Page 6

A Letter from a Parent... My name is Robin Wilson and I have lived at Templeton Court for almost ten years. I am a single mother raising two sons. I came to Templeton because the rent is income-based, making it the most affordable housing for me. I moved here in the Spring of 1993 with my one-year old son Nicolas and expecting my son Aaron that summer. My goal was to go to work, but chose to wait until the boys were of school-age, reducing the need and expense of childcare. While my sons were attending Head Start, the program closed for a few weeks, because they were short on teachers. This situation made me wish that I was qualified to help, and led me to volunteer for the Reach Up program. Through Reach Up, I was introduced to the Community College of Vermont. I enrolled at CCV for the Spring of 1998 semester to earn an Associated degree in teaching. I then served one year on Head Start’s Policy Council. The Policy Council allowed me to have some control in how my sons were being taught, and by whom. My two sons are Nicolas, 11, and Aaron, 9. Nicolas is a 5th grader at the White River School He recently began playing saxophone in the school band, and enjoys it. Aaron is a 3rd grader at the White River School and has become interested in playing the recorder. Although I have always been able and willing to try to play a mother and father role with my boys, I realize I cannot give them everything they need. They have reached a point in their lives where they are becoming interested in girls and becoming aware of sex, and it would be easier for them if there were a male they could talk to. This is one aspect where DREAM has really helped them, because they have their mentors to talk to and ask for advice. When I first moved here, the tenants were separated by buildings. There are three buildings here, and each building wanted nothing to do with the other two. This building separation resulted in a considerable number of conflicts between individuals and families. As the years went on, the conflicts intensified, until DREAM. Through the DREAM program, adults and children have learned to communicate with one another, and to enjoy each other. There is no longer a building separation. Adults and children now come together as a community for barbecues, dinners, meetings, and as friends. When DREAM first began, I looked at it as an opportunity for the boys to have male role models. Much more than that even, Charlie and Jesse became family. Nick and Aaron began to look at Charlie and Jesse as brothers, not mentors. Although Jesse has graduated, and is no longer Aaron’s DREAM mentor, he is a member of our family now. Jesse’s girlfriend, Beth, and his brother Mike have also become members of our family, attending family events with us, and just always being there for us. With the help of Jesse, Mike, and Beth, I will graduate from CCV this June with my Associates in Human Studies. The boys have bonded fast, and well, with their new mentors Mike (for Aaron) and Rawson (for Nick). I became involved in DREAM through my boys’ involvement. But during the summer of 2001 our AmeriCorps Member, who handled the weekly permission slips, left us. I volunteered to hand out permission slips, while our property manager did the rest. Now, I handle everything on the Templeton-end. Since becoming so actively involved in DREAM, it has brought my boys and I much closer. Nick came home from DREAM one week and said to me, “I had a Dartmouth student ask me if I was Robin’s son, and when I said yes they said you were such a nice person. I didn’t know this person, but it made me feel good hearing nice talk about you… you’re the coolest mom!” This made me feel great and more determined to keep moving forward. DREAM has created relationships between the boys and their mentors that will last for years to come. It has given the three of us the largest extended family anyone could imagine. DREAM has the other children looking forward to graduating high school, attending college, and doing something positive with their lives. Adults have also been affected by DREAM. I am graduating from CCV this June, other adults are attending CCV, and some have gone on to earn their GED’s. I will continue receiving some welfare assistance for a while, because I am enrolling at Johnson State in the Fall for my bachelor’s degree. I have no plans right now to move off Templeton, but who knows what the future holds. There are still conflicts, but now they are talked out and solutions found. Templeton Court residents have come together as a community, and I am excited to see where we will go as we continue to dream. Sincerely,

Robin Wilson 6

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

The DREAM Program's annual report!