore while Michelle expanded their work to Georgia.
In the years that followed, FYD’s Youth Center would have to close its’ doors due to funding constraints.
From 2010-2016, Michelle would continue FYD’s work in Georgia in the same spirit of her work in Baltimore. During this time, Michelle and Bryant would communicate about revitalizing FYD and operating a dual state work.
Where We Are Today…
As of December 2016, FYD has begun the process of putting the plans of Michelle and Bryant into action. Michelle Blue is now the President of FYD operating our branch in Georgia and Bryant is now officially Vice-President of FYD operating our branch in Maryland.
In Maryland, Bryant is finalizing plans to reopen a FYD Youth Center based in lower Park Heights Community of Baltimore. At the youth center, Bryant will continue the work Michelle so passionately started in Harwood with new energy and determination.
FYD’s mission remains as the empowerment of youth through providing cultural exposure, recreation and arts.