Project DREAM (Developing Resourcefulness, Engagement, Acceptance, and Mentoring) is an after school program that encourages young teens to have positive relationships with non-parental adults in their families, schools, and communities. Psychological research shows that students who have close relationships with non-parental adults in their everyday lives tend to have better social, emotional, and mental health in comparison to their peers who don’t have these relationships. Project DREAM is inspired and informed by this research and seeks to examine the benefits of choosing a natural mentor in terms of social, personal and academic achievement
For 8 weeks, teens meet for weekly 2-hour sessions. Students choose an adult other than a parent to accompany them to the program. These adults enrich the students’ experience and help to establish a framework through which students can apply the lessons learned in their everyday lives. Sessions cover many topics including goal-setting, identifying role models, communicating with adults, and making healthy decisions. All sessions include fun and engaging activities designed to promote learning in fun and interactive ways. At the end of the program, students and their families are invited to a closing ceremony to celebrate what the students have learned.