Mentoring is another building block of IHDF programming that, combined with tutoring, cultural activities, field trips, and recreation, creates a full menu of services for Dreamer Scholars.
The concept of mentoring is a core element of the IHDF model. The long-term, caring interactions between program staff and Dreamer Scholars are all mentoring relationships, but it is virtually impossible for program staff alone to provide consistent individual attention and guidance to the 40, 80, or 100 Dreamer Scholars in an IHDF Program. Volunteer mentors can provide this regular one-on-one contact with Dreamer Scholars and enhance the program’s impact by acting as friends, counselors, teachers, and confidants–acting as the first line of defense of the program and building the program’s capacity to serve. Mentors get to know Dreamer Scholars’ lives, take an interest in their academic progress and needs, and encourage Dreamers to achieve their dreams.
In November of 2021, “I Have A Dream” was awarded a generous grant from the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to help establish long-term youth mentorship programs in its affiliate cities. We’ve named this program Inspire the Dream.
Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. Young adults who face an opportunity gap but have a mentor are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. (The Mentoring Effect, 2014) Mentorship has the ability to connect youth in underserved communities to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity, yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset.