It’s so much more than 2 credits. Meeting new people. Changing lives. Making dreams of the future reality. And of course, those extra 2 credits are always nice. But the Dream Project is so much more than a college course. It’s a community. A team. A family. And in our team of mentors, mentees, and volunteers, we continue to strive towards making a difference in our future.
Winter quarter is quickly coming to a close. For the Dream Project mentors and mentees, this translates into the end of the final quarter working with this year’s seniors. It has been a successful, wonderful, and fulfilling year promising many bright futures. We have seen these outstanding students starting out hesitant to the daunting college application process, and we are only reminded everyday why we do everything we do.
As the quarter approaches its last week of classes, indescribable emotions fill the Dream Project community of mentors and mentees. Whether a part of the Project for the entire 2013-2014 year, or just starting out this last Winter quarter, many of us are not necessarily eager for the final visit. However, most importantly, we are proud of our mentees and how much they’ve grown and accomplished over the year.
So many seniors in south King County high schools are now en route to college and pursuing their dreams. These dreams are boundless. A few I have come across this year have included a young woman hoping to become an endocrinologist, despite having faced something very few of us ever have had to think about – finding refuge in the U.S. from the conflict in Somalia.
Another dream comes from a young man, growing up in a home with a single parent, where the only income source was from state aid. And yet he aspired to become a computer engineer, and had the mentality that could help them get there.
For a third, facing financial difficulties, college was seen as an impossibility. Yet the College Bound Scholarship promised a full-ride to a higher education, and here he is already accepted into two colleges (just waiting to hear from UW!). These dreams are becoming realized as these local high school students are supported and helped by University of Washington students and volunteers to make their dreams possible.
The new year is starting for the Dream Project as we start meeting Junior students getting ready for their final year in high school and preparing for their futures. And with a new year, comes the search for new inspirers. If you are reading this, not yet having experienced the life-changing opportunity of mentoring these high school students, ask yourself this one question. How many credits do you have planned next quarter? If your answer is 16 or less, I’ve found the solution to your search for those last couple of credits. I’ve learned the handy-dandy magic skill of hyperlinks. So take a moment, move your mouse cursor to the blue underlined text, and, join the Dream Project!
In case I haven’t sold you with my hints of enthusiasm, here are some words from other Dream Project members working behind-the-scenes in the influential Dream Project committee:
”Why I joined”
“I joined to get involved. I stayed because of the positive impact I was making on the students I worked with.” – Jeremy Webb, AmeriCorps member
“I understand what it’s like to be a minority and lack the resources a lot of peers had. I want to be the support system for these students.” – Will Kittel, Mentee Retention Coach
“I joined DP after seeing a lawn post. I would later go to a lecture where the leads talked about the core values, and felt really connected to its mission. I came from a very diverse high school and I think people from the diverse types of communities we work with can bring a lot to universities.” – Luwam Alemayehu, Class Lead
“I joined DP because my friends wanted me to. I stayed because I found a community at UW that supported me personally and professionally. I stayed because I worked with seven amazing high school students that mentored me as much as I mentored them.” – Amrita Heer, Program Support Coordinator
“I joined DP because my friend suggested it and I was looking for a community in my Freshman Year. And I found it.” – Nicholas Lee, High School Lead Manager
One of the many great things about the Dream Project is that there are so many options to work into any schedule. Working with high school students in Seattle, consider how many high school seniors need mentors. In order to meet the demand of support for so many high school students, there are weekly Dream Project visits offered ranging from meeting at 6:30 am (with free coffee provided of course) to the afternoons. So find one that fits in your schedule, and join the movement. The Dream Project movement. In the end, we only hope that you find it one of the most rewarding experiences in your Undergraduate years.
We like lists. Here’s a couple of things that are what most people consider the best perks of being a part of the Dream Project:
- Meeting new people
- Joining a community
- Improving mentorship skills
- 2 credits towards EDUC, Electives, or Writing
- Free Food!
- Valuable resume experience
- Making a difference in Seattle’s education
Cons? Well, I have yet to hear one.
Sure, some of us had joined this project for those 2 credits, but we are ending with so much more out of the experience. Join the Dream Project and help continue our goal of making the dream of a higher education trump any form of adversity.