Dreamer Conference 2010

From July 22-25, 2010, more than 100 Dreamers and staff members from across the country converged on Rutgers University, NJ, for the 9th Annual Dreamer Conference. Dreamers learned what it will take to make their dreams of college a reality, and left inspired and motivated to succeed. 

Dreamers were immersed in the college experience throughout the conference. Even to apply to participate, each student completed a college-styled application, obtained references, and wrote an admissions essay. Dreamers lived in dormitories with roommates from other programs, participated in college and leadership courses, and had the opportunity to ask Dreamer alumni about their college experiences at an open forum. 

Dreamers left the conference both armed with the tools they will need to be personally and academically successful and eager to share those tools with their peers at home. 



DREAMER REFLECTIONS

Juliette Habimana
"I Have A Dream" Foundation - Charlottesville, rising high school junior

The Dreamer Conference was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to learn new things, meet new people, and see a beautiful city. I enjoyed being in New Jersey and seeing the beautiful campus at Rutgers University.

I like the classes I was in because they were very interesting. The teachers made the classes interactive and engaging. It was very different from the teaching styles of the teachers here because the teachers at the conference made me feel like I was contributing to the class. They taught lots of different things like how to be a leader and how to write a strong college essay.

Another thing that I enjoyed about the conference was that I had the chance to meet different Dreamers and PCs from different states and different "I Have a Dream" programs. I learned a lot about their programs and the things they do that are different from us. I learned about all of the aspirations that the Dreamers had, and I also told them about mine.

New Jersey was an amazing state to visit. It is very beautiful and interesting. Rutgers University was indescribable.

Overall this conference was a true learning experience and I would love to go again next year. I made many new friends and had a real college experience.


Maya Mitchell
"I Have A Dream" Foundation - Plainfield, rising high school junior

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey was the destination of the 2010 "I Have A Dream" Conference. This was a gathering of about 99 dreamers along with all the adults and founders who made it possible. Their four-day stay trip on campus allowed them to experience a taste of what college life was actually like. They attended courses, experienced life on campus, and become a couple steps closer to accomplishing their "dream goal."

The Dreamers that attended this year's conference had to fill out several questions about what they would like to study in college. These answers would help the staff decide what each student's courses should be whether it is related to their desired major or not. One of the learning experiences from the conference is that students must be aware that they might have to attend some classes that are not necessarily connected to the major they select when they do attend college. The courses had a variety of choices from Psychology to Finance, which the students could get the actual feel of a college class environment as well as participate in various activities.

All of the Dreamers enjoyed their schedule of courses because there was something new to learn in each one. However, what most Dreamers enjoyed the most were the seminars that they were able to attend. One of the most popular of them was called The Science of Candy, taught by Dean Richard Ludescher, which taught the Dreamers the science behind making chocolate, hard candy, and gummy bears. This seminar and the courses excited many Dreamers to explore more of their college experience.

All Dreamers had to stay in dorms during their four-day trip, which for many was their first time. They all stayed in the freshman dorms, which had no air-conditioning and only several fans were available to use in the hallways. This New Jersey heat however, did not stop the Dreamers from having a good time with the new friends and roommates they met. They ate in the Rutgers Dining Hall every breakfast, lunch, and dinner where they all had plenty of time to talk and get to know each other more and possibly make long-lasting friends. Another way of bonding with one another was attending the Ice Cream Social the staff threw for the Dreamers. There, the Dreamers experience a small taste of what the social life of a college student is like in the sense of attending parties and social events that bond them with their peers.

A student's "dream goal" is to become successful in any field of work they desire. At the Dreamer Conference, each dreamer had a better understanding of what they need to accomplish in order to be successful at their goal. Many dreamers came out more focused on their future than when they first walked in on the first day just because they are more prepared. The staff's goal was accomplished, which was to make the dreamers have a better understanding of what they wanted to do and become a success at it.

The 2010 "I Have A Dream" Conference was an absolute success in every way possible whether it was meeting new people or understanding a path to the college they desire to attend. Each Dreamer enjoyed the trip and has more knowledge of what they want to do in order to make their "dream goal" come true.