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University of Vermont—Elm Street DREAM Section 2 The biggest challenge of the year for our newly-established non-profit was creating the first new DREAM. There were many facets of the Dartmouth DREAM program that arose organically throughout its three years before the founding of the The DREAM Program, Inc. Capturing some of these intangible and qualitative, yet integral aspects of DREAM seemed the most daunting task. For instance, the empowerment of each mentor/volunteer that arises from the self-ownership of the Dartmouth DREAM program is unique to any organization. How do you ensure this essential ingredient takes hold, if you are offering a program to a group of people, rather than allowing them to come up with the idea on their own? Is it even possible to replicate a program that excels due to its qualitative aspects? It is! As of December 2002, UVM DREAM was going strong, growing well and creating its own, unique DREAM culture. What follows is a short synopsis of how this wonderful new program started. Mike Foote first approached the UVM administrators in March 2002, to get a sense of their interest in a program like DREAM. He also attended several meetings of the various community service groups. Jon and he had identified the Elm Street Apartment complex as one of the two best bets for a program. After securing support from Ed Willenbaker of the Winooski Housing Authority, Mike began recruiting students. Rather than using the existing volunteer center, VIA (Volunteers in Action), Mike took the most straightforward route—he began putting up posters around campus, hoping to pique the interest of a few hard-working and committed students. Three students responded, one of whom was Casey Wilson, a sophomore (see page 14). “I didn’t know we’d be creating a new program!” she said, “I just thought it would be fun to be a mentor.” Mike took her down to DREAM at Dartmouth one Friday, and she says that was really what did it. “It was so incredible seeing all the parents come out and talk to Mike when we arrived at Templeton. And then, when we drove over with the mentors to pick up the kids—seeing all the kids run out was just amazing.” She went back to UVM and recruited a few of her friends to come along with her and Mike as they went to meet some of the parents at the Elm Street Apartments. “The moms were really excited to see that boys were going to volunteer,” Casey remembers. “Apparently, they had been able to get some of the girls mentors through Big Brother Big Sister, but it was impossible to get good male mentors.” The first DREAM consisted of some intense Ultimate Frisbee, and for the next few weeks they stuck to group activities, which turned out to be a good idea. It enabled the children and the mentors to all meet each other, and to form better matches when they eventually paired-off. All fourteen mentors attended the first training retreat, where Mike and Liza lead a variety of discussions, and where the mentors themselves began to have serious discussions about the direction of DREAM, the commitment mentors needed to make, and creating partner pairs. The Dartmouth DREAMers even raided the retreat, which Casey says was great. “They showed us how psyched they were about DREAM, and that it was possible.” One big difference at UVM is the lack of a Summer Term. Fortunately, there were several mentors who stayed in Burlington, and they planned weekly activities with the children from Elm Street. Starting this summer, there will also be a full-time Summer Intern who is responsible for ongoing (Continued on page 13)

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The DREAM Program, Annual Reports, Annual Report, 2002  
The DREAM Program, Annual Reports, Annual Report, 2002  

The DREAM Program's annual report!

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