Category Archives: Mentoring

National Volunteer Week: Make a difference with IHAD

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we thought we would share a few ways you can make a difference with the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation:

Books & Bagels: This monthly event spans the school year. Dreamers and siblings gather at the Drake University School of Education for an hour of reading and a breakfast of bagels and doughnuts on a Saturday morning. Join us as a volunteer reading buddy! We’re looking for volunteers for the May 19 event, since Drake students will be out for summer break.

Books and Bagels is a monthly literacy event held in the Drake School of Education library.

After school tutoring: The school year is down to the final stretch, but IHAD values our volunteer tutors more than ever! Help our Dreamer students achieve their academic goals and spend some one-on-one time as they tackle middle school math, language arts, science and global studies concepts.

Enrichment activity chaperone: We love to take our Dreamers on outings that expand their horizons and often turn to mentors and volunteers to help with transportation and chaperoning duties.

Dreamer Conference Volunteer: The 2012 Dreamer Conference will be held right here on the Drake University campus! We’re excited for the opportunity to host more than 100 Dreamer students from affiliates across the country. If you’d like to help with check-in/out, as a workshop facilitator, chaperone, or at our career fair, the conference is a great way to get acquainted with our mission.

Mentor: Our mentors play an integral role in helping to shape the successful future of our Dreamers. Mentors spend one-on-one time to provide consistent adult support for a child from a low-income community. Hang out and have fun (take in a sporting event, see a play, try a science experiment together) — but with a purpose.  We ask for at least a one year commitment, although often our mentors stay involved for the duration of the projects. Mentors should visit with a Dreamer a minimum of three times during each month. Personal and criminal background records checks are required.

A key component of the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation is building strong relationships between our Dreamers and adults who can model responsibility and a path to success. We concentrate on a public school class from first grade through high school to provide a proactive, sustained approach to lowering the dropout rate – one student at a time. If you believe in the importance of motivating and empowering low-income youth, we would be grateful for any time, talents and resources you would be willing to commit to our Dreamers.

For more information on local volunteering opportunities and efforts, check out Volunteer Iowa!

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Mentoring: The extra mile

In addition to providing academic support, the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation works to pair each Dreamer with a long-term mentor who will serve as a positive influence in his or her life.

We’re lucky to have an amazing group of mentors who keep contact with the kids through acts as simple as driving them to school to make sure they arrive on time, to going out to sporting or theater events, to reading with them at “Books and Bagels”, to loading them up in an RV and taking them on a road trip adventure through the United States!

Yes, you heard that correctly. The Buckleys, longtime mentors to Javion, are going the literal extra mile(s) as mentors. They’ve embarked on a spring break trip that will take their family, plus Javion and his sister Jazmine, on an RV road trip from Des Moines to Kentucky and back. The trip includes stops at numerous landmarks and includes several days of camping, too. You can follow the adventures via the Buckley family’s travel blog!

We loved this photo that Brennan Buckley, Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation board president, sent us as an update from the trip. Who did they run into at the arch but Mr. Calaway, Javion’s principal at Callanan Middle School!

Mr. Calaway and Javion at the Saint Louis Arch.

Remember how strange it was when you’d run into your teachers outside of the classroom when you were a kid? It’s true, they’re always watching. 🙂

Are you interested in becoming a mentor? We still have a few King Dreamers who are looking for a good match, and are always excited to collect names of people who are interested in getting involved when we adopt our next project. Contact the IHAD office for details.

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