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(1/2 plate) I Have a Dream
February 14, 2016 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
(1/2 plate) I Have a Dream for the class we are sponsoring.
IHAD Boulder County has six active classes and two fully graduated classes. Well over 400 children and their families have been assisted so far by IHAD and there is potential for the “adoption” of many more schools in the future. Many of the Dreamers do community service work within Boulder County to give back to their communities.
In the affluent Boulder County community, there are “invisible,” impoverished communities whose young people face tremendous obstacles to academic and life success. The “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County is dedicated to helping these low-income youth achieve a brighter future through a long-term, comprehensive educational and cultural enrichment program. The ultimate goal of “I Have a Dream” is to provide the youth it serves with the necessary support and trusting relationships they need to close the achievement gap with their more affluent peers and complete high school prepared for higher education and a fulfilling career. As a unique incentive, the program offers each Dreamer a four-year tuition-assistance scholarship for college or vocational school upon successful completion of high school.
Working closely with local officials and schools, “I Have a Dream” casts a broad net and does not pick “the cream of the crop” or the children most “at risk,” but instead selects 50 low-income youth from the second or third grade – “Dreamers” – that have the potential to benefit the most from the program. The only criterion for selection into the program is that the student is on the federal free or reduced lunch program or s/he live in a low-income housing site. Once the 50 students are selected, a program director is hired and a learning center is set up in a school or at a low-income housing site, exclusively for use by that “Dreamer class.” The Dreamers are provided with year-round programming from the time they are sponsored in the second or third grade through high school graduation, then to and through post-secondary education. They are taught at an early age that college is possible for them, and as they mature, they receive extensive career and college preparation guidance, attend numerous campus visits, and are assisted with the application process.
But “I Have a Dream” provides more than just academic enrichment to help the Dreamers achieve their academic and career goals, including social-emotional development and extracurricular opportunities. The long-term aspect of the organization provides a unique opportunity to follow the Dreamers as they progress grade level and to develop unique relationships with them and their families, creating a strong academic, social, and emotional support system. Program Directors also develop relationships with school officials, teachers, community organizations, and volunteers that open up the door for a variety of extracurricular and cultural enrichment opportunities that help the Dreamers develop skill sets that lead to future successes, both academically and personally.
Currently, “I Have a Dream” actively works with over 400 Dreamers from 9 of its 15 Dreamer classes, including 7 Dreamer classes (grades 3-12) and about 80 Dreamers in post-secondary education. The comprehensive, year-round programming offered includes one-on-one tutoring and mentoring, literacy and STEM support, computer technology training, life skills workshops, health and wellness workshops, extracurricular opportunities, parental development outreach, public achievement / service learning opportunities, and college and career preparation. And this year, 2015, the organization celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a selection of stories and thoughts from our Dreamers, volunteers, and former AmeriCorps members.