Project DREAM (Developing Resiliency through Education, the Arts and Mentoring) began in October 2004 in the former North Sacramento School District. At that time, NSSD had 10 schools and 5,000 students, with 95% of students qualifying for free meals at school.
Local realtor and businesswoman, Susan Welch, had been involved in several charity programs to support homeless families in NSSD. Susan was a part of a business leadership group who went on a television game show The Price is Right that prior spring. Everyone in the leadership group agreed that if they won anything on the show, they would use the proceeds to benefit a charity that they believed in.
Susan won a ski boat, which she sold for $10,000 and donated the proceeds to the district to support homeless and other under-resourced students. Her friend, Kate Bishop-Hazarian, was the administrator who coordinated this program in NSSD. They decided to recruit business people, educators and community leaders to start DREAM to help fund enrichment experiences for these students.
Over the next several years, DREAM developed their board, became the education foundation for the district and increased fundraising efforts. Teachers were excited to have a resource to turn to for field trips, arts programs and 6th grade science camps and hundreds of students were able to see the ocean, go to science camp, go to plays, and visit local colleges. In 2007, DREAM partnered with Bayside Church and raised funds to rebuild three playgrounds in the district.
In 2008, North Sacramento School District merged with Grant Joint Union, Rio Linda Union and Del Paso Heights Elementary School District to become Twin Rivers Unified School District. DREAM grew as well, and became the education foundation for the new district, now serving 50 schools and 28,000 students. The all volunteer board continues to grow and evolve, but keeps to its core belief that business people, community leaders and educators can work together to make dreams possible for students in poor communities.
From humble beginnings and a $10,000 donation, DREAM has raised and given back more than $640,173 in grants for students in need who attend schools in Twin Rivers Unified School District. The DREAM continues. Please get involved today!