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The Village Mentoring Organization

Willowbrook DREAM Quarterly Report March - May 2013 Greetings from DREAM! This quarter, the spring semester came and went, but the Willowbrook Local Program packed in plenty of DREAMing! Bennington College mentors and Willowbrook youth took part in some exciting activities as they wrapped up another successful school year with DREAM. Here is a summary of DREAM happenings from the spring.

Highlights from the quarter include:    

Becca Hawkins and Becca Zarski resumed their duties as co-chairs for the spring semester. In May they participated in a training on how to make their meetings more effective and engaging. Willowbrook mentors got to know one another and celebrated their successes so far with a pizza party on campus. Mentors and mentees embarked on a trip to the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, VT. Five seniors were welcomed into DREAM’s Alumni Organization with Sunday afternoon snacks on campus.

Weekly Programming with Children:           

For their first DREAM Friday of the spring semester, mentors and mentees competed in an egg drop. Mentees had winter-themed one-on-one time with their mentors on campus. Activities included making snow forts, snow ice cream, and couch forts, as well as eating apple crisp. DREAM youth and their mentors showed their creative side by designing t-shirts. Mentors and mentees created ‘zines and participated in book-themed activities in the Willowbrook community center. Mentees and mentors showed off their skills on a field trip to the local bowling alley. Mentors and mentees explored their creative side with a day of crafts and games in the Willowbrook community center. Mentors and mentees broke into two groups: one played Humans vs. Zombies on campus while the other contacted the spirits through a Ouija board and told fortunes using Tarot Cards. Mentees had two Fridays of one-on-one time with their mentors on campus. Mentors and youth took a step back in time for an “old fashioned” Friday. The group churned butter and made candles out of melted wax. The group spent a Friday making s’mores on campus. Mentors and youth celebrated a successful semester of DREAMing with snacks and balloon animals at the Viking Cabaret, an annual event in which mentors and families come together to recognize the hard work everyone put in during the year.

Office: 30 Community Drive, South Burlington, VT | Mail: P.O. Box 361, Winooski, VT 05404 │ (802) 338-8979 |

Special Events for Children and Mentors: 

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Twenty-five teens, including two from Willowbrook, attended DREAM’s Teen Identity Retreat in Burlington. Teens took part in a scavenger hunt on Church Street, learned how to hula hoop, and participated in sessions on healthy relationships and finding their best selves. Mentors held a pizza party to reflect on the year and bond as a group. At the Montshire Museum of Science, Willowbrook mentors and mentees learned about scientific principles while they explored the hands-on exhibits. The group celebrated a successful semester of DREAMing at the annual Viking Cabaret.

Capacity Building and Fundraising: 

This year, DREAM was honored as the beneficiary of The Clothes Exchange (TCE). The Clothes Exchange is an annual event that is dedicated to turning clothing into cash to benefit the community. TCE collects new and gently used apparel from generous retailers and then sells it at bargain prices. The event on May 3-4 raised $8000 to support DREAM. A special thank you goes to the DREAM mentors, mentees, staff, board members, and volunteers who made the event a success. As DREAM looks towards expansion, we have undertaken efforts to codify our programs. Mike Foote, Director of Strategy and Growth, is spearheading this work. This quarter the codification moved into its second stage, which is creating training and orientation materials for new offices so they can carry on the essentials of DREAM culture.

Mentor Training and Workshops: 

This quarter, the two co-chairs participated in a training on how to make their meetings more effective and engaging.

Camp: 

Camp DREAM hosted three work days this spring. We were once again happy to host volunteers from IBM through the United Way’s Days of Caring program. Volunteers cleared trails, installed new signs, built an awning over the kitchen porch, and spruced up Camp’s gardens and drainage systems.

Alumni Involvement: 

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This year, DREAM’s Alumni Organization welcomed 73 new members from 11 Local Programs across Vermont and Massachusetts. Welcoming events were hosted for each Local Program to congratulate both mentees and mentors as they graduated from high school and college. Five Willowbrook seniors joined the Alumni Organization this spring. The Teen Identity Retreat was a success in part due to the support of DREAM’s alumni volunteers: Paul Espina, Nicole Stevenson, Caludine Nkurinziza, and Susie Silva. DREAM Alum Phil Ortego joined DREAM staff on a relay team in the 2013 Burlington Marathon on May 26.

A group of DREAM alumni are running a RAGNAR relay race in West Virginia to support DREAM’s expansion efforts in Washington, D.C.

Office:  On March 7, Vermont staff members traveled to the Boston DREAM office for the annual

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two-day “sprinter” retreat. Discussion topics included incorporating Results Based Accountability, DREAM expansion to Philadelphia and Washington D.C., and redesigning DREAM’s annual mentor training event, DREAMstock. Camp DREAM welcomed back Birchwood mentor Matt Karkut as the Adventure Program Coordinator. On April 30, Vermont staff put aside their daily tasks to participate in the first annual Unbridled Innovation Day. Staff members researched topics such as youth obesity rates, DREAM’s carbon footprint, and best practices in training mentors. On May 18-19, DREAM hosted its first combined staff, Board of Directors, and Alumni Council retreat at Camp DREAM. In addition to work projects, attendees participated in discussions focused on Results Based Accountability, high school graduation rates, staff and board structure, and coordinating priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. Vermont staff had a very successful Adventure Teaching Day (ATD) on May 20. ATDs are an opportunity to continue to grow, learn, and bond as an organization. The topics included how to best support mentees who are being bullied or are bullying others and codifying orientation materials for future offices. Staff then spent the afternoon at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center for an afternoon of sailing. This quarter, DREAM launched a new database. This platform will allow staff to more effectively monitor outcomes for DREAM youth, as well as track mentoring relationships and participation at office-led events. Summer hiring is wrapping up for the season with nearly all positions filled. In June, DREAM will welcome 16 summer interns in Vermont and Boston who will organize incommunity programming and 6 staff who will run summer activities at Camp DREAM. DREAM said goodbye to Boston Program Director Chad Butt. Chad has been a staple in the DREAM office for over 8 years and we wish him all the best in his new role as Executive Director of Mobius, the state-wide mentoring organization in Vermont.

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: DREAM big, Ali Siegel Program Empowerment VISTA 802.681.3982

The DREAM Program, Willowbrook, Quarter 3, 2012-2013  
The DREAM Program, Willowbrook, Quarter 3, 2012-2013  

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