designing routes to education and mentorship
mentorship program - four year program four-year program

Four-year Mentorship Program

Mentorship ProgramExpanding a student's circles of awareness, dream's curriculum focuses on: Self-Awareness (year one); Community Awareness (year two); Social Awareness (year three); and, Post-Secondary Readiness (year four).

The length and comprehensive nature of the four-year curriculum not only conveys dream's commitment to students, but also provides much-needed time for self-reflection and post-secondary preparation.

Grade Nine: Self-Awareness and Community Building

"This is me in Grade 9 baby, this is me in grade 9, / I found my locker and I found my classes / Lost my lunch and I broke my glasses. / That guy is huge! That girl is wailin'! / First day of school and I'm already failing."

"Grade Nine," by the Barenaked Ladies, captures the intimidating, trying to fit in, and "not look like a minor niner" challenges. dream builds a safe community of academic and social support for students. First term explores goals, develops communication skills, and tackles peer pressure. Second term examines self-imposed internal blocks preventing achievement. Interactive, arts-based workshops explore Building Self-Esteem and Confidence, Dealing with Anger, Empowering Values and more. Grade 9 students deliver a workshop to Grade 8 classes, and travel to post-secondary institutes for open houses of undergraduate programs. Yes, even the "niner" dreaming about post-secondary possibilities is not so "minor," nor too soon!

Grade Ten: Community Awareness and Visual Empowerment

"Tank Man," Jeff Widener's famous photo of the lone man whose passive resistance halted advancing tanks in the1989 Tiananmen Square protests, was celebrated internationally as a powerful symbol of youth resistance, acclaimed as one of 100 photos that changed the world and depicted by the People's Republic of China, as a symbol of irresponsible opportunist rioters. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, but whose?

Year two focuses on framing and perceiving to expand a student's awareness. First term workshops on photography, visual story-telling, family albums, self-portraits and advertising, along with second term community case studies (personal stories of people who hit roadblocks or overcame challenges) explore how individuals are often "framed" by their communities and how such external shaping may influence personal choices and achievements. Students are given a camera and asked: Where do you live? The photo-answers help them understand how their own community can be "reframed." And, no generation should be more encouraged to analyze images than today's youth who are bombarded by visuals. Typical teenagers will process over 3000 discrete ads in a single day and 10 million by the time they are 18

Grade Eleven: Social Awareness and Action

"We can't afford for this generation to disappear for the next 20 years as they build their businesses or advance their careers. We need them to apply the unique capabilities of their generation for the broader social good. The global village needs business innovation for economic progress. But businesses need a world of social justice, equality of opportunity and stability...Business can't succeed in a world that is failing." Don Tapscott, Trent University, Convocation Speech, 2006

Year three invites students not just to recognize their membership in a larger, global village, but to take action locally for the broader social good. Workshops, and role-playing case studies on poverty, child labour, globalization and more introduce students to groups in need of empowerment. Through story, movement, music, visual arts, improvisational scene-acting, and intervening spectatorship, students do not sit comfortably in their seats as mere observers of the social issues. Instead, they are encouraged to interject in the unfolding action, to ask questions, to offer alternative solutions, and to apply the unique capabilities they develop in mentorship sessions to real life.

Grade Eleven Field School Option
Participants of dream's Global Literacy Program-Ek Balam, Mexico embark on a cultural exchange adventure in second semester that includes: workshops, house visits, social presentations and historical tours. Students expand their global literacy skills; learn about the social and cultural issues facing the community of Ek Balam; and, work with Mayan youth and community members to promote positive change. See Global Literacy Program-Ek Balam, Mexico.

Grade Twelve: Post Secondary Readiness and Leadership

Preparations for post-secondary education continue as year four students meet with undergraduates and service providers offering insights into the challenges of life and study away from home. Guest speakers and fieldtrips expose students to various educational programs, universities and colleges. Students attend workshops on: applying to post secondary programs; researching grants and scholarships; writing resumes and letters of transmittal; developing interviewing skills, life planning, goal setting and campus life. Empowered with possibilities, year four students are attending self-reflective workshops; evaluating their struggles and triumphs; and leading a new generation of grade nine students to dream. See how to become a Student Mentor.

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