Dreamer Conference 2011

On July 20th, 2011, the University of Illinois at Chicago welcomed to its campus more than 100 talented and spirited Dreamers representing "I Have A Dream" programs from across the nation for our annual National Dreamer Conference. This was the 10th annual gathering of the conference.  

During this conference, middle and high school Dreamers came together on a college campus to spend three intensive days participating in rigorous, college-focused activities to inspire and prepare them for college. Immersing themselves in the college experience allowed our Dreamers - many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college - to envision themselves as college students and further fueled their college aspirations.   

The Dreamer conference aimed to simulate the college experience and prepare our Dreamers for the opportunities and challenges they will face as college students. Each Dreamer applied to the conference, completing an application that included a personal essay, a letter of recommendation, and their grades. During their stay on campus, Dreamers stayed in college dorms with roommates from other "I Have A Dream" cohorts, participated in courses taught by college professors, and attended admissions and financial aid workshops. Our Dreamers also engaged in candid discussions with college students and our alumni, who come back each year to share their experiences with Dreamers and encourage them to persist.   

Having experienced life on a college campus, our Dreamers left the conference with a greater sense of confidence in their abilities and enthusiasm about the college experience. They returned home not only armed with the tools needed to make college success a reality, but eager to share what they learned with their peers.

The Dreamer conference is made possible by the generous support of our donors and we hope that you will contribute to make this year's conference our best and biggest yet.

Dreamer comments:

"I learned about how to apply for FAFSA, what it takes to get into and survive in college, my leadership skills, anthropology, what it takes to get into the medical field, differences between urban and rural schools, the diversity of the IHAD program, and so much more."

"As a result of this conference, I have promised myself to make the best senior year ever! I will push my self to the limit and always makes sure to ask for help because ultimately I will benefit from what I'm struggling with."

"I learned the best way to learn better when you don't know something is ask for help, join a study group, or always try your best no matter what obstacles you come across. Always strive to achieve your goals."