Oct 092011
 
Authors: Andrew Carrera

Editor’s note: This story is the second installment in a six-part series on CSU’s Dream Project.

The campus Dream Project –– a group that mentors disadvantaged high school students to help them get to college –– will step closer to expanding their program to the state level this week as they host a three-day recruitment fair.

“We have been preparing for it for a while,” said Edna Muñoz, the group’s steering committee head. “It’s always nice to have new input and new faces.”

The Dream Project hopes to add onto its existing membership during a recruitment fair stretching from Tuesday to Thursday as part of the organization’s long-term goal to grow their reach outside of the Fort Collins area. The group currently has 35 mentors and 80-100 mentees, or scholars, from Fort Collins and Poudre High School.

“We want to be able to reach out to schools in Denver. We believe that’s where a lot of students fall through the cracks,” Muñoz said.

Denver County schools consistently report figures that describe an underfunded and poorly performing district, particularly in comparison with other local districts with more funding and better results like Douglas County.

Raven Brame, a CSU sophomore history major who heads the Dream Project’s high school interaction committee, attended George Washington High School, located in Denver County.

“There’s a ton of (low-income) students who go there who don’t have the means or the resources to get to college,” she said.

Brame, however, said she was lucky in that her school offered a resource center that helped her apply to CSU. But she knows that other institutions don’t supply their students with similar centers and thinks the Dream Project stands to help them in the same way she was aided.

“I actually had a really good experience,” she said. “I can’t say the same for everyone … they didn’t necessarily have what I had. I was lucky, I guess.” Providing the Dream Project to others, she added, would “really mean a lot to students down there.”

Expanding the organization to Denver and other local school districts poses a distinct challenge for the Dream Project, whose credentials haven’t been proven to high school principals outside of the Fort Collins area.

“Say we go to a new school. It could be a little intimidating as far as allowing a group of college students to go into a high school and mentor kids, because in most cases a lot of the schools haven’t heard about Dream Project,” said Brannon Peterkin, a CSU junior computer science major and organization participant.

With time, however, the group expects others’ reluctance to allow them into their schools to wear thin.

“It’ll take some time and some dedicated mentors,” Brame said. “But I definitely think it can happen.”

_Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com _

Denver County

$46,693
Average 2009 median household income

$49,432
Average 2010 teacher salary

16.7
Average 2011 ACT score

6.4 percent
Average 2009-2010 dropout rate

Sources: U.S. 2010 Census; Colorado Department of Education

Douglas County
$100,447
Average 2009 median household income

$52,805
Average 2010 teacher salary

20.6
Average 2011 ACT score

1.3 percent
Average 2009-2010 dropout rate

Sources: U.S. 2010 Census; Colorado Department of Education

 Posted by at 4:15 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.