The Blue Wagon Alumni Newsletter – July 2011
Inside this issue Amuse Bouche & Announcements St. Michael’s Friday Night of Service Camp DREAM Adventure Trips Sharing Alumni Horizons: Peace Corps in Peru Summer DREAMin, had me a blast… DREAM Doppelgängers Save the Date – Summer Celebration in Burlington
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
AMUSE BOUCHE By AJ LeGaye, Alumni Council President As some of you know, I recently moved from New York to Boston. On my third morning as a Boston resident, I got an email from Josh Warren asking who in Boston was available for dinner that night. Kristin Beattie (St. Michael's '06) was in town for the night, so Josh thought it would be cool to get together. We ended up going to an Italian restaurant in the North End and stuffing our faces full of delicious pasta. I had never met Kristin, but we had a blast getting to know each other, reminiscing about Colorado (I'm from there, she now teaches there), and talking about DREAM. Plus it's always a treat to hang out with Mr. Warren, who I hadn't seen in over a year. So, what's the point? Well, I couldn't help but think how cool it is that we share this DREAM bond. When you meet a fellow DREAMer, you can assume that he/she is good-natured, young at heart, caring, and never afraid to laugh. Meeting a DREAM "stranger" for the first time is probably more comfortable than spending time with a "pretty good" friend. I encourage you to get together with DREAM strangers wherever you are, for coffee, lunch, dinner, etc. At the very least, you're almost guaranteed to meet fascinating people with big hearts, and you might make some new friends. If you want a list of DREAMers in your area, give us a shout at email@example.com!
ANNOUNCEMENTS 1. Sam Chalfin (UVM ’10) is currently teaching and living with disadvantaged children in Ghana as a volunteer. She writes, “I am here with an organization called Teach on the Beach, which sponsors disadvantaged children to go to school and live together in a healthy, safe, caring, supportive, and nurturing environment so that they can continue to grow into the wise, beautiful, strong individuals that they are and will become.” Check out her blog and breathtaking photography at samgoestoghana.blogspot.com. Way to go Sam! 2. DREAM’s First Annual Summer Writing Contest is accepting submissions. We are currently seeking submissions of original poetry, prose, and short stories, of 400 words or less. The deadline for submissions is Friday, August 5th. Send all questions or entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. 3. *Attention Boston Alumni* Join DREAM on Thursday, August 18th from 6- 9PM for a “Fundraising Friend Raiser” at Splash, Boston's newest ultra-lounge and burger bar! Tickets are $15 or $20 at the door, and are now available on DREAM's website at dreamprogram.org/store/index.htm. If you have any questions please call the Boston DREAM Office @ 617-699-8408. 4. DREAM Adventure T-Shirts are still available! They are 100% moisture-wicking and will keep you up to 95% drier than a standard cotton DREAM tee. Perfect for staying cool in the summer heat. 100% of the proceeds support DREAM summer programming. Supplies are limited so act fast! Order yours online at: www.dreamprogram.org/store/index.htm. 5. Devin Berry-Kulick, a recent Hartford High School alum and mentee from the Dartmouth and Northwoods/Hollow Drive DREAM program, will be attending Lyndon State College this fall. Devin is following his love of music by pursuing a degree in Music Business and Industry. Way to go Devin!
St. Michael’s Friday Night of Service By Meghan Kerrigan, Knowledge Initiative Area Head A few weeks ago, 20 Saint Michael’s incoming first-year students, along with four current mentors, three staff and two alumni, all dedicated their Friday evening as part of Pre-Orientation Community Service Weekend. The event kicked off the Saint Michael’s MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) Program to give back to Burlington’s DREAMers, and it felt as if it were just another school-year DREAM Friday! The incoming freshmen engaged with the adults and kids of Franklin Square by playing board games, painting nails, reading books, playing outdoor games, and showing the students around their neighborhood, including their well-tended gardens at the back of the lot! Many of the Franklin Square DREAMers who participate in Summer DREAM, but don’t have a full-time school year mentor, began asking if all these students were their new mentors so they can join DREAM now too. The evening was full of laughter, good fun, and new energy to Franklin Square during the summer when the kids are certainly missing their mentors. Saint Michael’s College students reflected on their experience throughout the weekend and many have already expressed interest in joining DREAM once enrolled at Saint Michael’s. Many thanks to Saint Mike’s 2011 Alum Anna Campbell for helping out with the event!
Camp DREAM Adventure Trips By Andrew Lassiter, Camp DREAM Land and Resource Manager When the adventurous teenage trio of young men representing Camp DREAM’s inaugural Long Trail Camping Trip set foot on the Sterling Pond Trail in Jeffersonville, Vermont, they couldn’t have imagined the stories they would soon be able to tell. Stories of climbing a mountain, of braving the elements in the midst of adverse weather, of looking out across Sterling Pond in an eerie pea soup fog, of encountering struggles and triumphs personally and as a team, and of emerging as a group wet, tired, and victorious after a 24 hour melee of hiking, camping, challenge, intrigue, puddle-stompin’, and laughter. The joy and pride evident on their faces when they finally reached the bottom of the trail again was perhaps comparable only to the zeal with which they recounted the whole adventure to their peers back at Camp DREAM. Just like that, the Camp DREAM Adventure Trip cemented itself into the weekly offerings of the 2011 Camp season. The initial teen boys’ overnight camping trip was so successful that it was followed the next week by a teen girls’ trip, an adventure of its own with similarly incredible results. With six dedicated young women, and several counselors in tow, the girls, too, conquered Sterling Mountain and brought back with them stories to last a lifetime. Since then, our younger campers have taken day trips to hike the Sterling Pond Trail and the Brewster River Gorge. It seems a new DREAM legacy is being built in Vermont’s mountains…and it’s our DREAM campers who are building it. Andrew Lassiter
Adventure tees are the perfect attire for any adventure.
