DREAM ensures that youth living in affordable housing thrive.
DREAM works to change the life outcomes of youth living in affordable housing by providing high quality, college-based Village Mentoring, summer enrichment, local and regional adventures, support for post-secondary success, and an unwavering commitment to dreaming big.
During the school year, DREAM offers weekly college-campus based “Village Mentoring.” Building on the adage that “it takes a village to raise a child,” Village Mentoring is a shift from traditional one on one mentoring to a more community oriented approach, building a strong social support network around each participant. The volunteer college student mentors provide tailored mentoring and enrichment activities to children in both individual and group settings. The mentors also work closely with the youth’s parents to ensure that their program site is inclusive, safe, and responsive.
Children start with DREAM as early as age 5 and are part of the organization through high school. By the time they are graduating seniors, they have spent 3+ hours a week, over the course of 10+ years, on a college campus. What can otherwise be an unfamiliar world for low-income children becomes a second home. By utilizing college campuses as the weekly program site, DREAM helps to build a sense of belonging and a sense of agency around college. DREAM youth are more likely to start thinking of college as a part of their future.
Over the summer, DREAM programming shifts to include daily enrichment activities, utilizing sports, arts and crafts, and the outdoors for play-based learning, and also takes the youth on local and regional adventures. DREAM hires a cadre of its mentors and teens to oversee this enrichment programming, providing familiar faces and continuity.
As the DREAM youth grow, the program focus on college entrance increases, and includes “futures” retreats, college road trips, and college-application support. DREAM also hires some of its teenagers as “Mentors-in-Training” with the aim of developing older youth leadership within the neighborhoods.
A parent of a DREAM youth participant provides an unsolicited window into DREAM’s impact:
“Because of where we lived, my kids experienced first-hand how discrimination impacts lives. Through DREAM, my kids were able to again see their true place in the world and feel valued for who they were. DREAM has provided immeasurable opportunities for my children – opportunities that, as a low-income parent, I could never have provided.”
Thank you for contributing to DREAM – your donation sustains this important program.