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DREAM builds communities of families and college students that empower children from affordable housing neighborhoods to recognize their options, make informed decisions and achieve their dreams.
We accomplish our mission through our unique Village Mentoring model, which represents a shift from traditional one-on-one mentoring to a more community oriented approach.
DREAM was established by Dartmouth College students in 2001 to serve children living in local project-based housing. Today, DREAM is an award-winning organization serving over 400 children in Vermont and Boston with committed mentors, adventure opportunities and year-round programming.
DREAM targets children in project-based housing. These housing communities are classified as "severely distressed neighborhoods" due to the concentration of families with multiple risk factors. Living in a severely distressed neighborhood can compound the already extensive challenges for an individual child in poverty.
DREAM employs a model called "Village Mentoring," recognizing that our children require a broad network of supportive relationships to thrive. DREAM provides both one-on-one mentoring, where each child has a long-term caring mentor, as well as group mentoring, where our children learn team work, push their comfort zones in a supportive peer environment and explore the region together.
All of the DREAM children receive consistent, year-round support, from age 5 through high school graduation; weekly "Village Mentoring" on college campuses; introductions to new places and experiences, including our summer adventure facility in Vermont; and support for college access.
Another unique aspect of the DREAM’s program model is that it is the only mentoring program that has been developed to focus on the underserved and often geographically isolated children and families who live in project-based affordable housing communities
DREAM’s secret sauce is an attractive mixture of can-do attitudes, silliness and optimism that keeps volunteers and children having fun, committed to each other, and believing in themselves. This core culture is the hook for the youth and makes DREAM a vibrant organization.
Our volunteer college student mentors also receive powerful experiences that influence their lives and develop their leadership potential, helping to build the next generation of civic leaders.
We are seeking support to reach additional children with our services by launching a new DREAM hubs in the northeast.
- Mike Foote
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