Sharing Alumni Horizons: Peace Corps in Peru By Meghan Kerrigan, Knowledge Initiative Area Head On one beautiful summer evening just a few weeks ago, a DREAMer from the Pine Meadow community shared with Franklin Square DREAMers what his life for the past year has consisted of. John William Meyer, Middlebury ‘10 and Summer 2008 Community Intern, has been serving in the Peace Corps in Peru for the past year. He shared with us an educational, cultural, and eye-opening lifestyle for many of DREAM’s teens. John William began the presentation with a “History of The Peace Corps” video clip where the children were introduced to what The Peace Corps is all about. They helped locate Vermont and Peru on a map John William’s students in Peru created as a mural at their school. They learned about the lovely dishes of guinea pig John William has been devouring; the coastal, jungle, and mountainous terrain of Peru; what school is like for children in Peru; the hospitable culture and stories of his host families; traditional celebrations; and typical lives of Peruvians. These historical and cultural lessons certainly opened the children’s eyes both literally, while viewing the pictures, and figuratively, while imagining life in a different culture in a faraway land. Immediately, there was a buzz of questions prompted by the DREAMers. Some shared stories of cooking like the Peruvians do in their previous home countries. Many asked profound questions regarding why something is the way it is for Peruvians. Overall, the kids were fully engaged throughout the presentation and surprised us with how interested they became, knowing they had a well-educated guide in front of them for any and all questions. John William’s wealth of knowledge and eagerness to answer the children’s questions thoroughly allowed for a true, educationally-guided evening (that I don’t think the kids in attendance were expecting!). After reflecting on the powerful experience it was, I realized how many of us have traveled beyond the walls of our DREAM communities before, and how it’s a shame we don’t share these experiences more often. I personally have mostly shared my travels abroad with my peer group, but realized that DREAM kids yearn to hear these kinds of stories. With that said, as part of my role on DREAM’s Alumni Board, I would love to hear where YOU have been in the past, domestically and/or internationally, for future programs such as this one to occur. DREAMers eyes and ears are ready to see and hear of the various cultures many of us have ventured to! Give back in this simple way for the betterment of their knowledge and our commitment in creating a more inclusive, tolerant, and educative community at large. E-mail Meghan @ email@example.com WHERE YOU’VE BEEN!
Summer DREAMin, having a blast… By Mike Ewan, Program Empowerment Director June marked the start of programming in all of DREAM's Vermont communities. There have been a number of really exciting activities going on, all planned and implemented by our crew of 11 summer interns and 4 Program Empowerment Directors! Here is a sampling: •
Birchwood - Trips to the library, a Yak farm and the ECHO Center, as well as lots of kickball and meals in the community. Franklin Square and Riverside - Outings to the ECHO Center, Mt. Philo and official College Tours of UVM and St. Mike's. In the community, a fitness initiative has been happening weekly, whether it’s a Zumba class or a new running club. Willowbrook - Community clean-ups, popsicle and strawberry shortcake making and gardening have been popular, as well as a trip to the North Adams swimming Birchwood DREAMers at a Yak farm. hole. Poultney and Forest Park - hikes to Dean's Preserve, movies at the Tiny Theater and paddling canoes at Lake Bomoseen have been frequent trips. In the community, kids have enjoyed making strawberry shortcake and tie-dying tee shirts. Pine Meadow - Picnic lunches in the community and trips around town to the library and the college for free community activities. Elm St. and Franklin St. - Trips have included tours of the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory, Oakledge Park and the Winooski YMCA pool. In the community, kids have been playing lots of games and making arts and crafts!
Many DREAMers are taking on other challenges this summer, too! • Macyee T. from Pine Meadow is going to Girl Scout Camp and Bible Camp. • Dom E. from Pine Meadow got his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do. • Riverside, Franklin Square and Franklin Street children have all been earning bikes through Bike Recycle Vermont’s "Earn-a-Bike" program. • Elm Street and Franklin Street kids have been participating in Upward Bound and the Kids Alive program. • Thomasine B. from Poultney is going to Jazz Band Camp.
Madison Park (left) and Orchard Gardens (center) DREAMers show off their new style after a fun day of making tie-dye tees in Boston.
The DREAM Program
End of Summer Celebration Friday, August 12th, 2011 North Beach, Burlington 4-7pm Please consider joining us as we celebrate an extraordinary summer of youth programming, and a full year of mentoring with DREAM. We will honor both summer and full-time AmeriCorps members, as well as celebrate our biggest accomplishments of the year! Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Please feel free to bring a friend or lawn game to share, and a swimsuit and towel to enjoy the beach. We hope to see you there!
Directions: From 89—Take exit 14W, and head west toward the lake. Take a right on to Battery St., and head north until you reach Institute Rd. Take a LT at the light, and the park is at the end of the road. From Rt. 7S—Head north, towards Burlington , and make a LT on Main St. Head towards the lake, and take a RT on Battery St. Continue north and make a LT on Institute Rd. The park is at the end of the road
Questions? Call the DREAM Office and ask for Liz, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The DREAM Program A Village Mentoring Organization PO Box 361 Winooski, VT 05404 Phone: 802-338-8979 E-mail: email@example.com
The DREAM Program's Alumni Newsletter