Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure, and Mentoring – Dream, is an organisation that was founded in 1999. It was first started in Vermont by a college student, but the organisation has now reached Northeastern University, Boston and Boston University a decade after it was found. Dream is a community service organisation that guides children living in affordable housing in Roxbury towards higher education and attending colleges by also telling them the importance of it all.
“We’re a consistent part of their lives,” says Allie Pettaway, a third-year student at Northeastern University, who runs the group with Emily Eastman. “These are children and teens who sometimes don’t have a lot of stability, but they can count on us.”
Allie Pettaway is the co-president of this organisation. It is a part of Northeastern’s “Give, Inspire, Transform” campaign this year. This campaign is a student-initiated and driven program dedicated to raising money for helping and improving the lives of the local community people around. The organisation is not only about mentorship anymore, but Pettaway and Eastman have also become like family to the children and teens they mentor. From field trips to DIY and sports and games, the mentors spend every weekend with their mentees in a unique way. It not only creates more scope of learning and experience, but also a good bond between the mentor and the mentee that may last longer than just the time as participants in the organisation. “Sometimes we’ll just hang out and talk about what’s going on in their lives,” says Pettaway.
A number of twenty-five to thirty children participate in Dream. Each participant has a mentor with whom the start and end the journey in the organisation. The ‘Dream effect’ they call it, is not the only joy of giving but also receiving the joy back, from the children they have mentored and guided through challenging situations and more.
“It doesn’t feel like volunteering,” Eastman said. “It just feels like something you want to be doing.”