The DREAM Program, Inc. 41 Dearborn St. Boston, MA 02119 (617) 699-8408 tel www.dreamprogram.org
December 1st, 2011
The SHA DREAM Update 1st Quarter Report 2011-2012 Program Year (September-November) Program Start-up Mentor Recruitment: Starting in September the DREAM Office began recruiting the founding group of mentors on Tufts’ campus. We worked to find interested students through flyering, emailing student groups, posting on websites, and reaching out to DREAM alumni and current mentors at other schools for connections. From our initial efforts over twenty Tufts students expressed interest. I met with potential mentors individually to explain DREAM, stress the multi-year commitment, and answer questions. On September 28th we held our first general interest meeting for the students that I had met with who were excited to start a DREAM Program at Tufts. Of the twenty plus interested students, twelve decided that they were up for the challenge and willing to dedicate the time to get DREAM up and running on campus. Mentor Training and Background Checks: During the first few weeks of October the mentors and I met on a weekly basis for basic DREAM training, group bonding, program start-up planning, and to complete the necessary paperwork. The mentors went over DREAM’s Mentor Boundaries, Transportation Guidelines, Child Abuse & Reporting Procedures, and filled out new mentor paperwork. Until the mentors have completed DREAM’s Mentor Screening Procedures they are always under the direct supervision of DREAM Office staff. DREAM Mentor Screening Procedures include the following: o FBI Fingerprint Check: a national FBI background check. o National Sex Offender Registry Check: check of an online nationwide database. o CORI: criminal record check in the state of Massachusetts. o SORI: sex offender registry check in the state of Massachusetts. o Mentor Background Statement: Mentors provide information on their driving and criminal record, sign to the validity of it, and agree to inform the DREAM Office if their driving or criminal record status changes during their time as a mentor. o Reference Checks: The DREAM Office is provided with two references, one professional and one personal, who can attest to the mentor’s background, experience, and ability to care for children. In addition CORI and SORI checks are rerun on all active mentors at the start of each school year. Child Recruitment: I collaborated with Beth Monroe-Howe and Suze Montina to introduce DREAM to SHA families with children ages 6-11. During the week of October 10th Suze flyered the doors of those households with an introductory letter from SHA and a handout explaining DREAM. On the 12th I met with trustees of the community and Suze to introduce DREAM to them
and get advice on how to integrate DREAM into their community. The following Monday, October 17th the mentors and I came to the community to door knock and flyer. The group visited all of the apartments with children 6-11 years of age and left flyers (in English and Spanish) inviting children to participate in the first afternoon of on-site programming that Friday. Overall the mentors were well received and the families and youth we spoke with were excited about the program. On-site Programming Dates and Activities: When starting a new DREAM program in a community we run weekly Friday programming in the children’s community for the first 3 weeks to figure out which children are interested, and build trust with the families and the community as a whole. The Tufts mentors ran onsite programming on October 21st and 28th, and November 4th. Activities included: Board games Arts and crafts (paper plate masks, paper bag puppets, and lollipop ghosts) Four square Tag Get-to-know-you and name games Sidewalk chalking Participants: Over the course of the three on-site Friday programs twenty-six children attended at least one of the afternoons. School-Year DREAM Selecting Children: At their weekly meeting on November 7th the mentors decided as a group on the nine children they would invite to be the first group of children in DREAM. Though there are twelve mentors a few of them are studying abroad in the Spring Semester so the group will be bringing on three less children then there are mentors. Based on age and the number of on-site Friday programs the children attended the mentors decided on to invite nine children into DREAM that attended at least two of the three Fridays of programming. Informing Families: On November 8th the mentors and I went to the community to knock on the doors and talk to the families of all 26 children that attended on-site programming. We talked with or left a flyer informing each child of one of these decisions: 1. We would like to have them in DREAM. 2. With the limited number of mentors we have we are not able to bring them into DREAM at this point, but will hopefully be able to in the future and they will be able to participate in Summer DREAM Programming. 3. They do not live in a SHA property and therefore we can’t bring them into DREAM. Dates and Activities:
We have had two Fridays of programming on Tuftsâ€™ campus. o November 11th (5 children present): The group headed back to Tufts campus where they had a snack, played a name game and went on a scavenger hunt around campus. The children found out tons of fun facts about the campus. They counted the number of elephant statues, found a spot where only you can hear your echo, and saw the Boston skyline from the roof of the Tisch Library. The children then received their yellow DREAM shirts before heading home. o November 18th (5 children present): Once again the group headed back to campus. After a snack and a name game the mentors introduced a classic DREAM activity, an egg drop. The children and mentors used some tape and random supplies from the campus recycling and spent the afternoon designing their own vessels which would hopefully keep their egg safe when dropped off of a bridge 30ft from the ground. Once everyone was ready, the group headed to the drop site. Some eggs faired better then others but everyone had a great time Children in DREAM: Six of the nine children who were invited into DREAM have attended programming. The mentors have knocked on the doors and left notes for the remaining three children four times attempting to get them to attend DREAM and find out if they would like to be in the program. I will be working with the mentors in December to either connect with these children so they can join the program, or bring on other children who would like to be in DREAM.
We are excited to have the SHA/Tufts DREAM program up and running. The children and mentors are having an amazing time. It will be great to see the program grow to serve even more youth in the new year when the mentors do their first recruitment push at the start of Spring Semester. Keep DREAMing! Chad Butt, Boston Programs Director
Published on Jan 8, 2013