The Blue Wagon Alumni Newsletter – February 2012
Inside this issue Amuse Bouche Announcements The Wonderful World of WAC Camp DREAM Needs YOU This Summer Evaluation Report: Mentors Making Change Tell Us What We Could Do Better (Alumni Appeal) DREAM Doppelgängers
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AMUSE BOUCHE By AJ LeGaye, Alumni Council President It has been an honor serving as President of the DREAM Alumni Organization for the past two years. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to do so. I hope I served you and DREAM well. The Alumni Organization is a work in progress, and we rely on your involvement, dedication, and support to help bring it to new heights. One of the core tenets of DREAM is empowerment: if you want something to happen, make it happen. Better yet, energize others to help you make it happen. We’re just now starting to tap into the incredible potential of the Alumni Organization, from a peer-to-peer and Alumni-to-Local Program perspective. Please don’t ever hesitate to share your thoughts about what we can do better, your ideas about where we can go next, and your willingness to lend a hand. I want to tip my hat to the Alumni Council. Thank you so much for your constant support and incredible work ethic. As the leadership body of the Alumni Organization, the Alumni Council is comprised of DREAM all-stars from various programs and graduation years. What amazes me is how much this small team of about 10 volunteers, all of whom have full-time jobs, did for DREAM within the span of 24 months. I’m always impressed by their dedication to and love for DREAM, and I truly admire their contagious energy and unwavering passion. Thank you so much to current and former Council members – Brooke Lierman, Kate Haggerty, Brian Bensch, Steve Addison, Phil Ortego, Dylan Nelson, Meghan Kerrigan, Mike Loner, Jill Diamond, Dustin Hunter, Sandy Mervak, Frieda Arenos, and Chris Ellingwood – for pushing DREAM to an entirely new level. We accomplished a lot together. Over the course of the past two years, we… Ø Established The Blue Wagon to keep you informed about DREAM happenings. Ø Set new Alumni Appeal records, raising $32k in 2010 and $45k in 2011. Ø Created a new “Governing Bodies” position to bridge the Board and the Alumni Council. Ø Welcomed over 200 graduating seniors to the Alumni Organization. We also planted some seeds that will add value to DREAM and the Alumni Organization in years to come. I’m thrilled to see where Adam Goldfarb leads us in the next couple of years. It’s going to be an exciting journey, and I’m confident that he’ll do an outstanding job. Adam, take it from here! AJ LeGaye email@example.com
An Introduction from the President-Elect I would first like to offer tremendous thanks and kudos to the outgoing DREAM Alumni Council President, Mr. AJ LeGaye, and to all of those who have helped the Alumni Organization grow from its infancy to its present state. The Alumni Organization is a vibrant example of the community activism DREAM stands for, and its members are some of the most passionate, hardworking, and talented people on the planet, empowered to connect to and sustain a program they care deeply about. The Alumni Organization would not be where it is today without the enthusiastic guidance of Alumni Council, Board, and Central Office members past and present, and it is an honor to be selected to help build upon the progress they have made. Transparency has been and will continue to be a top priority for the Alumni Council. To that end, I look forward to speaking with people at all levels of involvement in DREAM and hearing your ideas for how best to improve the functions of the Alumni Council and the Alumni Organization as a whole. We love hearing from you: it helps us to be effective advocates for and facilitators of Alumni action. In turn, we will continue to keep you updated as the work of the Alumni Council adapts to the needs of DREAM and of our Alumni base. My email address is below. Use it! I couldn't be more honored to be chosen for the position, and I can't wait to get started. Adam Goldfarb Alumni Council President-Elect Adam.firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNOUNCEMENTS 1. DREAM is Hiring – DREAM is currently looking for an outstanding individual to become our first Boston Regional Director. The Boston based Regional Director will take the lead in driving DREAM’s mission in the Greater Boston Area, including growing our reach and deepening our impact. For more information please see the full job description at http://dreamprogram.org/resources/BostonRD_11-12_final.pdf. Applicants should submit resume and letter of interest to email@example.com. 2. New colorful DREAM t-shirts will be available at the end of the month. We're bringing back some old favorites, but there are also going to be four BRAND NEW colors available! Check them out and order from the online store – http://www.dreamprogram.org/store/index.htm#. 3. Commongood Careers is a mission-driven search firm that supports the hiring needs of the nation’s most innovative and high-performing nonprofit organizations. Check out a sampling of the open positions below. • Manager of Program Operations, Turnaround for Children: http://www.cgcareers.org/jobs/detail/manager-of-program-operations/ • Director of Operations, Credit Builders Alliance: http://www.cgcareers.org/jobs/detail/operations/ • Chief Operating Officer, BALLE: http://www.cgcareers.org/jobs/detail/operations/ • Director of Development, Free the Slaves: http://www.cgcareers.org/jobs/detail/director-of-development27/
The Wonderful World of WAC By Meghan Kerrigan, Knowledge Initiative Head Those of you who have been to Camp know what it brings – excitement, beauty, fun, exploration, teamwork and friends. Not only was I reminded this during WAC 2012, but 10+ mentees and mentors from Franklin Square were introduced to the beauty of Camp DREAM for the first time. Many of them had never had the opportunity to attend camp for various reasons, but had always wanted to. Many would question what a "camp" is? What does it look like? What do we do? Who lives there? What if we want to go inside? All this questioning went out the door on January 28th for the afternoon when we just about skidded down the hill leading up to the driveway to camp due to fogged up glass. They refused to take their gear off in the hour-long car ride from their homes in Burlington and were eager to just "see snow"! We pulled in and out they ran for the next few hours tumbling, throwing, rolling, and laughing in the snow with new and old friends from all over. Many had the chance to finally sled for their first time this winter, learn broomball, try lentil soup, and try "doing this strange exercise on long sticks" that they learned to call Cross-Country skiing! There were definitely lots of firsts, but certainly not many lasts. The car ride back resulted in all too many questions around why. Why haven't we been there before? Why can't we sled on grass? Why isn't DREAM there every Friday? Curiosity continues to seep out of these children. Thanks to DREAM staff and mentors’ on-going commitment to these children, their curiosity will continue to grow and allow them to truly DREAM beyond the walls of their own constructed lives.
