dreams4

About DREAMS©

DREAMS Brochure Final 2017.pdf

DREAMS© (Desire – Readiness – Empowerment – Action – Mastery for Success) is designed to lead a teenager toward academic success, professional flourishment and ultimately toward success in his or her life. Each step in this model is sequential and progressive toward the ‘S’ which stands for Success. The program was originally designed and implemented in diverse ways in India by Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas CMI. The program has been implemented for better holistic development of the low performing/at risk middle school students in Monroe, Louisiana, USA since 2012.The first step in this model tries to create a Desire from a fascination, this fascination then becomes a dream for life in each individual participant. Desire is the basic factor that leads to our performance. Therefore creating a powerful desire and attraction towards a goal in a student is an important factor for better performance. The second stage, Readiness, is the internalization or the realization part of fascination, where a student starts to think about the means and ways to move towards his/her dream. Once the goals are realistically set, a student needs to prepare and Empower himself or herself for reaching the goal. This empowerment comes basically from three realms: a) Intellectual: academic, work skills; b) social: moral, physical; c) psychological and emotional. Once the participant feels he/she is empowered, the next ring on the ladder of success is Action. According to Lance Armstrong, “the last one percent most people keep in reserve is the extra percent, the champions have the courage to burn”. This extra percent or the winning edge is Mastery which is the last step in the process towards Success.

Goals

The Goal of the DREAMS program is the holistic development of children through a clear and realistic goals in life. Focus will be on the physical, psychological, emotional, social, spiritual, and leadership aspects of each student and forming a group of socially responsible, mature, and successful teenagers in three years.

Objectives

  • To help teenagers learn and practice psychosocial and interpersonal skills through a supportive community of peers, senior mentors, and trainers
  • To help teenagers in setting their life, academic, and professional goals
  • To identify one’s own talents and weaknesses in order to develop their potential to the fullest
  • To make new friends, build meaningful relationships, and participate in life-changing events
  • To teach responsibility and instil leadership qualities in participants
  • Instil life values for better character and academic performance in order to achieve future life achievements.
  • To divert the attention of teenagers from bad influences
  • To create better citizens for the country/community

Implementation / Method

The DREAMS© intervention model is basically implemented through a five day summer life-orientation program for 30 lower-performing/at risk middle/high school students for three consecutive years. This includes life skill trainings, motivational sessions with activities, games, community services, concerts, workshops that address a wide variety of topics, and interactions with successful persons who persevered through hardships in his or her childhood. The participants will be mentored by the members of the Dream Team and evaluated for academic, social, psychological, and moral development throughout the years, especially during each summer program. This continuous assessment will be done through observations, surveys, and interviews. The reports will be documented in each student’s personal documents. During the summer program, each individual student will be given proper feedback based on the evaluation and journal reports.The DREAMS© summer program can greatly influence students since it is operated through a separate outside entity that connects schools and families. The program is not implemented as a yearly summer program rather it is a year round program with its follow up programs, including DREAMS Club meetings at each school, mentor’s consistent supports and letter of updates. Since the program is basically striving to instil intrinsic motivational dynamics and social life values, there is a strong need for recharging them with motivational activities. The program is also intertwined with many other developmental programs. The adult team members will scrupulously observe and interview their assigned participants and find their strengths, talents and weaknesses and help develop those skills. Based on their interests, participants will be directed and encouraged to attend the weekly musical training (DREAMS Band).The three years themes of the program focus on the three dimensional realms of our lives such as:  Self, Society and Leadership.
On self:           Self-concept, self-worth, attitude, confidence, creativity, time, talents, goal setting etc.
Society:          Includes social aspects, i.e., family relationships, social commitment, moral – ethical values, etc.
Leadership:  Problem solving, decision making, communication, time management, etc.
Each five-student cohort will have an adult mentor who will keep in constant contact with the participants’ parents and school. Participants of the program will return the following years as youth leaders to incoming participants once they finish their third year. After full implementation (year 1-3), the project will serve around 100 students (30 participants average in each group) at one time.

Research Findings

A pilot study of this program was conducted in 2012 by Fr. Lijo Thomas at the University of Louisiana, Monroe on 20 participants and found significant positive changes in the participants’ self-esteem, self-worth, motivation, and positive behaviours after attending the five day summer camp. The study was presented in an International Value Leadership Conference on October 1, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.He also did his doctoral research on the same project in 2013 at the University of Louisiana, Monroe on 32 middle school at risk students by using a mixed method. The longitudinal data were collected five different times throughout the year. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis reports showed that there were some significant improvements in the Self-Esteem, Self-Mastery, Motivation and Locus of Control, Life Orientation and Engagement, Academic Achievements, Personal and Interpersonal Behaviour of those who participated in the DREAMS program. The statistical analysis report identified that there were more significant positive changes in African American participants than others.New research is in the progress to assess the impact of this model in the Special Ed. Students at the Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, USA.