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The Village Mentoring Organization

Poultney DREAM Quarterly Report September – November 2013 Greetings from DREAM! DREAM youth and mentors returned to school and to weekly DREAM activities! Mentors from Green Mountain College and youth from Poultney had a fantastic quarter filled with DREAMy activities. Here is a summary of all the Poultney DREAM happenings from the last quarter.

Highlights from the quarter include: •

Returning mentors worked to recruit new mentors this quarter. They held an informal gathering for prospective mentors to ask questions and learn more about DREAM. In total, they welcomed six new mentors to DREAM. Four Poultney mentors attended DREAMstock, DREAM’s annual retreat for mentors from across Vermont. They met mentors from other programs and attended a wide variety of sessions, including DREAM 101, Poverty Literacy, and Building and Sustaining Relationships with Families. A group of mentors and youth spent a Saturday evening at the Tiny Theater in Poultney, where they watched Monsters University.

Wednesdays: • •

• • • • • • •

Mentors and mentees celebrated the start of another year of DREAM by coming up with rules for the group and playing games with the parachute. Mentees competed in a series of mentor-led activities such as stacking cups, blowing bubbles with bubble gum, and picking up fruit loops with a piece of pasta without using their hands. The winners had their accomplishments recorded in a DREAM Book of Records. Mentors and mentees spent one Wednesday doing small group activities, such as taking a trip to the Green Mountain College farm and reading in the library. Mentors and mentees played group games. One Wednesday, half the group attended a high school football game, while the other half did Halloween-themed crafts. The group celebrated Halloween with a dance party, complete with a DJ! The group spent one Wednesday watching the movie Epic and making friendship bracelets. They also warmed up with hot chocolate. Mentees had one-on-one time with their mentors. Mentors and mentees put their engineering skills to the test as they constructed contraptions for an egg drop. The contraptions were all so well designed that none of the eggs broke when dropped from a third story window!

Special Events for Children and Mentors: • •

Several Poultney youth and their mentors attended a Saturday screening of Monsters University at the Tiny Theater. A group of Elm Street mentors and teens hiked a portion of the Long Trail as part of UVM’s Catamountain Classic. This event raises funds for a scholarship for a DREAM teen to attend an Outward Bound Program each year. Thirteen older teens from across Vermont gathered for the second annual Teen Futures Retreat, where they wrote intros for their college essays, had a frank discussion about the pressure of

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


drug use, and discussed their goals for life after high school. Thanks to all of the residents of The Swamp for hosting DREAM, and to Tristram Coffin, U.S. District Attorney, for facilitating conversation around The Opiate Effect. Lastly, DREAM thanks Paul Espina and Katie Purcell for all of their help!

Capacity Building and Fundraising: • • •

Poultney DREAM welcomed six new mentors and one new mentee to DREAM! DREAM was honored to receive a $20,000 capacity-building grant from Ben & Jerry’s. We look forward to continuing this meaningful partnership! On November 18, DREAM launched our Annual Appeal. Keep a look out for your letter and please consider donating. So far the Annual Appeal has raised $1,540 from 16 donors.

Mentor Training and Workshops: •

Poultney mentors received training on DREAM’s Mentor Boundaries, Transportation Guidelines, and Child Abuse & Reporting Procedures and reviewed basic mentoring principles to ensure they are safe and effective mentors. Four Poultney mentors joined mentors from across Vermont for DREAMstock, a fun 24-hour event graciously co-hosted by Bolton Valley Resort and Comcast. Vermont mentors participated in sessions about age-specific programming, building relationships with families, and meeting facilitation. DREAM thanks Paul Espina for his help, as well as National Bank of Middlebury, Five Guys, City Market, and Shelburne Orchard for their financial and in-kind support.

Camp: •

Camp Work Days and Days of Caring occurred in late September and early October. More than 50 volunteers assisted staff in painting the new Camp Store, building wooden bridges, and building cubbies for the lean-tos.

Alumni Involvement: •

DREAM launched its Alumni Appeal on October 29. Mentors participated in a phone-a-thon, during which they called alumni, asking them to contribute to the appeal. So far, the Alumni Appeal has raised over $12,000 from 100 donors.

Office: •

In September, staff and AmeriCorps members participated in a two-day staff retreat in Guilford, VT. Discussion topics included giving and receiving feedback, DREAM’s budget, and goal setting for the year. DREAM Executive Director, Michael Loner, and Boston Regional Director, were honored to present at the New England Regional Mentoring Conference in Hartford, CT. Their presentation was titled "Working with Youth in Affordable Housing: Challenges and Opportunities." The DREAM Program is very proud to have been the 2013 recipient of the Miles Jensen Award, which is sponsored by Housing Vermont and recognizes the outstanding contributions of volunteers who work with residents of affordable housing communities in Vermont. Housing Vermont chose to recognize DREAM due to the thousands of hours DREAM mentors spend with


youth from affordable housing sites all over Vermont and beyond, stretching the children's ambitions and uncovering opportunities. The DREAM Program recently completed the requirements for graduation from the BBVT Performance Institute. DREAM was selected to participate in the Performance Institute through a rigorous and competitive selection process, and we used our work with the Performance Institute to better define the outcomes we want for youth who participate in DREAM’s Teen Programming. DREAM was excited to welcome Jason Desrosier in September as the new Boston Programs Director! Jason comes to DREAM with an inspiring background as a community-based learning coordinator, an AmeriCorps member, and a youth advocate. DREAM is sad to say goodbye to Mike Ewan, former Program Director, Advanced Support and AmeriCorps member supervisor. Mike recently transitioned into a new position as a special educator, where he will continue his work supporting youth. Finally, DREAM is so excited to announce that Brian Fuller has joined the staff as the first Programs Director in Philadelphia! Currently he is recruiting mentors, raising funds, and working with Mike Foote, Director of Strategy and Growth, to build capacity for Philadelphia’s very first DREAM pairing: Temple University and the Cecil B. Moore Village Apartments.

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 Director VYT AmeriCorps VISTA Alison@dreamprogram.org 802.681.3982


The DREAM Program, Poultney, Quarter 1, 2013-2014