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 will be attending Wesleyan University this coming fall, 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 2014, the program’s vision is for youth to pursue and complete a best-fit post-secondary 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 post-secondary 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 Fellows numbers are projected to grow from 260 currently to nearly 1,000 by 2030.
Upward Pathways is a new DREAM initiative that identifies and supports the approximately 15% of DREAM Charter High School graduates who are expected to pursue career paths without a Bachelor’s degree. That means training and certification, mentorship, case management, job placement, and much more. It’s just one example of the ways we’re continuing to set our Legends up for success, no matter what that looks like for them.
At a glance
college acceptance among students who applied
of alumni are first-generation college students
DREAM Legends Fellows' ranks will grow to 1,000 by 2030