A Message From Our Office of Post Secondary Success

The mission of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation - New York is to empower youth living in low-income communities by providing a program of academic, social, and emotional support from childhood through career, while guaranteeing tuition assistance for higher education.
Program members, or “Dreamers”, are engaged in “I Have A Dream” programming for an average of over 10 years from elementary school through high school graduation.  As members of the program, Dreamers receive year-round academic and social support from elementary school through high school. These services are provided through school year and summer programs, and include tutoring, counseling, case management, field trips, and enrichment workshops.  Dreamers work to develop and strengthen academic skills while cultivating interests and skills in the arts, athletics and community service.
The Dreamers’ connection with the “I Have A Dream” – New York is solidified by our incredibly dedicated Program Directors who, with an average staff retention rate of 8-12 years, often stay with the Dreamers for the duration of their program. The long-term nature and in-depth impact of the “I Have A Dream” model leads to strong relationships between students, staff, and stakeholders that often feels truly like a family and reinforces Dreamers’ belief in themselves.
After high school graduation, “I Have A Dream” – New York guarantees tuition assistance for Dreamers who enroll in an accredited post-secondary academic institution.

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IHDF-NY January 2017 Events

January 2017 has been a very busy month for IHDF-NY! With 4 events happening in the span of two weeks, our Dreamer Scholars (college students) had a busy schedule during their winter break.

We started our gamut of events on January 4, 2017 with our College Success Workshop. Over 50 of our Dreamer Scholars attended the workshop and engaged in different activities pertaining to their college experience. Freshman were able to convene and discuss both the highlights and the challenges of their first semester, while upperclassmen were engaged in a workshop about choosing their major and ultimately their career path. Following the event, Dreamers went bowling to decompress from their demanding afternoon. It was great to see our Dreamers again after a challenging academic semester!

 College Workshop - January 4, 2017

College Workshop - January 4, 2017

Our Work Is Success Internship Program applicants came out on January 7th, a snowy Saturday, to participate in our Improv for Interviews workshop! After having successfully submitted an application and a resume, WISIP applicants attended the workshop to continue to improve on their resume writing and hone in on their interview skills through improv exercises. The Dreamers had a great time and felt more prepared for their upcoming interviews to gain entry into WISIP. We received 100% positive feedback from the Dreamer Scholars on this event!

 Improv for Interviews - January 7, 2017  Furthest to the left is Alexandra Sanchez, Improv for Interviews facilitator

Improv for Interviews - January 7, 2017

Furthest to the left is Alexandra Sanchez, Improv for Interviews facilitator

After the weekend workshop, interviews to gain entry into WISIP occurred on both January 9th and January 10th. These interviews took place at the IHDF-NY Central Office, where National IHDF staff and members of our Junior Board served as interviewers. Dreamers arrived in professional dress with their resumes in hand, prepared to have an interview. Our interviewers were very impressed by the candidates they interviewed and we ended up accepting more students than we anticipated! Thank you again to all those who came out to help!

Lastly, on January 12th The Viacom Career Mentoring Day allowed our Dreamers to meet with professionals from a diverse range of departments within Viacom.  An amazing energy and positive spirit at the event fostered an invigorating and inspirational experience on many levels. The exchange of information, the thoughtful conversation, and the motivational dialogue that took place during the speed mentoring as well as during the networking session was excellent. It was truly inspiring to see our Dreamers, who have been in the "I Have A Dream" - NY program since elementary school, each use their individual skills and attributes to thrive in a professional setting. Thank you to Viacom and all the staff who helped to provide such a powerful experience for the Dreamers.

 Viacom Career Mentoring Day - January 12, 2017

Viacom Career Mentoring Day - January 12, 2017

The Work Is Success Internship Program (WISIP)


The Work Is Success Internship Program (WISIP) is a newly created program for New York City Dreamer Scholars to have an opportunity to intern in fields they are interested in. These internships are with some of NYC's top small businesses and nonprofits that will help our Dreamers obtain direct work experience from industry leaders. This program is directed more towards our Dreamer Scholars so that they can connect what they are studying in college to the world of work. The hope is that the students gain a meaningful experience that would help motivate them to continue pursuing their major.

In order for our Dreamer Scholars to join the program they have to go through a competitive application process. This included filling out an application and going through an interview with an IHDF-NY Junior Board member. Based on their application and interview performance, the students would then be considered for a WISIP placement. This program was carried on by Matthew Wright (Ravenswood II IHDF Program Director) and Thierry Cazeau (Executive Director of IHDF-NY), after they attended the staff conference in Atlanta last year. Matt sat in on a presentation given by the Denver, CO affiliate about their Work Is Success Internship Program and was eager to establish it in New York. He then teamed up with Sierra Spechler (IHDF-NY/Ravenswood II Program Assistant), and made it their mission to make this program possible for NY Dreamers. This summer nine Dreamer Scholars joined the program and successfully completed their internship.

On Thursday, August 11, Matt and Sierra hosted The WISIP Corporate Breakfast, where interns and their supervisors spoke about their experience in the program and how it benefited them. The students went around and spoke about the challenges they faced and how overcoming those challenges helped them build very useful skills. For instance, Zekiiyah Joyner, a rising sophomore at Brooklyn College who is majoring in psychology, interned at the Center for Court Innovation. A challenge she faced was working independently because she was so used to being given tasks and being monitored throughout the process. However, with the help from her supervisors, Zekiiyah gained the necessary skills to work independently and get work done.

Overall the program was a success and IHDF-NY is hoping to expand the amount of interns in summer 2017 . Everyone had a  valuable internship experience, and Matt, Sierra, and Thierry were very happy with the outcome.

By: Chelsea Bueno, Ravenswood II Dreamer