I’ve witnessed the program change lives in a way that I have never seen any program with similar goals could ever even imagine. Everyone should have a chance to see that they can do anything, and I will help in any way I can to make that happen
I believe I have a grasp of the vision & I would like to do everything I can to help realize that vision on as impactful of a scale as possible.
“….Through encouragement and support from their team members, those that were reluctant slowly allowed themselves to try. You could see a smile on their faces after they participated. The importance of team support, working with others to develop a strategy, and being needed by others seemed to be a new concept. Once the students saw that that idea worked, the idea was quickly accepted. It appeared to me that the students would need constant reminders to help them keep the life changes that we were trying to teach”
“The program has had an impact on student’s self-esteem and confidence. Many of the students are more confident in their approach toward their peers. Several of them have become more social and caring in their mannerisms. Even the most shy students come out of their shells when they are around others.
When I see any of them doing something that he/she should not be doing, I just have to say “Is this an action of a DREAMS participant.” The student will readily answer in the negative and will change in his/her behavior. I can only answer for their change at school, not any of the other.”
“Being that my children are home schooled, I feel that the program has provided them an opportunity to be exposed to situations they may not otherwise have been exposed to. For example, group discussions on suicide, bullying, peer pressure etc. Things my children do not face on a day to day basis. Also, I like the leadership aspect that is encouraged throughout the program. I think the program has also helped them see the importance of setting goals and having purpose. We discuss these as a family, but the program helped to make it real to them”.
Each student came to the program with different needs, as well as different backgrounds. However, what was the same in each student was some level of growth in motivation, confidence in personal ability, self esteem, importance of team work, etc. The degree of growth may have been different, but evidence of a positive change was apparent in each and every student in my group. One student missed much of the week this past summer. I am not confident she was able to experience the benefits of the program. I was privileged to be outside each morning to greet every student as they arrived for the program. It was an incredible experience for me to watch the changes and growth as the week progressed. The students demonstrated cheery dispositions and happy anticipation to see each other, in most cases, as the week continued! Some students offered there delight in being there and desire to keep coming back!
My experience demonstrated to me a truly positive change had occurred in each and every student, some to a greater degree than others. As the week concluded, students were demonstrating attempts at problem solving solutions, confidence and respect between each other and with team leaders, a truly team work attitude, and the importance of setting goals for a successful future. There were 2-3 students I wasn’t confident would allow themselves to progress. These students were the ones that surprised me the most!
“I was organizing my closet and came across my DREAMS tshirt. This reminded me of how much fun I had with your students and how your volunteer team made me feel extremely welcome”.
“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the DREAMS”.
“Greetings everyone! I was first introduced to the DREAMS program by Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas and Mrs. Maribeth Holzer. From the moment I met these two beautiful people, I immediately knew that this was the right program and community for me. As they spoke to me about the work they do, they also asked me to do a public speaking event. I was immediately intrigued, but also slightly nervous to embark on a new journey. Fr. Lijo and Maribeth both could sense my anxiety and gave me beautiful words of encouragement.
They also personally saw my development as a youth mentor, giving me new responsibilities and encouraging me every step of the way to step out of my comfort zone. I truly know that God placed them in my life. While the entire program is centred around the growth and development of our participants, the students are not the only ones growing in this program. Mentors, parents, speakers, and anyone who participated in our events always grew significantly.
Each adult mentor instilled something different in my life. Leaders like Dr Anthony Walker, Ms. Dani Chase, Ms. Kristie Cobb, Ms. Linda LeGrand, and Ms. Janet Breard to name a few, always encouraged me to pursue my faith, dreams, and goals that I had for my life.
Fr. Lijo and Mrs Maribeth gave me daily feedback and great advice to help me achieve my full potential not only in the program but in every area of my life. To know that I had such positive role models that believed in me is still such an indescribable feeling. Each day that I attended a DREAMS event, my goal was to holistically help and encourage our students; however, the students are not the only ones who benefit from the program. DREAMS taught me the importance of a community. We lean on each other and, whenever we are weak, we have a support system that is able to build us up. To see such dedicated mentors desiring to help their communities at no cost to the students or their parents consistently warms my heart. I have made lasting growth from this program that I know will follow me all my life. I am grateful for the chance to hone my leadership and public speaking skills while also building new relationships and changing my community. Dear Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas and the entire DREAMS staff, thank you. I am blessed and grateful to work with such an amazing team. God bless you all.”