Once a year, I Have a Dream Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) takes Dreamers on an outdoor enrichment trip to Sequoia National Park. IHADLA’s Sequoia field trip is an important element in the continuing whole-child education for our student Dreamers. Dreamers are able to explore nature, discuss science, and participate in team-building exercises. For many, it is the first time they will see snow and a clear view of the stars – it leaves a lasting impression.
Alvaro’s Sequoia Experience
Alvaro, an Dreamer alumnus, describes his Sequoia National Park outdoor experience as one of the defining moments of his life. “I had never imagined, looking up at the stars at night, that such a beautiful place existed, a place without violence and without poverty. It made me reflect on what my program coordinators had told me all along, that my dreams could become a reality.” With the help of his program coordinators, Alvaro successfully turned his low GPA into a solid 3.0, graduated from high school on time, and is now in his third year of college.
Whole Child Education Field Trip Encourages Team Building
Many of our Dreamers have had the opportunity to attend the Sequoia field trip over the years. This year, our Inglewood team brought 12 Dreamers to Sequoia National Park for a total of two days and two nights to admire the park’s natural beauty, experience the outdoors, and build a sense of camaraderie with one another. Program coordinators (Chaznae and Morgan), a program manager (Janell), and Miss Ann (a long-time IHADLA volunteer) accompanied Program 16/17 on its Sequoia trip.
This trip was very special because it snowed the first day the Dreamers were there. Even though many of the Dreamers who attended past trips had experienced snow, it was truly magical to see the snow falling and dusting the magnificent trees with white powder. In addition to the seeing the fresh snow, the Dreamers had the opportunity to hike along the park’s beautiful nature trails and take countless photos of the majestic forests and landscapes. When they were not outside exploring nature, the Dreamers and program staff were in the cabin bonding over games, conversations, and snacks. The Sequoia Trip is a fantastic place for our students to experience something genuinely different from their neighborhoods and communities, while also establishing a deeper sense of connection and community. These are important elements in our continuing whole child education support system.