The Blue Wagon Alumni Newsletter – August 2012
Inside This Issue Amuse Bouche & Announcements Camp DREAM Summer Highlights Summer Sailing on the Time of Wonder Meet the Alumni Council – Julia Risk DREAM Teens Road Trip to Visit Colleges
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AMUSE BOUCHE By Adam Goldfarb, Alumni Council President Hey there DREAM Alumni, When we're not using this space to provide blissful reminders about the incredible experiences you had and the lives you positively impacted as a part of DREAM, we like to highlight the opportunities you have to broaden your impact today. As you can see in this issue, DREAMers in all of our programs undertake huge projects and pull them off with the help of active Alumni, and I would encourage all of you to continue to be active in the goings-on of DREAM in whatever way you see fit: email your old mentee or someone from the community with whom you had a connection; contact your old program and see how you can help with current projects; even post a note of warm wishes to Scott Starret's Facebook page, as he recovers from a serious car accident (facebook.com/scott.starrett.9). In the coming months you'll be hearing more from us as we work to support the financial stability of DREAM, and that's another way you can stay involved, so look out for that! And hey, remember how great it felt to be an active DREAMer? You still are. Keep DREAMin', Adam Goldfarb DREAM Alumni Council President firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNOUNCEMENTS 1. The Boston DREAM office recently had a visitor from Germany stop by our office to learn more about DREAM. Florian Stenzel is the head of a mentoring advocacy organization in Berlin called Netzwerk Berliner Kinderpatenschaften. He hopes to establish a program that pairs local university students with low-income children to Berlin, where there is not (yet) a strong tradition of mentoring. While visiting Boston for vacation, Florian took the opportunity to learn more about local mentoring nonprofits. He was really impressed with DREAM's model and hopes to adopt some aspects of Village Mentoring in the organization's programs. We look forward to keeping in touch and hearing about the growth of mentoring programs like DREAM in Germany. And if there are any Alumni DREAMers in Berlin, he'd be thrilled to meet you! Feel free to email him at Florian.Stenzel@gmx.net. 2. Scott Starret, an Alumni Mentee from Hollow Drive, was recently in a severe car accident, and is currently in recovery at home after spending about a week in the hospital. For more info and to send him best wishes, follow his Facebook wall @ facebook.com/scott.starrett.9. 3. Tons of photos from Camp DREAM this summer have been put up on the web. Browse them all at dreamprogram.smugmug.com/Camp-and-Summer. Likewise, to stay even more up to date on DREAM happenings throughout the month, follow both the Dream Twitter Page @DREAMprogram, and the Facebook page facebook.com/the.dream.program for fresh updates.
Camp DREAM Summer ‘12 Highlights By Ashleigh Ellsworth-Keller, Camp DREAM Director Camp DREAM’s ninth summer has come and gone! It’s hard to believe, but we’ve wrapped up another amazing summer full of laughter and surprises and challenges and adventures. Here are some highlights: •
Seven AMAZING AmeriCorps summer staff, including Matt Karkut (Champlain mentor, returning staff), Samantha Campisi (Champlain mentor, returning staff), Sam Carpenter (UVM grad, returning staff), Zak Killian (Green Mountain mentor), Katelyn Brisson (St. Mike’s grad), Colleen Goldberg (UVM), and Patrick Kelley (Harvard). These folks helped make camp awesome! Four INCREDIBLE volunteers, including Paul Espina (DREAM Board Member), Laura Kingston (Champlain alumni), Jess Forbes (UVM, friend of DREAM), and Jayla Brink (Spaulding High grad, college sophomore). Thanks for spending time with us! Next summer we’d like to see TONS of alumni volunteer at camp! Camp DREAM’s programming has been streamlined to fit into three categories: Traditional, Adventure, and Environmental. Camp die-hards will approve of the numerous games of commando, skits performed at the Amphitheater Shows and Coffee House, camp care, and recitations at key log that happened every week this year. Adventure swims across Metcalf Pond, shelter-building, camp’s first-ever Quidditch match, and Olympic-themed teambuilding allowed campers to expand their comfort zones. And games of Camouflage, Leave No Trace workshops, and nature walks on our interpretive trail brought in the environmental aspect. All that, and we still were able to throw in some serious discussions during our Fireside Chats so campers got a very well-rounded experience. Whew! Campers visited “Farmer John” again this summer at The Farm Between in Cambridge, where they met horses, bunnies, and baby chicks, and picked blueberries, currants, weeds, and more. We love to give back to the farm, and we thank John for loaning us our camp bunnies, Gypsy and Mallow! • Eleven teens served as Counselorsin-Training (CITs) and provided some much-needed assistance to the counselors while learning job skills and setting goals for themselves. These teens came from 8 different DREAM communities and were paid $50 for their dedicated work! • Camp DREAM hosted almost 60 teens for a volunteer work day from Johnson State’s Upward Bound Program. Staff led teens in work projects like weeding, cleaning cabins, trail maintenance, and everyone’s favorite, moving firewood. Their help was indispensable! • Time of Wonder Sailing provided opportunities for nine teens and three camp staff on the Atlantic Ocean this summer! (see next page article for more detail.)
