Its rightly said “The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for” ~ Allan K. Chalmers
Thank You for adding these Something’s to the life of many young people from vulnerable backgrounds through our (Dream A Dream's) Life Skill Programs by giving them hope for the best from their future and also by bringing in a caring adult into their life in the form of a life skill facilitator or a mentor.
One such Hope and Aspiration is of Raju's (name changed). Raju has been a part of our football program for the last two years. He is currently studyig in 8th standard at our partner organization. When he came into our program, he was not very interested. He used to do what the coach told him, but he was very lazy in all the activities and used foul language during the session. With regular attendance to the sessions, he gradually started improving both his football skills and even in his behaviour. He used to help the facilitator and soon started building strong relationships with the other members of the team. From then on, he was happy. He told the facilitator that he would listen to everyone and respect his elders. When asked, whether it was the program that had led to these changes? and if so, why had he changed. He said that the program had previously been focused on learning football skills but now the focus is on teaching life skills as a part of the curriculum. He said that the team agreements helped him to make changes in his behaviour both inside and outside the game. He started to take initiative during the games and behave responsibly during the sessions. If he had any doubts, he would clarify them in the session itself and he often came out with some very powerful and relevant questions. “I feel like I too have changed through my involvement in the program. I learned better ways to behave with my elders and with younger children, responsibility, how to take initiative and most importantly, I learned how to be a leader and I’m really happy I learned this because it is a very good quality to have. I have learned that I have to be a good soccer player and the importance of relationships, not only in soccer but also in my life outside of the game. The football program has made a lot of changes in my life and I know how to work hard to achieve a bright future for myself.”
He also quotes: “I have never seen this kind of program and it makes me feel good. The first session is one of the most memorable days of my life. I have been playing football since I was 10 and I used to play very selfishly. Once I lost a game due to my selfishness and this made me realise that being selfish is very bad and you can’t score a goal if you behave like that. After going to some sessions, I have become much more honest, my football skills are a lot better and there have even been changes in my life. Thank you Dream A Dream!”
Organization and Program Updates:
All this has been possible only due to the undying commitment and support from donors like YOU, who have helped us, Dream A Dream, to continue to reach out to many more young people in helping them unleash their potential and take over the life’s challenges with confidence.
As we kick start the new academic year, at Dream A Dream we have 2650 excited children enrolled into our core Life Skill Programs delivered by 35 enthusiastic Life Skill facilitators across 13 different locations.
Our sessions started with a promise for many dreams, aspirations, smiling faces and the eagerness to learn new things .This is validated by the quote from one of our volunteers who attended the Life Skills Thru Creative Arts Session. She says, "The smiles throughout this creative arts session were immutable. The Dream A Dream instructors led a lively and engaging session, encouraging the children to collaborate with each other on drawing projects and theatrical games and to express themselves with confidence. Everyone came together to create a constructive - and, above all, fun! - atmosphere."
One such aspiration was of Shankari’s to have a job and also to continue her education. She attended spoken English, computers, and personality development sessions for a year at DreamConnect Center. Shankari’s family often had no money to pay for their essentials. As she lacked encouragement at home, she used to hesitate to interact with strangers. After a few sessions with Dream A Dream’s personality development program, she is a changed person. She talks confidently, and knows she can solve their family’s problems. Now, she even saves money to support her parents. She says, “Now, instead of buying clothes unnecessarily, I save. When my mother did not have money for the gas cylinder, I paid. I had heard that lending money for interest is a good way of making money. Now that I know the risk, I am depositing money in a bank.”
After her PUC she started working with Youth Seva as a help-desk executive, and now, she has transited herself to work full time at Dream Connect Center, as a facilitator for community outreach (to inspire young adults to join Dream Connect Center), and is yet to enroll herself in an evening college to pursue her degree.
We at Dream A Dream are immensely proud of Shankari’s efforts and the confidence with which she takes over life’s challenges . Young adults like her reinforce and strengthen our belief in continuing our work of providing Life Skills to young adults from vulnerable backgrounds.
This could not have happened without the support of donors like YOU. Our heartfelt appreciation to the support from each one of you who continue to encourage us in the work we do. Thank You!!
Thank You for being the reason for many Dreams, Smiles, and Aspirations. We look forward for a longlasting relationship with you.
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 bloghttp://dreammentors.blogspot.in/
PS: Dream A Dream won the Silver Trophy at the Global Sports Forum Community in 2012: http://www.globalsportsforum.org/community_trophies/
2980 young people from some of the most challenging neighbourhoods across 16 locations in Bangalore are meaningfully engaged 1-2 times a week in core Life Skills programs. They have made a commitment to take their future into their hands with confidence and dignity. This has been possible due to the commitments and support from donors like YOU, who have helped us Dream a dream for the young people - One at a time.
A Young Man 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 is 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. 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 young people are given the right learning opportunities and guidance they will bloom and build in them the confidence to take on life's challenges.
As we close this year, we feel tremendous gratitude for hundreds and thousands of people like YOU who have come forward to believe in Us and Support Us. You are an integral part of this journey and YOUR support makes all the difference.
We aim to continue this important work for thousands more young people like Girish in the year 2012 and we reach out to YOU with humility to continue to support our work. 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 Girish 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, 3000 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 one quarter.
Over 97 batches are run across 16 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 his 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 6 months have been:
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.
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