Empowering Vulnerable Young People with LifeSkills

 
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May 29, 2012

You were the wind beneath their wings

A proud moment for the young graduate.
A proud moment for the young graduate.

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 

  • Dream A Dream organized its first ever official graduation program with 300 graduating young adults
  • As part of the scaling plan, two teacher trainings for 60 teachers were conducted in May. One of the teachers training was conducted in Bihar and marked Dream A Dream’s first stride outside Karnataka.
  • The Dream Connect center that empowers 10th standard graduates / drop-outs aged 15+ years (Dream A Dream Alumni) by offering the tools and foundational life skills necessary for career development, ran it’s summer programs and reached out to 120 young adults
  • In April the first ‘Outdoor Experiential camp’ for the year was conducted impacting 30 young adults.
  • Dream A Dream won the Silver award for the most socially innovative project at the Global sports forum, Barcelona.
  • Bobbymon George, head of programs represented Dream A Dream at the Street football network conference conducted by Big issue, Australia in the month of May, 2012
  • Annual Planning and Budgets completed for the year 2012-13

 

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.

The Dream walk of honour
The Dream walk of honour
The smile says it all -Dream Graduate Anitha
The smile says it all -Dream Graduate Anitha

Links:

Feb 9, 2012

Transforming Young Lives through Community Mentors

Dr. Dave and Dr. Fiona Pearson
Dr. Dave and Dr. Fiona Pearson

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

Dream Mentoring Manual
Dream Mentoring Manual
Mentors 2012 Batch
Mentors 2012 Batch

Links:

Oct 28, 2011

Empowering 17-year old Girish to Nurture his Dream

Girish at this Football Practice
Girish at this Football Practice

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

Girish with his Football Team
Girish with his Football Team

Links:

Jul 21, 2011

The New Year begins with a Bang!

Vishnu making a presentation
Vishnu making a presentation

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:

Organizational Highlights:

  1. Annual Planning and Budgets completed for the year 2011-12
  2. Winner at the Most Outstanding Annual report Awards for the year 2009-10 hosted by CSO Partners and FMSF.
  3. Shortlisted to present Dream A Dream’s scale plans at Ashoka Globalizer event hosted by Ashoka – Innovators for the public (www.ashoka.org). The event brought together 16 Ashoka Fellows from across the world to present their plans and models to an esteemed network of successful business entrepreneurs and seek their inputs on strengthening their plans.

Program Highlights:

  1. 2400 children enrolled in our various Life Skills Programs since June. Plan to enroll another 600-800 children in the second quarter.
  2. Completed a Life Skills for Career Development program during the summer for 130 young people enrolled in our DreamConnect Program. The program will continue for another 600 young adults through the year.
  3. Completed “Lead Facilitator” training for 8 Trainers in partnership with PYE Global in early July. This is an ongoing partnership to develop a team of Lead Facilitators for our scale plans.
  4. Completed a Teacher Training Program on Life Skills Development for a school in Munirabad, Belgaum as part of our prototype scale plans
  5. Completed 3 Teacher Training workshops on Life Skills Development and Creative Facilitation for staff from Agastya Foundation as part of our prototype scale plans
  6. With support from Grassroot Soccer (GRS), South Africa we have completed the “Life Skills Thru Football (LSTF)” Curriculum. This curriculum has been developed for children from Grad 4 to Grad 10 encompassing 40 sessions a year (structured and unstructured)
  7. With support from GRS we have completed the “Training of Life Skills Facilitators Manual” to deliver the LSTF Curriculum. The manual covers 4 primary areas of Dream A Dream Engagement with children/youth. These include Giving Praise, Creating a Safe Space, Building Personal connections and having Vital Conversations.
  8. Completed a 5-day intensive training for all Life Skills Facilitators in our LSTF program. The training was conducted by GRS representative Taylor Downs alongwith Lead Facilitators from Dream A Dream.

