Founded in 1999 by students attending Dartmouth College (see our history), DREAM is a non-profit mentoring program that pairs college students and children living in subsidized housing developments in Vermont.
DREAM combines best practices from both mentoring and community development programs to create a unique experience for the college students and the children. During weekly meetings at the colleges, the students work as a team to provide mentoring activities to children in both individual and group settings. Our volunteer mentors also work with parents from the developments to ensure that their local DREAM program is inclusive, safe, and inspiring. The long-term relationships that develop between the children and mentors are the foundation of our programs and provide a means for children to engage in positive risk-taking, see new perspectives and take advantage of community resources.
Our organization operates on three levels to facilitate these activities. All direct service (mentoring, trips, community events, etc.) is independently planned and run by the individual Local Programs (check out a program overview). Each of these is composed of the student volunteers from a specific college and the families from the development with which they've been paired (see our network of Local Programs). In addition to these programs, our Central Office ("The DREAM Program, Inc.") was created with a state-wide focus to support the Local Programs by providing advice, resources, and other facets of indirect service (meet the Central Office). And finally, the extended DREAM family of alumni, organizations, institutions, associations, and individuals who support us along the way and allow us to have an even greater impact in the communities with which we've teamed.