National Alumni Reunion 2017 Hosted by IHADLA: A Dreamer Family Reunion

From July 13th to the 16th, the “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) proudly hosted the 2nd Annual Alumni Reunion. Eight of our sixteen affiliates were represented, and alumni from as far as Georgia travelled to Los Angeles to experience the three-day event at Loyola Marymount University, which was packed with fun activities, informative workshops, and inspiring keynote addresses and panels.

IHADLA alumni at DreamUp conference
Alumni Dreamers at the Alumni Reunion

The reunion gave the alumni the opportunity to bond, form new friendships, and learn important life lessons as they shared their stories and career experiences with each other. They also learned college and career skills in the various workshops, which focused on applying for graduate school and developing leadership skills.

This year, the reunion overlapped with our 2017 Dream UP (University Prep) event, so the alumni got a very special opportunity to meet current middle, high school, and college IHADLA students (whom we call “Dreamers”) from across the country. It was truly a Dreamer family reunion, and the alumni were thrilled to meet the current Dreamers and their fellow Dreamer alumni.

“It was definitely a great experience interacting with Dreamers and alumni from different programs,” said Luis Guerrero, a Dreamer alumnus from Program 15. “It was like discovering and meeting your extended family and being welcomed with open arms.”

After being inspired by the stories of her fellow Alumni and the enthusiasm of the younger Dreamers, Program 15 alumna Sarah Cruz added,

“I am no longer scared of pursuing my higher education; I am ready to give it my all to fulfill my dreams.”

IHADLA alumni at DreamUp conference
Smiling alumni Dreamers at the Alumni Reunion

By the end of the event, the alumni were already excitedly making plans to meet up at next year’s reunion, which will be held in Miami. After three wonderful days of connecting, learning, and growing together, they are now even closer to the “I Have A Dream” family and more prepared to pursue their career goals. We wish them all the best and hope their friendships become even stronger at next year’s reunion.

Alumni Dreamers Inspire Middle and High School Dreamers During Alumni Panel

As part of the Dream UP program, some Alumni Dreamers had the opportunity to advise and inspire the younger Dreamers in an Alumni panel. Some of the alumni Dreamers’ most powerful and inspiring reflections and pieces of advice for the younger Dreamers are listed below. To learn more about our 2017 Dream UP program, please check out our Dream UP post.

IHADLA Alumni Reunion at LMU Panelists
Alumni LaShonda, Rashida, Loan, Bobby, and Nydria at the alumni panel. Photo courtesy of IHDF.

“Continuously push yourself to be the best you think you can be and there will always be more opportunities.” ~ Rashida #DreamUP17

“This constant thirst for being better & making sure the mistakes of the past won’t be reflected in the future.” ~ Bobby #DreamUP17

“I want to be that platform that can launch my children further than I’ve gone.” ~ Bobby #DreamUP17

“I’m always looking for other opportunities to do new things within my job.” ~ Loan #DreamUP17

“Everything does not require an answer. Just know there is a right time and right place to give that answer.” ~ Nydria #DreamUP17

“Each day is a challenge, I will have hard days…and the hard days are really the best days because they push me.” ~ LaShonda #DreamUP17

“As you follow your passion, you find your purpose.” ~ Bobby #DreamUP17

“When it comes to following passion, it’s all about persistence.” ~ Rashida #DreamUP17

“I’m a structural designer. I work for the CDC.” ~ Rashida, Dreamer Alum #DreamUP17

“A lot of people asked, what are you going to do with a math degree? I said I can do anything. Now I’m a software engineer” ~ Loan #DreamUP17

“I’m a software engineer. We are working on the next spacecraft to send people to Mars.” ~ Loan, ‘I Have A Dream’ alum #DreamUP17

“I’ll be finishing up my masters in August.” ~ LaShonda #DreamUP17

“I work at Chicago Public Schools…I feel like it’s me giving back. My career chose me.” ~ LaShonda #DreamUP17

“When I graduated high school, I wanted to start my own ‘I Have A Dream’ chapter.” ~ Nydria #DreamUP17

“Don’t do anything to please anybody else but yourself.” ~ Nydria #DreamUP17

“That’s the point of following your purpose and your passion…follow your dream.” ~ Bobby #DreamUP17