designing routes to education and mentorship
about ushistory and mission

History and Mission

Mentorship ProgramInitiated in 2001, by Dr. Barbara Falco-Kazemi and Dr. Reza Kazemi, dream originated as a scholarship-based program that offered students financial support to pursue postsecondary education. Eligibility was based on students writing a request letter. In contrast to typical scholarship programs, preference was based on effort and improvements; a student who progressed from a 60% to a 75% was rewarded over one that moved from 90% to 91% average.

Contest participation was disappointing. dream received only a few letters requesting support. Applicants were A plus students, often not most in-need of support. Some obvious questions arose: What are the strongest barriers to post-secondary education? How can dream reach students most "at-risk" of not pursuing post-secondary education? How can the community help to reduce the secondary school drop out rate of 32% in Ontario?

The answers to these questions helped shape dream into a four-year, alternative-learning Mentorship Program that offers not only financial support, but also much needed social and academic support.

Since 2004, dream has expanded into a community-based organization of volunteers who share the common mission of empowering youth with possibilities by creating a world where all students have equal opportunity to all levels of education. dream students participate in special events and meet with mentors twice a month to cover such topics as: Self-Awareness (year one); Community Awareness (year two); Social Awareness and Action (year three); and Leadership and Post-Secondary Readiness (year four).

Research has proven that post-secondary "participation rates are more strongly associated with the parents' level of education than with their income" (Drolet, 2005; Finnie, 2003). Surveys conducted by dream on Dunnville students in 2002 and 2003 confirm such national research.

For this reason, eligibility for the scholarship-based mentorship component of dream is currently open only to students with parents who have not attended university or have one year of college or less. See Scholarship Form.

To service all other youth in Dunnville, dream is expanding its curriculum to include: free tutoring, raising awareness-film and speaker series and working groups on global literacy, homelessness & poverty, preserving the environment and theatre for social change that is open to all youth in Dunnville.

See Events.

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