Summer Sailing on the Time of Wonder By Rosetta Morse, Camp Operations Manager I think many of us can agree that DREAM beholds wonder: mentees and mentors taking on new challenges, growing together, stepping out of their comfort zones, trusting one another, building meaningful and influential relationships, often times figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. This summer, wonderment came in the form of a sailboat, and not just any old sailboat at that. A sailboat by the name of Time of Wonder, a 45’ Pinky fishing schooner. John Reid and Kelly Galyean, co-partners of Pinky Schooner Sailing, LLC, partnered with DREAM to provide Vermont and Boston DREAM teens with multi-day sailing trips. Exploring off the coast in Harpswell, Maine and in Boston Harbor, DREAMers gained confidence through a new worldview-broadening experience. They raised and lowered sails, navigated the water, read weather and tides, and steered the boat. They adventured on islands, while reenacting action scenes from Twilight (the obvious thing to do), swam in the ocean, challenged themselves, and supported one another. Thirteen DREAM teens, from seven different communities, jumped at this amazing opportunity this summer and many have expressed interest in returning for a second and longer voyage next year (insert fist pump). John and Kelly are very excited to continue working with DREAM, as are we with them, and we’re looking forward to round two with more teens and just as much success. Bon Voyage!
Meet the DREAM Alumni Council By Julia Risk, Money Initiative Head 1. Who am I? Name - Julia Risk Age – 26 Hometown - Northbrook, IL Current Residence – Chicago College & Grad Yr - UVM 2008 DREAM Local Program - Elm St :) Favorite Disney Character - If I can modify to favorite cartoon character I choose the Lorax, but if I can’t, then I choose Alice from Alice in Wonderland 2. Why did you originally join DREAM in college? When I first started classes my freshman year, it felt like something was missing. I decided I should get involved with something. I sought out an organization that would allow me to feel good about what I was doing and work with kids. DREAM was perfect. 3. What are you doing now? (Work, school, etc.) Are you volunteering outside of your job? I am a teacher just north of the city. I am starting at a new school and teaching fourth grade.
Are you where you thought you would be this many years out of college? What are your “next step” plans? I joined Teach For America right after I graduated and worked towards my masters in elementary education while teaching in Gallup, NM. I wasn’t certain that I’d want to stick with education after completing my TFA commitment, but as I spent more time in the classroom I discovered that I truly do love teaching. I actually imagined I’d work for DREAM after college, but I just couldn’t let go of the classroom! After three years in New Mexico I taught for a year on the south side of Chicago. I’m hoping that I found a sustainable teaching position, where I can remain for many years, but only time will tell if that’s the case.
What prompted you to consider joining the Alumni Council? What do you hope to achieve as part of the Alumni Council? AJ had talked to me a few times about different positions, but I never felt I had the time while I was teaching and taking classes. After I moved to Chicago, I couldn’t wait any longer, I needed to be more actively involved with DREAM. While serving on the AC, I hope to financially support the expansion of DREAM while maintaining its current strengths through the Alumni Appeal. I hope to expand the number of donors each University yields. I also hope to help establish a scholarship fund as well as continually increase the endowment to foster further growth and development for the organization as whole.
What is your position on the Alumni Council? What does that mean on a day-to-day basis? My position is Money Initiative Head. I’d say I’m still learning what that means on a day-to-day basis, but generally it means thinking about alumni fundraising opportunities, communicating regularly with our incredible Alumni Appeal Head, Frieda, and knowing where DREAM has and needs money.
