During the week of July 11th, the “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) proudly hosted the 15th annual “I Have A Dream” Foundation “Dream UP” (University Prep) Program at LMU (Loyola Marymount University). Over 100 students (“Dreamers”) from 8 states participated in the college immersion program this year, which offered a week of workshops, discussions, service learning, and team building opportunities. The participating Dreamers were from a range of grade levels (from 7th grade to entering college in the fall), and their activities were tailored to their specific grade and career path. As part of this experience, the Dreamers also had to opportunity to stay in college dorms, eat in dining halls, take campus tours, and participate in workshops taught by college professors.
The college immersion program provided Dreamers the opportunity to grow academically, socially, and personally through a variety of academic and social workshops. In the academic workshops, the Dreamers prepared for the college admission process by learning about writing personal statements, interviewing effectively, and advocating for themselves in a college environment. Several workshops also addressed key life skills topics, such as how to open and manage a savings account. Meanwhile, the personal growth workshops addressed topics such as campus involvement, global citizenship, and staying connected while away at college. In these workshops, the Dreamers expanded their social awareness and learned about opportunities to become active citizens. These workshops were supplemented with discussions and film screenings focused on civil rights issues relevant to many Dreamers’ communities, as well as community service activities with partners such as the Downtown Women’s Center.
In addition to these University prep workshops and discussions, the Dreamers also went on fun field trips to notable Los Angeles spots during the program, including trips to the Griffith Observatory and USC. These trips gave the Dreamers a chance to have fun and unwind while bonding with their peers.
After participating in the activity-packed college immersion program, the Dreamers returned home empowered and ready to tackle the college admissions process and pursue their dreams of higher education. We look forward to seeing them continue to grow academically and personally as they continue on their path to and through college.
A huge thank you to LMU for letting us use their facilities, and a special thank you to Henry Ward, Director of Intercultural Affairs at Loyola Marymount University, who was also IHADLA’s first program coordinator! We greatly appreciate everything Mr. Ward has done for IHADLA.
Alumni Dreamers Participate in Panel for Middle and High School Students
This year, Dream UP overlapped with our 2017 Alumni Reunion, so the Dreamers had a very special opportunity to interact with alumni Dreamers. The program even included a panel with the alumni, who advised the middle and high school Dreamers on how to successfully transition into college and succeed in their studies. Some of their most powerful and important reflections and pieces of advice for the younger Dreamers are listed below. For more information on the reunion, please check out our 2017 Alumni Reunion post.
All of us have some kind of struggle in our lives we have to bounce back from…a college education is a step up from that.” ~ Harleigh
Andy on the value of a college education: “It’s not about a piece of paper…it’s more about opening doors.”
“The people you meet on a college campus really open doors for you—not just in your career, but mindset” ~ Nachary
“Once you graduate, your world just opens—the choices you make are yours.” ~ Harleigh
“Education to me means opportunity & growth” ~ Nachary
“To be honest, ‘I Have A Dream’ taught me way more about college than my high school did.”
“I chose to go to college but many of my friends did not. Even a year ahead, I can see that difference in our lives.” ~ Harleigh
On her ‘I Have A Dream’ program: “The best thing they do is listen…they’re always there to talk about anything.” ~ Nachary
“You have to get to college, AND get THROUGH college!” ~ Harleigh
“I had my parents…but I also had my program directors who would call every time my report card came in.” ~ Cee’Asia
“If I didn’t have ‘I Have A Dream’ I don’t know where I would be honestly” ~ Harleigh
Advice on college: “ask a lot of questions- they’ll open a lot of doors” ~ Andy
“If you don’t have good social emotional health, college is going to be really hard.” ~ Nachary
“We’re all Dreamers and we have to support each other in every way” ~ Nachary
A #protip from Harleigh on preparing for college during high school: “Treat applying to college as if it’s another class”
“You have to really use your resources” ~ Cee’Asia on preparing for college in high school
More Photos from Dream UP 2017
Henry Ward was “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles’s first program coordinator. He had some words of advice for Dreamers at Dream UP 17: “Whatever you do, be the best at it. If you’re a hat maker, be the best hat maker out there.” “Dream Big: you can be whatever it is you want to be, but it is going to take work and discipline.” “Never give up on your dreams.” And he says, “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles’ will always have a place in my heart.”