DREAM alumni, known as Legends, have the power of a team behind them - and robust support systems to make their dreams real.
DREAM Legend Darlene De La Cruz currently attends Wesleyan University, but her path to college wasn’t easy. A 2020 graduate from Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, Darlene was originally denied acceptance to Wesleyan, her top choice.
Instead of settling for other options, Darlene took a gap year and pursued work at CityMD as a patient care representative during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. There, the future pre-med student got her first taste of working in medicine, and learned that being a doctor is more than just the science.
“I want to be part of helping people,” she said. “It’s interacting. It’s the relationships you build.”
The promise that DREAM made to Darlene, and has made to every single one of our youth for three decades, is simple: You will always have a safe place to play, learn, and grow. And when you walk out DREAM’s doors, you’ll be ready for whatever’s next.
But that promise is also very bold – and delivering on it looks different for every student. As our DREAM Charter High School students choose colleges and trades, chart career paths, and build relationships, we’re standing alongside them.
And support from DREAM doesn’t end when our scholars graduate high school, as 100% of our founding senior class did. All DREAM program and school alumni graduate into our Legends Fellows program. Established in 2011, the program’s vision is for youth to pursue and complete a best-fit postsecondary path that equips them to fulfill their vision of success and achieve a career that facilitates stability and agency.
Our Legends Fellows program offers alumni the following supports to ensure completion of their postsecondary path and launch them into their career fields:
- Transition to College: 4-Week Summer Bridge program designed to prepare rising freshmen for the college transition.
- Career Exposure: Access to career workshops, conferences, networking opportunities, career mentors, and internships.
- Caseload Management: Each Legends Fellow is matched with their own Program Coordinator who provides consistent one-on-one check-ins.
- Community Involvement: On-campus visits, care packages, and alumni reunion events.
- Leadership: Near-peer mentorship opportunities, community service initiatives, and the Legends Leadership Council.
And our capacity for support is only increasing: Our Legends numbers are projected to grow from 600 currently to nearly 1,000 by 2030.
DREAM’s Upward Pathways initiative ensures support and resources for all DREAM Charter High School alumni – from our college-bound seniors, to the 15% of DCHS graduates who are expected to pursue career paths without a Bachelor’s degree. For those students, that means DREAM supports with training and certification, mentorship, case management, job placement, and much more.
Upward Pathways is just one example of how we’re continuing to set our Legends Fellows up for success, no matter what that looks like for them. And whether students choose a college or career pathway, strong partnerships with employers and colleges help them meet their goals. Learn more about partnering with DREAM below.
DREAM's Alumni Council
DREAM’s Alumni Council is a new body of DREAM leadership, created to represent all those who have participated in DREAM’s programs and graduated from its schools throughout its history. The Council helps center the alumni voice in DREAM’s strategic decisions and works to engage the organization’s alumni network, which now spans three decades. Together, its members work to support current and future alumni and serve as a united voice with a strong stake in DREAM’s future.
At a glance
college acceptance among students who applied
of the Class of 2023 are first-generation college students
DREAM Legends Fellows' ranks will grow to 1,000 by 2030