Currently, we have 3000 young people from some of the most challenging neighborhoods across 16 locations in Bangalore meaningfully engaged once a week in a 2-hour core Life Skills programs. This has been possible due to the commitments and support from donors like YOU, who have helped us, Dream a Dream, to help young adults realize and reach out to their dreams, one at a time.
It was a Dream come true for our graduate, Vishwa Dewan, 19-year-old, Dream graduate, who aspired to become an animator, and got an opportunity to purse his Media studies at College of DuPage, Chicago. Vishwa was selected to be one among the 42 Indian students to participate in the “Community College Initiative Program” which is an exchange program sponsored by United States Department of State.
He joined Dream A Dream and was part of the Life Skills Thru Football, outdoor camp, Fundays, and Dream Connect programs. Vishwa picked up a lot of skills like learning to try new things, anger management, good communication, assuming leadership roles, etc. He tells, “I was a very shy, silent, and lazy boy, but during the camps did lot of work, got an opportunity to show my leadership and was appreciated there. I felt being active in life is very important.”
Vishwa’s aspiration was to join military and serve the country, but his eye problem did not support. It was through the Dream Connect Program Vishwa explored his hidden talent and developed love towards Computers and wanted to do a degree in animation, but due to fat fee structure and financial problems had to join BSc in computers. But now, he says, “I see a hope through Dream A Dream who has provided me with an opportunity to go to US to do Media Studies at College of DuPage, Chicago.”
We at Dream A Dream are extremely proud of our young graduate who is on his path to realize his dreams with his commitment, faith, and determination. He reinforces our belief that with right learning opportunities and guidance they unleash their potential and take over the life’s challenges with confidence.
Organization and Program Updates:
Thank You for being the reason for many Dreams, Smiles, and Aspirations!!.
We look forward for a long-lasting relationship with you.
300 young adults from Dream A Dream’s Life skills program graduated this March. It is indeed a proud moment for us and it wouldn’t have been possible without your support. Underneath the graduation hats and behind the certificates we saw smiles that cannot be matched with words. Every smile had a story and one such smile was that of Anitha’s.
Anitha started to attend Dream A Dream's Life Skills Thru Football Program when she was studying in 7th grade at Makkala Jagriti. Anitha was a rigid but sensitive girl, and would get upset very quickly when corrected. Learning in the reflection circle gradually changed her. She says, “I used to make mistakes, but was not ready to accept it, after understanding what is right and wrong during the reflection circle, I decided to change because I realized that I was hurting others without thinking”.
Her parents wanted her to quit studying and start working. Confused, Anitha wondered what to do. A coordinator (also her mentor) at the Dream Sports Program encouraged her to think through solutions and discuss them with her parents. Today, she works part-time with the Dream Sports Program, after college hours, and knows that a better future lies ahead after she graduates from college. She now dreams of becoming a Police Officer and is working towards it.
We at Dream A dream are immensely proud of Anitha’s efforts and young adults like her reinforce our belief that the right exposure, opportunity and guidance can make a difference to their lives.
Organisational and program updates
As you read this, 30 facilitators from Dream A Dream’s Life skills program are going through intensive training on ‘Creative Facilitation’ and gearing up for the beginning of another academic year. It is only with your support that we have reached so far and we would like to thank you for continuing to be the wind beneath the wings of thousands of young adults like Anitha.
Amongst the many Life Skills development programs run at Dream A Dream for young people from disadvantaged programs, one of our most intensive and high-impact programs is the Dream Mentoring Program. One of the most powerful ways for us to empower young adults and provide them the last-mile support in their crucial adolescent phase.
61 volunteers were shortlisted from over 80 volunteer applications this year for the Jan-Feb 2012 batch of volunteer mentors.
The Dream Mentoring Program has been running for 6 years now bringing together community volunteers and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Started with just 10 mentor-mentee pairs in 2007, the program today engages 50 mentors every year to work one-on-one with 50 young adults at the most crucial time of their adolescent life.
The training is conducted by Dr. Dave Pearson and Dr. Fiona Kennedy, Clinical Psychologists from UK who have been volunteering with us since 2006 and have extensive experience in the area of child and adolescent psychology. They returned once again this year to support the training for Dream A Dream’s mentoring program. As always, they have been amazing, keeping the group engaged, with their fantastic sense of humour, bringing a lot of fun to learning and also challenging everyone to unlearn and open their minds to deeper listening and validation.
