The chapter in Monroe, Louisiana was established in connection with the implementation of the DREAMS intervention model research by Fr. Lijo Thomas in July 2011 at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. The co-founder of this chapter, Mrs. Maribeth Holzer played a vital role in designing the program. Maribeth redesigned the program by implementing games and team building activities to make the program more fun and meaningful for participants. Later a team of volunteers, Mrs. Angie Opry, Mrs. Janet Breard, Fr. Job Scaria, and additional community volunteers joined the team. Ms. Kaici Gordon was the first youth volunteer to join the team. She, along with many other teens, brought enthusiasm and leadership that participants could relate to.
In 2012, the program was moved to Ouachita Junior High School in Monroe. The program was shown to be beneficial for under-performing middle school students. The pilot study and another longitudinal study showed that there were significant improvements in self-esteem, motivation, and personal and interpersonal behavior of those who participated in the DREAMS program.
The Monroe DREAMS Chapter serves approximately 33 students per year with the help of 12 youth mentors and 10 adult community volunteers. Mrs. Kristy Cobb is the school representative of the chapter. She provides a fast-paced program that is full of fun, learning, and self-reflection. Not only does she add fun and enthusiasm to the summer program, she serves as a mentor to participants all through the year.
In 2012 Ms. Maribeth Holzer further introduced the program with the leadership of Ouachita School System and later it was welcomed by the system and introduced to Ouachita Junior High School, Monroe for the betterment of under-performing middle school students. The pilot study and another longitudinal study showed that there were significant improvements in self-esteem, self-mastery, motivation, locus of control, life-orientation and engagement, academic achievements, and personal and interpersonal behavior of those who participated in the DREAMS program.
The Monroe DREAMS Chapter serves an average of 33 students with the help of around 12 youth mentors and around 10 adult community volunteers every year. Ms. Kristy Cob is the school representative of the chapter.
The DREAMS Band in Monroe, LA strives to make a positive impact in the community by utilizing their musical skills with the help of local musicians and youth musicians. The Monroe DREAMS Band began its journey in 2010 with a mission to build self-confidence in youth through pursuing their musical desires. Local community members provided free piano, guitar, and drum lessons to children and youth every Sunday afternoon at the University of Louisiana Monroe’s Catholic Campus Ministries. Mr. Lamar Trichelle played a significant role in getting the band started. His commitment to the band, along with Mr. Gary Guiniguindo and Kody Chase, made the dream possible. Mrs. Sheila Martin and Mrs. Maribeth Holzer were instrumental in organizing events/concerts and coordinating the parents of the students; eventually leading to a band completely managed by the parents of the band members.
The band performed several concerts and musical events in and outside of Louisiana. The band performed Christmas Canticles for Shalom, a global TV network, in 2015. Later in 2016, the band published its first educational music album, Math Music, to teach kids mathematical concepts through music. The band performs every year at the Monroe DREAMS Camps
To date, more than 135 youth have played in the band and built their musical, psycho-social, and leadership skills for their future success. Presently, the leadership of the band is comprised of Mr. Carlos Tenorio (Music Director), Mrs. Sheila Martin (Parents’ Coordinator), Mr. Abraham Arun (Manager), and Ms. Liza Barkely (Band Lead).
The DREAMS Pro-club is a support group for the personal and professional development of young professionals. Small groups of 10-12 working professionals meet once every month to discuss and implement strategies for their professional growth. The club helps in inculcating values of identity and community belonging among the members. The program aims at enhancing communication skills, generating positive attitudes about self and others, developing leadership, cooperation, and community engagement.
This platform is yet to be initiated. Those who are interested to take a partnership may contact Mr. Arun Marian for further details.