Franklin Square DREAMers practice handstands on Metcalf pond and centipede-style sledding.
Camp DREAM Needs YOU this summer!!! By Ashleigh Ellsworth-Keller, Camp DREAM Director Who: YOU, awesome DREAM Alumni What: To be a VOLUNTEER COUNSELOR at Camp DREAM this summer! When: Session Dates (including a 1-‐day training day) 1. Southern VT Boys: Monday, July 2 – Friday, July 6 2. Southern VT Girls: Monday, July 9 – Friday, July 13 3. Northern VT Boys: Monday, July 23 – Friday, July 27 4. Northern VT Girls: Monday, July 30 – Friday, August 3 (Southern VT includes Bennington, Middlebury, Poultney, Rutland, and Dartmouth programs; Northern VT includes Burlington, Milton, and Winooski programs) Where: Burlington and Fletcher, VT Compensation: Housing and delicious meals at wonderful Camp DREAM, fun with wickedly awesome kids and volunteers, and invaluable, priceless satisfaction from making a positive difference in the lives of children Why: Beginning this summer, Camp DREAM is moving towards hiring an all-‐volunteer counseling staff. This means that without volunteers, summer camp will not be able to happen. We believe that YOU, fabulous former mentors, are the best people to fill this role because you know how important it is to be committed to these kids. For more information and to apply, you can fill out an online application here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/campdreamvolunteer2012, view the full position description at www.dreamprogram.org, email Ashleigh@dreamprogram.org, or call (802) 338-‐8979! Final note: While we appreciate volunteers who have been able to come to Camp DREAM for a day or two in years past, this year we are requesting volunteers to stay from the Monday planning and orientation day to the Friday at the end of the camp session. This will ensure that we have enough supervision and support for as many children at Camp DREAM as possible. If you think you can only make a day or two, please email Ashleigh@dreamprogram.org for more information.
Campers and CITs celebrate their newly crafted style this summer during the 8-9 year-old boys session.
Mentors Making Change By Elizabeth Haag, DREAM Central Office The DREAM Central Office strongly believes in using proram evaluations to determine areas of strength and challenge within the organization. By doing so, we can identify areas for development to improve the effectiveness of our programs. The Central Office has recently completed our first-ever Mentor Evaluation Report on the impacts of mentoring on our volunteer mentors. Please check out the following report summary, and do send any and all feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DREAM’s Mentor Theory of Change and Goal of Evaluation Similar to DREAM’s Child Theory of Change, the Mentor Theory of Change is a model that synthesizes DREAM’s mentor outcomes into a single framework. Over the years, DREAM staff has devoted time to surveying mentors and gathering feedback to solidify those key outcomes. Among them, mentors have an increased social capital, broadened worldview, strengthened leadership skills, and a passion for making change in their own communities. During the spring of 2009, DREAM contracted with Renée Spencer, Associate Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work, to complete a literature review of DREAM’s Mentor Theory of Change, and draft survey tools in alignment with those key outcomes. Those surveys were then administered to active DREAM colleges from mid summer to mid fall of 2010. Surveys were emailed to mentors, and self-administered online through the Survey Monkey website. A total of 160 completed surveys, and 222 partially completed surveys were received. Characteristics, Benefits, and Mentoring Relationships Most mentors (91%) had been mentoring with DREAM for 6 months to 2 years at the time of the survey. DREAM attracts academically strong students, with an average mentor GPA of 3.4 (B+). 27% of mentors hold “work-study” jobs, and 75% of mentors volunteer beyond DREAM. Mentors are exceeding expectations, with 84% of matched mentors spending over 2 hours a week with their mentee. 94% of matched mentors feel as if their mentee likes them, and 85% of mentors feel as though their mentee appreciates them. A remarkable 100% of mentors agreed with the following statements: I am committed to developing an effective and productive relationship with my mentee. I care about my mentee, even when s/he does something I do not approve of. My relationship with my mentee is important to me. The length of a match, average amount of time a mentor spends with their mentee weekly, year in school, and average GPA have no significant correlation to mentors’ level of commitment in their relationship. However, commitment does vary significantly by where that mentor attends college. DREAM came into my life when I felt that I was unworthy of anyone's time. I met my almost mentee before she moved, and we spent a significant amount of time together. Even though the mentoring was for a short time, I felt as though I could make a difference. I was capable of making a difference. - Castleton State College mentor Mentors in stronger mentoring relationships feel more connected to DREAM as an organization. 