Mentors-in-Training interns get paired with DREAM staff members:
On Friday, January 13th, DREAM had its much anticipated “Mentor Reveal Day.” The program team and staff prepared a day of fun for the Mentor-in-Training interns, taking them to the Rolling Thunder Skating Center, before revealing staff mentor matches for our teens.
Created in the midst of our launch in Philadelphia, this innovative program devotes substantial resources to young students in their teenage years, cementing their college and career goals. The teenage years can be a troubling age for all, as issues are compounded by exposure to damaging forces, which causes these teens to disengage from school. This supportive group to which our teens apply are accepted after an interview and years of demonstrated commitment to DREAM; their role is to embrace new responsibilities in supporting our mentees and the organization, whereas our DREAM staff does our part to provide them with professional skills and the guidance to achieve success in life, with topics including healthy lifestyles, civic engagement, and most importantly, college education preparation. In the meantime, the interns sign a contract pledging to lead and facilitate activities for the younger cohort of mentees, planning the curriculum for our weekly enrichment programming, organizing community service events, and receiving professional academic tutoring.
Below is an interview DREAM conducted with Naijada (Nai Nai), one of our Mentor-in-Training interns. Do not be deceived by short responses, however; for Nai Nai is a young lady imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit. After DREAM, she envisions herself attending university to major in economics.
Javier: How did you hear about DREAM?
Nai Nai: I heard about DREAM from a friend. My friend worked at DREAM, she told me about it, and so I was interested, and I started DREAM
Javier: What does DREAM mean in your life?
Nai Nai: DREAM kicked me out of a lot of trouble, because without DREAM, I’d probably be out in the streets doing things I shouldn’t be doing.
Javier: What’s the biggest change in your life that DREAM helped you with?
Nai Nai: DREAM made me want to be a better person. It made me tell myself, ‘I can do better.’
Javier: What is the most important aspect about mentorship?
Nai Nai: The most important thing about mentoring is communication. If you can communicate with your mentor, it gives the mentee something to trust, to talk to them about things. That way, you know there will always be someone to help you and talk to you!
Javier: What do you like about local adventure trips?
Nai Nai: They create an opportunity for me to communicate with my mentor. And also, just sharing the experience with everybody. Because every time we go somewhere, to everyone it is new, so sharing that experience with everybody is fun.
Javier: What are your plans after DREAM?
Nai Nai: I’m finishing school