“The training was great! Fiona and Dave helped us understand what is to be a mentor. And we were taken care of so much, it felt good being there. As, a counsellor it was easy to understand the class. I also liked the way Fiona woke us up after a good lunch by making us do few stretching exercises! I am looking forward to meeting my mentee”, shared Mohsina Ahmed, a volunteer who was part of the training.
The training covered different aspects of child development psychology and skills practice needed for mentoring – child development, mental health, relationships, formulation, advanced formulation, validation, positive- negative reinforcements.
Talking about her experience at the training, Diana Thomas said, " The concept of mentoring a child was explained in the most simple and effective manner by Fiona and Dave. Also, the course manual put together by them is extremely user friendly. All in all it was a really good experience." The mentor manual authored by Dave and Fiona and published for the first time last year, have brought more depth to the training, allowing volunteers to read, remember concepts and practice.
At each session, volunteers engaged in role plays and group activities to practice skills in validation, formulation, positive-negative reinforcement, etc. This made the sessions interactive and really tested volunteers in terms of applying the skills learnt to a real-life situation with a young adult from a disadvantaged background.
At the end of the training, there was a greater understanding of behaviour of disadvantaged young people and how the forces of negative and positive reinforcements affect behaviour. The mentors came away with solid tools to engage in building strong personal connections with young people and helping them learn to solve their own challenges through the mentoring relationship.
Over the last 6 years, the program has had over 200 mentor-mentee relationships and has become one of the most intensive and high-impact programs for young people at Dream A Dream.
“I find myself missing my mentor the minute he leaves the centre. He has left me with enough advice and confidence to help me help my friends who go through the same difficulties as me. I feel confident.” ~ A young adult in the Dream Mentoring Program, 14 years
In order to scale the program, Dream A Dream is currently building an internal team of Master Trainers; Dave and Fiona are developing a Master Trainer’s Manual and we have just begun training staff at Partner NGOs to run their own mentor programs.
You can read some of the experiences of the program at the volunteer blog http://dreammentors.blogspot.in/
PS: Dream A Dream is amongst the 8 finalists at the Global Sports Forum Community Trophies. Help us win the awards by casting your vote NOW. It will take just 2 seconds. The link is http://www.globalsportsforum.org/community_trophies/ and the deadline is 15th February 2012
3000 children, 97 batches, across 16 locations in Bangalore are meaningfully engaged 1-2 times a week in core Life Skills programs. This has largely being possible due to the commitments and support from donors like YOU, who have helped us build this organization – one child at a time.
A child like Girish.
Girish is a 17-year old, young man currently pursuing his 2nd year of pre-university education. During this 9th grade, he was introduced to Makkala Jagriti, an NGO that was running a learning centre in his neighbourhood. He joined the learning centre to pick up some computer skills. It was during these visits that he was introduced to Dream A Dream and its various life skills programs. Girish was also keen to learn and play football but was unable to join the school team because he didn’t know how to play the game. Dream A Dream introduced the “Life Skills Thru Football” program for children and young people at Makkala Jagriti and Girish saw an opportunity to make his dream come true.
Girish initially struggled to pick up the skills. In his own words, “I was not at all playing correctly at beginning stage. But my coach instead of scolding me or punishing me, he encouraged me a lot. That encouragement and support of my coach and my parents gave me a will power in playing football.”
During his 10th grade, he became the captain of the School Football Team, a reflection of the self-confidence he was picking up along with the football skills. He ably led his school team in many tournaments. In one such tournament, Girish mentions that they reached upto the semi-finals and then lost a tough match. He says, “My team was very disappointed when we lost the match but I still encouraged my team.”
His passion for football continued in his college days as he continued to be an active participant in the Dream Life Skills Thru Football program. When Dream A Dream got an opportunity to send a team at a National Tournament in Nagpur, Girish was a natural choice. Girish’s excitement was visible, “That was the first time I went so far to play football. In that tournament we met with players from other states, they were very friendly with us. We enjoyed that, but coming to match, it was very tough tournament. Even then we didn’t give up and played hard. We tried our best but unluckily we lost in semi-finals. The whole team was very disappointed, but still our coach was encouraging us. On the last day of the tournament, our team got the Fair Play Award. That moment made us very happy.”