99% of mentors agreed that they believed in what they were doing by participating in DREAM, and that being a DREAM mentor was a good experience for them. 94.5% felt that “compared to other extracurricular activities, being in DREAM has been very important” to them. 98% of mentors agreed with the statement, “I get a real feeling of satisfaction from helping others in my work with DREAM.” It is exciting to see that 99% of mentors felt that it was at least “Slightly True,” if not more, that their life has improved because of their involvement with DREAM. [DREAM] is honestly the most amazing part of my college experience. It is why I stayed at school! - Saint Michael’s College mentor
Mentors Making Change Continued… Theory of Change Outcomes Connectedness to Campus Community: 95% of mentors feel that their values are in line with those of DREAM, and 35% of those mentors “Very Strongly Agree.” 92% of mentors feel they can really be themselves in their college community, but 23% of DREAM mentors “Agree” that they sometimes feel as if they do not belong [in their community]. DREAM means engaging with a wonderful group of mentees and growing WITH them-- a truly collaborative process in which we are both learning about ourselves. It is the process of creating a family outside the home: a safe network where relationship-building, mentoring, and general bonding thrive – Dartmouth College mentor Social Networks: 74% of mentors agree that their experience in DREAM makes them realize that they have the ability to work in this field, but only 45% feel that through DREAM they are developing useful contacts for future employment. 59% agreed with the statement: “I have developed a large network of colleagues and associates through DREAM whom I can call on for support when I really need to get things done.” Worldview: 94% of DREAM mentors agree with the following statement, “Cultural diversity within a group makes the group more interesting and effective.” In response to the statement, “We need to institute reforms within the current system to change our communities,” 81.5% agree. 27% of mentors are undecided as to whether they understand the issues facing their community, with 70% agreeing. I used to look at Vermont as a tiny little bubble of perfection with no social issues or poverty. It helped open my eyes to issues within the state and throughout the country that I can address through my own thought, time, and effort.
– University of Vermont mentor Confidence in Leadership and Change Agent Abilities: Overall mentors are confident in their ability to be leaders and make change in their communities. 10% of mentors feel they are better followers than leaders, with 32% undecided. However, 89% of mentors feel as though they are good leaders. Further, 86% of mentors feel like they can make a difference in the world. Sense of Civic Responsibility: 73% of mentors are currently participating in political and social causes in order to improve the community, and 96% of mentors “Agree” at some level that they have the power to make a difference in the community. However, only 76% of mentors responded positively to the statement, “I believe that I can have enough influence to impact community decisions.” 91% of mentors plan to become actively involved in issues that positively affect the community. Catalysts for Social Change: DREAM mentors demonstrate an aptitude for creating social change during their remaining time in college, as well as after graduation. During their time at college, 86% of mentors plan on doing additional volunteer work beyond DREAM, and 98% of mentors are committed to making a positive difference. Upon graduation, 91% of mentors plan on doing volunteer work, and similarly, 98% of mentors are committed to making a positive difference. I’ve learned that a small group of college students can have a big impact. – Middlebury College mentor Read the full report here: http://www.dreamprogram.org/about/evaluations.htm Questions? Contact Liz in the DREAM Central Office at: email@example.com.
What Could We Do Better Next Time? By Frieda Arenos, Alumni Appeal Leader
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN THE 2011 ALUMNI APPEAL! Now we want to know from YOU how we can do better.
What did you like or dislike about the 2011 Alumni Appeal? Do you feel you were given enough information about how to give to DREAM and how your gift will be used? How can we improve the process for asking people to give to DREAM?
Please send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can continue to make the Appeal process better and better each year. Thanks again for all of your support this year. Because of you, DREAM will have more resources to share with mentees and their families!
Keep shining! Frieda Arenos Alumni Appeal Leader DREAM Alumni Council UVM 2008