I joined College Dreams in middle school. I had never heard of it, or of any program like it before. I remember being brought into this room with Rebecca Clark, where she told me about this program that would provide me with scholarship money for college and incentives for good grades, and she asked if I wanted to be a part of it, which seemed like a no-brainer. What I didn’t realize at that time was that this was also a program that provided friendship and mentorship, which are equally important when working with a largely underserved and at risk population of students. It’s really an incredible thing to have these seemingly random people invest in you and your future, and make this monumental commitment to your well-being.
Right from the beginning, the team at College Dreams incites an ongoing dialogue about college and aspirations for your future: What do you want to be when you’re older? Where will you go to college? Will you go to graduate school? What will it take to get you to accomplish your goals? And they provide you with the tools and support to get you there: volunteer opportunities to explore your interests, trips to prospective colleges, open-forums to ask questions of current and former college graduates, scholarships, etc. The support is infinite. It’s one of the most invaluable programs I am aware of to this day.
I thought I might be a student forever because it took me so long to figure out what I wanted to do. I finally landed on Communications (or so I thought… read on), with a focus on Dispute Resolution. My intention was to go on to law school. Then I fell into healthcare and was stunned by the poverty, despair, and lack of resources available to large populations of individuals, not unlike many dreamers, in the sense that they were underserved and at-risk. I decided to move in a different direction: Social Work. I’ve worked in acute healthcare settings, bereavement, and now nephrology. I am fortunate to have a career that I love that affords me many learning opportunities and a chance to make a difference in the lives of others, like College Dreams did for me. I’m forever grateful.