Dream Project

April 25, 2019

Student Leader Reflection: Abby Eleccion

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A reflection by Abby Eleccion, current Dream Project student leader

I joined Dream Project as a freshman to give back to my community. An organization with a goal to create equity and social justice in the education system by being a resource in local high schools was alluring to someone with my background. I am a first-generation college student who struggled with every step of the college admission process as I had to learn everything on my own. I registered for my first quarter of Dream Project and became a mentor, albeit a timid one, for the first time. Being a mentor meant supporting high school students with college applications, financial aid and providing information on other post-secondary pathways. This was immense to me because this type of support was something that was missing from my own experience. Though not the easiest role for someone who others would describe as soft spoken, I was able to see the impact of my work every day and it ignited a passion within me to continue. With every quarter that I returned, I gained more confidence, learned more technical knowledge and cultivated new connections with the people around me. I grew to love the community of Dream Project and felt that I had found a space that I belonged to.

Since then, I have moved on from being a mentor to being a High School Lead at my alma mater, Cleveland High School and today serving as a High School Lead Manager for the current High School Lead cohort. Each year, as my knowledge has grown, I have pursued a higher position with more responsibility. These leadership roles challenge me as a person to continue to create a more efficient, more organized, more professional and more impactful version of myself. I’ve gone from being responsible for just my own actions to being responsible for several mentors and to now being responsible for several schools as I help to manage our program. I have not only grown with our organization but can say I have had a hand into building it into what it is today. I’ve gone from being a shy, yet eager freshman into a leader, able to present confidently to a room and exhibit the kind of characteristics to properly represent Dream Project. I’m aware that my experiences in this organization go beyond myself but I have also benefited as well. I have cultivated tangible skills that will serve me well after university as well as creating a network of individuals motivated to make the same changes in our education system as I am. I know that I wouldn’t be the student, leader and person I am today without this community.