Engagement of Joshua Mercer and Kenya Drew

Our wedding took place on Feb. 13, 2012.
Joshua Mercer, 30, Teacher and President of Swish Dreams. Graduated from National-Louis University, M.S. Education. Lives in Chicago, IL.
Kenya Drew, 28, Dancer and Executive Director of Swish Dreams. Graduated from University of Illinois, B.A. Fine Arts. Lives in Chicago, IL.
It's only fitting that a couple who run a nonprofit called Swish Dreams would give each other huddle-worthy pep talks about their love.
"I'll joke with her and say 'We're about to start a team. Are you down for the team?' She'll say 'Yes, I'm down for the team!' It's like team spirit," said Josh. Their relationship evolved so organically that they started working together. He founded Swish Dreams, which uses sports as a vehicle to teach children literacy and math. Kenya went from helping out occasionally to now serving as executive director. With a background as a dancer and actress, she runs the daily operations and helped shepherd the expansion of the program to include girls and dance. "It's a partnership and is based on trust like anything else," he said. "And it works."
He said that he loves that Kenya is genuine, down-to-earth, supportive, drama-free and not judgmental. "Despite all of the success that we were having with Swish Dreams, she was one of the very few people who could see everything that I didn't have going for myself, and she loved me for that stuff too," he said. "It was perfect for me, I could do no wrong. I messed up a lot of stuff and she would fix it."
Blindfolded on the way, Kenya thought they were going dancing. Instead, Josh rented her fave restaurant, Star of Siam, and filled it with rose petals and balloons. They started slow-dancing to Patti LaBelle's "If Only You Knew." By the time Seal's "Kiss by a Rose" came on and she took off the blindfold, he was on bended knee. "She started shaking and going crazy and screaming," he said laughing. "She was just really happy and was like 'put it on, put it on' and started jumping on chairs." Visit www.swishdreams.org to see the couple discuss their shared mission. - Akeya Dickson
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