dreamprogram.org The DREAM Program @DREAMprogram
The Village Mentoring Organization
Willowbrook DREAM Quarterly Report December 2012-February 2013 Greetings from DREAM! This quarter marked the end of the fall semester and the start of Bennington College’s Field Work Term. Even though the mentors were off-campus, the DREAMing didn’t stop for youth from Willowbrook! At the end of Field Work Term, mentors returned to campus energized and ready for another great semester of DREAM. Here is a summary of DREAM happenings from this winter.
Highlights from the quarter include:
Mentors and mentees celebrated the end of a great semester at Willowbrook’s Culminating Experience, DREAM Around the World. Each mentor/mentee pair chose a country to represent and together they researched that country’s basic information, food, and culture. The pairs each created a poster and a craft or food item from their country and presented to fellow DREAMers. January marked the start of Field Work Term, a winter term in which Bennington College students find off-campus jobs and internships. While the rest of the mentors were away from campus, Becca Hawkins interned with DREAM and provided enriching, exciting programming for youth from Willowbrook. After some last minute changes due to a lack of snow, three Willowbrook teens and one mentor attended Teen Winter Adventure Camp at Camp DREAM. Activities included broomball and commando, the DREAM version of Capture the Flag in the woods, involving scrolls, megascrolls, and other epic adventure elements. Two mentors and three mentees attended Winter Adventure Day at Emerald Lake State Park. They enjoyed winter activities including sledding, broomball, and making fairy houses.
Weekly Programming with Children:
For their final Friday of the semester, mentees had one-on-one time with their mentors on campus. During Field Work Term, DREAM activities took place three days a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Youth returned from winter break and had a day of brainstorming and playing games. Becca taught youth how to make friendship bracelets. DREAM youth tried out their culinary talents as they made their own pizzas. Strikes and spares abounded as youth went bowling at a local bowling alley. Youth played group games and designed t-shirts in the community center. Creative design was the theme when Becca led an egg drop. Becca and the youth learned to play badminton and ran around at Bennington College. Youth observed Martin Luther King, Jr. day with service activities, including making activity books for children in the hospital, writing thank you cards to members of the National Guard, and designing Valentine’s Day cards for nursing facility residents. DREAMers spent an afternoon exploring the College library. Mentees put their cooking skills to the test as they learned about new, unconventional vegetables! Becca and DREAM youth spent an afternoon playing badminton on campus. Mentees had a movie day in the community center. th Due to a winter storm, DREAM was canceled on February 8 .
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Becca led the mentees in exploring Jennings, an old music building on campus. Mentees made cookies for Valentine’s Day. For their Field Work Term culminating experience, mentees hit the bowling alley for an afternoon of strikes and spares.
Special Events for Children and Mentors:
Mentors and mentees participated in DREAM Around the World, Willowbrook’s Culminating Experience. After some last minute changes due to a lack of snow, three Willowbrook teens and one mentor attended Teen Winter Adventure Camp at Camp DREAM. Two mentors and three mentees attended Winter Adventure Day at Emerald Lake State Park. They enjoyed winter activities including sledding, broomball, and making fairy houses.
Capacity Building and Fundraising:
Mentors welcomed a new mentee from Willowbrook to DREAM! DREAM’s 2012 Annual Appeal officially came to a close at the end of February. This year’s appeal raised more than $100k from 210 donors!
Mentor Training and Workshops:
As part of her training as a Field Work Term intern, Becca attended Field Work Term orientation, during which she set goals, discussed expectations and scheduling, and learned strategies for planning successful activities.
DREAM staff members were busy this quarter preparing, collecting forms, and talking to families about Winter Adventure Camp (WAC), which took place over several weekends in February. Three Camp Work Days occurred in December and January. DREAM staff and volunteers prepared for WAC by moving hay, setting up tarps, and building a warm space (nicknamed the Zombie Apocalypse Shack) at Camp DREAM. The 2013 WAC season was a success! After some last minute changes due to a lack of snow, 29 teens and 15 mentors celebrated Camp DREAM’s history by participating in games and competitions at Teen WAC. DREAM staff organized a Winter Adventure Day for youth in the Northern Vermont Local Programs. Activities included sledding, broomball, and cross-country skiing. This year, 43 mentees and 33 mentors attended Winter Adventure Day, which originally had to be postponed due to cold temperatures. After Winter Adventure Day, 7 youth and 3 mentors attended Overnight WAC. Highlights included night broomball, roasting apples, and sleeping at the Town Grange in Fletcher, VT! For the Poultney and Willowbrook programs, Winter Adventure Day took place at Emerald Lake State Park in East Dorset, VT, where 6 youth and 4 mentors joined staff members for a day of sledding, broomball, and making fairy houses.
The 2012 Alumni Appeal wrapped up after setting a record for the number of individual Alumni donors! The Appeal raised over $40k from 273 donors, and five Local Programs reached or exceeded their goals of 25% giving.
The Alumni Organization launched its first annual scholarship opportunity for DREAM mentee alumni who are pursuing college degrees. This year, three former mentees were awarded $1,000 scholarships to help pay for college. Alumni members in DC and Philadelphia have organized and participated in fundraising events to support DREAM’s expansion into those cities. So far, they have raised several thousand dollars! DREAM Alumni members Paul Espina, Evan Eckstein, Devin Kulick, and Travis Near volunteered at several WAC weekends in February.
DREAM staff learned how to update DREAM’s new website at a staff retreat in December. Vermont Programs Staff reflected on the fall semester and looked ahead to spring semester and summer planning at a Programs Staff retreat in December. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., DREAM staff and volunteers participated in several Day of st Service events on January 21 . In Vermont, several staff members and volunteers headed to Camp DREAM to prepare for the WAC weekends ahead. Others prepared a meal at the Ronald McDonald House in Burlington and coordinated volunteers and service projects in Bennington. In Boston, staff members volunteered with one of DREAM’s housing partners, Madison Park Development Corporation and on campus at Northeastern University. th On January 24 , DREAM’s Executive Director, Mike Loner, and Evaluation Coordinator, Elizabeth Haag presented at the National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C. They presented DREAM’s Village Mentoring model and approach to working with college student mentors to mentoring supporters from across the country. Lisanne Hegman joined the DREAM staff as a bookkeeper in the South Burlington Office. DREAM observed National Mentoring Month by holding a mentor appreciation night for mentors from the Northern Vermont programs. Mentors, staff, and volunteers enjoyed ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s as a thank you for all of the time and hard work they have given to DREAM. DREAM’s newest Local Program at Johnson State College held its first DREAM Friday on st February 1 . The group participated in activities including building a newspaper fort, playing games, and dancing to music from a jukebox on campus! DREAM staff distributed surveys to parents of DREAM youth. More than 65% of parents responded! The surveys are part of DREAM’s commitment to assessing the impact DREAM has on families in the program. DREAM was named a Champion in Action by Citizen’s Bank in Boston. The award includes a $35k unrestricted grant, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for DREAM's work in the Boston area.
Thank you for your ongoing support of DREAM. If you would like additional or more detailed information, please contact me by email or by phone. You can always look back at past reports or other programs’ reports by going to: http://dreamprogram.org/mentor-program/vermont/local-program-reports. DREAM big, Ali Siegel Program Empowerment VISTA firstname.lastname@example.org 802.681.3982