What is your favorite memory of DREAM from when you were in college? During my second week with DREAM, one of the chairs asked me to fill in for an absent mentor. She told me the young boy could be very difficult, but that it would be fine. For the first part of the afternoon he terrorized me – ignoring everything I said and pretending to run into the street. Then the boy started to try and peel off a bracelet I was wearing. I asked him to stop with a strong sense of urgency, explaining that I’d be really sad if it broke because my dad gave me the bracelet and I wasn’t sure when I’d get to see him again. The young boy froze, looked up at me with these compassionate eyes and said, “Why?” We then spent the rest of the afternoon walking calmly around UVM’s campus talking about our families and things we like to do. Over my four years with DREAM, this boy and I developed a very strong relationship, and the experience taught me so much about what it means to be a mentor.
Where do you envision DREAM will be next year? In five years? In ten years? I’d love to see DREAM expand to more regions. DREAM helps to transform not only lives (of both the mentors and mentees) but also communities. I envision camp continuing to gain resources, but maintaining its rustic charm. As the program expands, I think eventually another camp location could be developed. I envision more mentees growing up, going to college, and becoming mentors themselves. In the nearer future, I see alumni gathering to support DREAM financially and with their time; applying their varying knowledge and skills to strengthen the program. I see DREAM serving as a model for other organizations to holistically approach whatever they’re focused on, considering the environmental and human impact of their decisions.
5 Teens, 8 Days, 10 Colleges: DREAM Teens Road Trip By Alicia Jacobs, UVM ’10 and Kate Piniewski, UVM ’12 & PED This August marked DREAM’s second college tour road trip, made possible through DREAM’s College Prep Adventure Program grant. With the itinerary set, yummy snacks and pillow pets packed, and “Call Me Maybe” on the radio, five teens and two chaperones explored ten colleges and had some big adventures in Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine. This year’s trip went even better than we had expected. The girls visited a variety of schools-- from private to state, four-year to two-year community colleges, they learned the ins and outs of applying, SATs, dorm life, financial aid, and college life. From the first day to our last tour at University of New Hampshire, they were inquisitive and motivated. For instance, when the seven of us arrived at UMass Boston, it was a hot Monday afternoon and we had already seen two other colleges that morning. (Not to mention that some of us were still recovering from a whale watch that was heavy on the puke, light on the whales). There were about six other families on the tour, but it was our DREAM teens who the university will remember. The girls stayed at the front of the group the entire time, asking intelligent questions and comparing the school to others they had seen. Their questions ranged from, “Can you tell us about the study abroad program?” to “What is your average SAT?” and “What is the most interesting club your college has?” Their engagement impressed not only all of the tour guides we met with, but also left us beaming with pride! Our trip included other highlights such as visiting Lasell College with Nina Skagerlind (Dartmouth ‘12), which was hands down their favorite college; several first subway rides on the T; hanging out on Wells Beach in Maine; a trip to Funtown Splashtown USA, where they conquered their fear of heights while us chaperones cowered on the side; and many, many informal discussions about college life. The trip also included an impromptu trip to the mechanic, but when one of the girls yelled, “It isn’t a road trip without a stop at the car garage,” we realized just how positive, energetic, and incredible the teen girls were. They gracefully moved past the few hiccups that occur on any road trip and remained excited for the week’s adventures. After a few days of sharing individual life stories and cooking meals together, the group really bonded and supported each other. By the end of the trip, the girls were inseparable and already excitedly planning for the DREAM teen retreat in the fall. This trip succeeded not only because of the girls, but also because of generous community support. DREAM was lucky enough to receive delicious food donations from Healthy Living, Price Chopper, Great Harvest Bread Company, Cabot Creamery, Moe’s, Bruegger’s Bagels, Fat Rabbit Farm, and the Flatbread Company in Portsmouth. Jon Harris and Amanda Marino (UVM ‘11) were kind enough to let us take over their apartments. And a big thank you to Katie Munro, a current BU mentor, who gave us a great tour and showed us around Newbury Street! We saw one of the girls last week, and after a quick hello, she quickly began asking about the next steps for receiving fee waivers for the SAT/ACTs. These young girls are invested in their future educations and are able to both work hard and reach out for assistance in order to achieve their goals and aspirations. At the University of New England, we were lucky enough to have a tour of the campus on bicycles. We were in the sun, biking by the ocean, and the girls couldn’t stop smiling. The tour ended with this quote by a DREAM teen: “When I get to college I am going to start a bike tour and a DREAM program.” It’s those moments that you know DREAM is succeeding in their mission, and that we are all so lucky to work with such empowered and positive teens.