Another SMILE for November, 2014

The DREAM board approved $15,846.50 in mini-grants this month.  Sixth grade science camp field trips were funded including sending 45 Babcock Elementary students to Sly Park, 40 FC Joyce and 46 CCAA students to Alliance Redwoods and another 40 students from Hillsdale will experience Sierra Nevada Journeys.

We also happily funded:

  • A kindergarten field trip for Babcock students to travel to Fog Willow Science Camp
  • 114 7/8th graders from CCAA will take a bus trip to Chabot Science Center
  • A Music in the Parks experience for 55 Foothill High School students
  • Trip to deYoung Museum for 50 9th-12th grade students from Highlands High
  • 50 Norwood Jr High 6th graders will visit the Monterrey Bay Aquarium
  • Rio Linda High School will send 33 9-12th graders to Skills USA Competitions and 18 11/12th graders to the Virtual Enterprise Fair.

SAVE THE DATE:  Our annual fundraiser will be different this year.  We invite you to  join  us at the Sacramento Theatre Company for a private performance of Pirates of Penzance the evening of  Sunday, April 26, 2015.  More details soon.

November 19, 2014 – Westside Elementary


As a birdwatcher myself I love this picture from Westside Elementary. Kristina Planting and her cohort of 6th grade teachers were thrilled when DREAM helped 54 students attend Shady Creek Outdoor School in September.  She wrote us:

“The students got to experience a true outdoor educational experience (geology, ecology, environmental science, ropes course, survival, and more).  They also got to visit a beautiful area, gain more confidence with working with others and take on more challenges.  They had an amazing time they won’t forget. There is no way we could have taken as many students as we did without funding from DREAM, because many of our families simply couldn’t have afforded it.”
What a lucky group of 6th graders to have teachers who DREAM for them.  If you have a DREAM, visit us at, fill out an application and you could write us a note like Kristina did!

November 12, 2014 – Vista Nueva High School

Last February we used Vista Nueva High School’s experience of having Dr. Victor Rios visit their school on our weekly SMILE material. The 10-12th grade students read Dr. Rios’ book “Street Life: Poverty, Gangs and a Ph.D.” before meeting him.
Erin McChesney, chair of the English Language Arts Department and teacher of creative writing to the seniors, later wrote us that Dr. Rios’ visit had an “amazingly profound influence on our kids!  I’ve included a sample of their thank you letters, as, their words are more powerful than mine. A wonderful opportunity for them – a heartfelt thank you to DREAM from Vista staff, students and families.”
Here are pieces from some of the students’ thank yous:
Fernando wrote: “I didn’t believe that I could have a bright future and that because I’m Mexican that the only thing the future holds for me is mowing lawns or selling dope like older people that were in  my life did but, I learned not to follow anyone else’s footsteps but make my own steps to succeed. Like you I like to surround myself with people who want to succeed in life and have goals in life. You really inspired me to continue following my dreams. You showed me the light to the possibility of becoming successful.”
from Daniel: “One of the parts of your book that impacted me the most was when you said that you made a list of where you see yourself in five to ten years and you didn’t allow yourself to put anything negative on it. Reading that caused me to make my own list of where I see myself in five to ten years. I no longer just want to work as a mechanic, I want to do bigger things with my life that I know I’m capable of doing. I now want to go to a University. I’ve now surrounded myself with people who support me.”
Bianca shared: “After reading your book I found I began to think and see things differently. Now I have an ambition, a goal, but most importantly a dream. I have decided to become a school psychologist and just like you, I will write a book like yours but in a girl’s point of view. Thank you for the amazing book you wrote for us, the youth. It was an honor to have met you.”
and lastly, from Angeles: “I am also Hispanic. I think that’s what kept me from trying is the fact that I wasn’t born here. College is expensive and I thought I didn’t have a chance. Listening to you proved to me that I do have a chance to be in a good college. I hope you are blessed with more good things in your life.”

November 5, 2014 – Hillsdale Elementary

Hillsdale 6th Grizzly Creek 2 Hillsdale 6th Grizzly Creek 1
Steve Breiter, 6th grade teacher at Hillsdale Elementary DREAMed and Renee Scott-Femenella, principal (and a former DREAM board member) sent it on to us!  The DREAM board sent them $2,000 and 41 students were off to Grizzly Creek Ranch Outdoor Education for five days last year.
Mr. Breiter later wrote us: “Many of our students have very limited experience ‘in the wild’. For most, this was a first time event, which included activities like archery, hiking, challenge course, or even seeing chipmunks or deer. All will remember the trip the rest of their lives and they will tell stories about the campfire or the skits or the challenge climb as long as they get together. Our site funds covered 37% of this camp while parents paid approximately 42%.  The remaining 21% was covered by DREAM!!”