The tournament was also a platform to select a National Team for the Homeless World Cup to be hosted in Paris in August. 3 players from the Dream A Dream Team were short-listed to go for the National selections. Hence, Girish and 2 of his team-mates were back in Nagpur for the National selections. It was a tough group since there were young people from many different states and Girish put in his best effort. A few weeks later when Girish was informed that he was one of the young people selected for the team that will represent India at the Homeless World Cup, his happiness knew no bounds. He said, “I am very happy to represent our great Nation. My aim is to play good in the match and bring a good name to our India. I am sure that I will achieve in this because my parents and my coaches blessings will be always on me .And I am very thankful to Dream A Dream and KVSN.”
Being the eldest son in the family, Girish is well aware of his responsibilities and the expectations his parents have of him. Girish admits, “My parents have a lot of expectations on me that I will perform good in my studies and as I am interested in football, they expect me to perform well in that too. I am confident that I will perform well in both and I have to - because my father works as a gardener and my mother works as a maid. Keeping this in mind I am doing good in my studies and waiting for a good opportunity in football. Later on in my future I will have to look after my family.”
“What a pleasure it was to spend time with him in Paris! I think over time I have grown to understand your organization and it's philosophies more and more and in my opinion Girish encompasses all that you want to achieve. He was a great ambassador for Dream A Dream, Slum Soccer and above all was a fabulous representative of Team India. It might be that it is his nature to be as polite and friendly as he is, but I think your work has gone a long way in moulding him into the fine young man that he is today. You have with you a gem of a boy. Cherish him and I'm certain he will repay you all for your efforts.
All in all, and in retrospect it was a fabulous start to our association with regards to the Homeless World Cup. I look forward to having more of your boys and at least one girl on the Indian team to Mexico City 2012.” ~ Akshay Madhavan, Slum Soccer post Girish’s participation at the Homesless World Cup in Paris in 2011.
We at Dream A Dream are tremendously proud of Girish for this commitment, determination and faith in his dreams. He reinforces our belief that when children and young people are given the right learning opportunities and guidance they will bloom and build in them the confidence to take on life challenges.
We look forward to this year with excitement and hope. Everyday brings a smile on our face when we see a child taking on challenges in their life with determination and commitment. You are an integral part of this journey and YOUR support makes all the difference.
We have just launched a campaign to enroll 200 donors in our monthly giving program. You can sign-up to be a monthly giver at GlobalGiving and ensure that every child at Dream A Dream is able to graduate successfully from our Life Skills program just as Vishnu did.
Thank you. Do visit our website for continued updates at www.dreamadream.org
The New Year at Dream A Dream started in April and in June as the school year began, 2400 children in the age group of 6-15 enrolled into our Life Skills Programs for the year. This was the most number of children we have enrolled in our programs in a single month.
Over 80 batches are run across 15 locations in Bangalore, India 1-2 times a week engaging 25-30 children per batch in core Life Skills programs. This has largely being possible due to the commitments and support from donors like YOU, who have helped us build this organization – one child at a time.
A child like Vishnu.
From unlocking the computer room at 3 PM to packing up the laptops and locking it up, Vishnu would do everything. One look at him and you’ll realize that he is pretty much the star of the school, a kind of icon that his classmates look up to. Vishnu recently completed 2 years at the Dream Life Skills program teaching computers and as he graduated from this 10th grade, his confidence was clearly visible.
Coming from a free school run by a partner charity because his parents could not afford to send him to school, Vishnu has been a story of determination and transformation.
Vishnu can be characterized by his ability to take initiative and volunteer for tasks in the sessions and at the same time committed to complete all his session plans as part of his learning. Along with completing the given activity on time, he would assist in buying snacks and packing up after the session. Being one of few who have the privilege of owning a computer, Vishnu puts it to good use. Not only does he learn and practice at home but also ensures that his peers are doing well.
Vishnu wears a naughty grin on his face, perpetually and at the same time is one of the most brilliant students in his class.
The Dream LearnIT program helped not only hone is computer skills but also helped him inculcate in himself some life skills which he began exhibiting in his behavior.
Looking ahead, one cannot deny that Vishnu’s future is bright.
We at Dream A Dream feel tremendously proud of Vishnu’s achievements and are happy that we are able to provide these experiences to over 3000 children a year now.
Some of the key highlights of the last 3 months have been:
We have just launched a campaign to enroll 200 donors in our monthly giving program. You can sign-up to be a monthly giver at Global Giving and ensure that every child at Dream A Dream is able to graduate successfully from our Life Skills program just as Vishnu did.
Thank you. Do visit our website for continued updates at www.dreamadream.org
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