Meet Our Newest Team Member!


We are happy to announce the newest member of our leadership team!


Jhonatas (Jhon) Alves, the local leader who has been running the DreamRoot / Arte Suave Training Center in Paulista, is now the Director of Leadership Development in Brazil. In his new role, Jhon will work closely with our Brazil Field Director, Tony Passos to identify, invest in, and mentor emerging leaders in communities throughout the country.


To share a bit about Jhon, he serves as a military police officer by day and oversees the operations of the Arte Suave Training Center in the evenings, including leading Jiu Jitsu classes, mentoring students, and coordinating community outreach with hot meals to those in need. To make ends meet, since public service officers in Brazil have notoriously low wages, Jhon had also been working as an Uber driver at night and in between shifts. Not only is Uber driving particularly dangerous in Brazil, especially a night, doing this work meant Jhon had less time to rest and focus more on his gifting of building community and developing emerging leaders.


As the Director of Leadership Development for DreamRoot, Jhon has been able to cease Uber driving and devote himself to his passion of leadership development. In this new role, Jhon will conduct site visits to other DreamRoot social initiatives throughout Brazil, coach and mentor other local leaders, and help to identify young emerging leaders in underserved communities in which DreamRoot will invest through its leadership cohorts and other programming.


The dedication, consistency, and perseverance Jhon has is something special. It continues to exponentially change lives and the communities we work in. When visiting the DreamRoot / Arte Suave Training Center, it is hard to imagine that he and his students began their Jiu Jitsu classes outside in a parking lot grappling on broken down cardboard boxes. This training center is a testimony of the power of what a vision, endurance and partnerships can achieve.


With the travel restrictions this year due to COVID, Jhon has been our eyes and feet on the ground in Brazil. Just last week, he visited Julio and Davi, two DreamRoot local leaders in the Sertão region where we will begin the construction of a second community-based, locally run training center. Below are some photos of that trip. We can't wait to share more details on the new training center soon!


Other Happenings

Despite COVID slowing our plans, we have been blazing forward.

  • Our virtual English as a second language (ESL) classes for underprivileged students have been going amazingly well. We are halfway into our Fall Semester and are seeing language skills growing and dreams being sparked. The classes are led by Josiany and overseen by Rafaela. With Josiany having a degree in and experience with teaching English as a second language, she has been leading the development of our ESL curriculum and programming. The program has expanded to include students from across three states in Brazil: São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Pernambuco.
  • While COVID had halted some of our renovations and the in-person classes at our community-based training centers, things are slowly opening back up. Jiu Jitsu classes have reconvened in Paulista and São José da Tapera while community outreach initiatives have been on-going.
  • We are preparing for the construction of our second DreamRoot Training Center in Northeast Brazil! Stay tuned for more updates.


Thank you for being on this journey of unleashing potential and transforming destinies with us. Your support is developing communities and changing the trajectory of many lives and generations.


We are looking forward to this new season of growth and progress!



Amy Passos

Executive Director, DreamRoot Leadership Institute

Related Posts

The Impact of a Uniform

By dreamroot | August 14, 2019

A huge shout out to Team Passos Jiu Jitsu students and Onda Jiu Jitsu for the generous donation of uniforms! These gis were donated to the Arte Suave program in Paulista, Brazil. Over 70 gis, several belts, and two pairs of shoes were collected and distributed to the students most in need at Arte Suave.

Meet Jhon

By dreamroot | July 30, 2019

When Jhon is not working his shift as a federal police officer in the Recife metropolitan areas, Jhon can be found leading at several project sites throughout the city teaching Jiu Jitsu to at-risk youth and adults. Each of his classes are filled with lessons of life skills, character development, and encouraging his students to…


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