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At "I Have a Dream" Oregon (IHAD), we believe that low-income children deserve the right supports to help them overcome barriers to education and reach success. For over 20 years, we have been helping Dreamers succeed with three proven core services: long-term relationships with caring adult mentors; access to social/academic wrap-around services; and creating a "culture of college and career" within schools and Dreamer families.
Originally founded on the Dreamer Class model, we would adopt an entire 3rd grade class at a low-income school and follow those Dreamers through college with supportive services. In 2010, we shifted to a Dreamer School model - one that uses collaboration and shared-costs among partner organizations to provide comprehensive services to change an entire community. Our first year of implementation began at the first Dreamer School, Alder Elementary, in 2011. Alder is on the eastern edge of Portland and, with 95% of students are on free/reduced lunch and 20% of children experiencing homelessness, is one of the highest poverty schools in Oregon.
We believe that low-income students in Oregon and around the nation need a different system of support to change the cycle of poverty. With already over 40 partners at the table including SMART, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Friends of the Children, SUN Community Schools, and many, many more, we hope to change the outcomes for Dreamers and their families for a lifetime.
- Emily Gaither
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