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 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

Girls in our Life Skills Thru Football Program
Girls in our Life Skills Thru Football Program
A girl at our Learning Exposure program
A girl at our Learning Exposure program
Apr 12, 2011

Building Skills for Life: 3000 children a year

Children shaping their dreams
Children shaping their dreams

Greetings from Dream A Dream!

Someone rightly said, "Every child can be reached; you just have to stretch far enough." ~ Copyright © 2006 Robyn Sorrell. At Dream A Dream, it is a consistent endeavour to reach out to many more like you to support our effort to reach out to every child we can.

Thank you very much for coming forward to support Dream A Dream with your generous contributions.

The funds contributed by you will help Dream A Dream continue to strengthen and deepen its work with its 3000 children. Here is a few examples of how;

Faheem is 17-years old and after being part of the Life Skills Programs at Dream A Dream, he started volunteering in our computer education program to support other children like him.  “I am putting my free time to use. Since I attend evening college, I have a lot of time during the day. My experience with Dream A Dream was extremely good. I learnt a huge amount in such a small amount of time. It's amazing working with children.”

Here is another story from one of our facilitators as they heard it from Saraswathi, a young adult at Dream A Dream.

Saraswathi is 15 years old and lives with her father, mother and sisters. When she was in her High-School she got associated with Dream A Dream and participated in their various Life Skills Development programs. The participation gave her courage and self-confidence. This inspired her to study well and complete her 10th standard. It made her sad that she would not be able to keep in touch with Dream A Dream (since she was leaving the school). But then she got to know of a new opportunity – Life Skills for Career Development at the DreamConnect Center run by Dream A Dream. They were offering Spoken English Classes over the summer vacation.

 

Sarawathi was delighted and joined the program. Meanwhile, her 10th grade board exams results were announced and she passed in flying colours. However, she was anxious because she was unable to choose a particular stream of college education (Arts/Commerce/Science). DreamConnect introduced her to a Career Counselor and through an assessment she confidently chose to pursue a degree in Commerce.

 

Since then, she is a regular at the DreamConnect center. Saraswathi expresses her gratitude and hopes that more youth will benefit in future.

 

In the year 2011-12, Dream A Dream has impacted the lives of 3000 children and young adults like Faheem and Saraswathi with your belief and faith in us.

 

Do check out our latest updated and sign up for our monthly newsletter at www.dreamadream.org. We would also love to hear from you about how else you can support us and how we can build this community of supporters. 

 

Thank you and look forward to hearing from you,

 

With Dreams,

 

 

Vishal Talreja

Co-founder & Executive Director

Dream A Dream

www.dreamadream.org

 

Dream A Dream is a professional NGO focused on empowering children from vulnerable backgrounds by developing life skills and at the same time creating a sensitive community through active volunteering. We offer high quality, high-impact after-school life skills learning programs to over 3000 children every year using mediums such as sports, outdoor adventure, creative arts, computer education, mentoring and Life Skills for career development. 

 

The children largely come from vulnerable backgrounds such as orphans, abandoned or runaway children and many of them from Bangalore’s urban slum communities. While their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and education are taken care of, Dream A Dream provides them the critical opportunities to develop skills such as creative thinking, decision making, team skills, communication and inter-personal skills amongst others that are so crucial to help them breakout of the cycle of poverty.

 

You will be delighted to know that Dream A Dream was recently announced as the Winner of the “Outstanding Annual Report of the Year Award”. The CEO of CSO Partners stated, “We congratulate you for upholding high standards of transparency and disclosure in this most important credibility building tool.”

 

Dream A Dream has been a Regional Finalist at the India NGO Awards in 2007 & 2009; Runner-up at the Outstanding Annual Report Awards in 2008 & 2009 and a Runner-up at the Global Award for Most Innovative Development Project 2010. 

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Organization

Dream A Dream

Jayanagar, Bangalore, India, India
http://www.dreamadream.org

Project Leader

Vishal Talreja

vishalta@gmail.com
Bangalore, Karnataka India

Where is this project located?

Map of Empowering Vulnerable Young People with LifeSkills