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Dream Project

Welcome back!

Olivia Smith, public relations manager

Getting ready for a new year in the Dream Project

With summer over and the fall quarter in full swing, we couldn’t be more excited kick off a great school year with new mentees, mentors and leaders. Serving 14 high schools in King County, we assist low-income and first-generation high school students to pursue higher education and raise awareness among university students about educational opportunity and social mobility.

Year in review

Dream Project just completed its third year as a partner in the Road Map to College initiative, working with other organizations to host events like College Application Completion and FAFSA Completion. Last year was also the second most successful year yet for the college and career readiness assistant program, with more than 40 CCRAs in both our partner and non-partner schools.

Last fall, we brought more than 750 mentees to Admissions Workshop Weekend (AWW), which featured food trucks and inspirational guest speakers. In the winter, we had Scholarship Saturday, where we provided more than 200 students the opportunity to complete their FAFSA or WASFA and to apply for scholarships. And of course, in the spring we had Spring BBQ, which brought nearly 1,000 high school juniors to the UW campus. They were able to get a tour of campus, sit in on a mock lecture and listen to guest speakers over lunch. For many of the students we work with, this was their first visit to a college campus and a time for them to start thinking about post-high school plans. In the spring we had one of our most successful “Live the Dream” ceremonies, giving out 22 scholarships and hearing speeches from Dream Project leaders as well as UW staff and scholarship recipients.

These events, along with weekly high school visits, helped to create an amazing year! As we gear up for the year ahead, Dream Project mentors are learning how to help students navigate the college application process. They will soon begin weekly high school visits to guide seniors as they pursue their educational interests and goals. Mentors help seniors write strong personal statements and other essays for their applications.

Reflecting on my time in the Dream Project

After working with the Dream Project for 2 years, I can honestly say that the work we do and all of the effort put into the program—both by us and our mentees—is very gratifying. As we begin a new year, I have no doubt that mentors will continue to build rewarding relationships with students and will continue to contribute to the success of our mentees. So many mentors and mentees have grown into inspiring leaders through their Dream Project experiences! If you have any questions about the Dream Project, come by our office in room 274 of Mary Gates Hall! We love to share our experiences and to find ways to get involved.

Here’s to a great year—we hope to see you around!

Olivia Smith has been a mentor for three quarters at Rainier Beach High School and at Arts & Academics Academy. She also oversees public relations for the Dream Project and is a college and career readiness assistant (CCRA) at Mount Rainier High School.