Welcome to the 2017 “I Have A Dream” Foundation National Staff Conference, "Growing Strong Together!"

Who:       All “I Have A Dream” Foundation National and Affiliate Network Staff

What:      2017 “I Have A Dream” Foundation National Staff Conference

When:     August 1-5. 2017

Where:   Rutgers University – Newark’s Paul Robeson Campus Center | 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark, NJ 07102 | Hampton Inn & Suites Newark Riverwalk, 100 Passaic Ave., Harrison NJ 07029

Registration Period:  May 24 – June 15, 2017

Conference Fees:  Registration-only $275

Hotel Cost:  Single room/4 nights/$600; Double occupancy/4 nights/$300 (any additional night $149 + taxes)

The annual IHDF National Staff Conference serves as our Learning Community where we gather together to learn new skills and strategies to be more effective with our Dreamers. We bring in external experts as well as rely on our internal IHDF experts, to lead the workshops and plenary sessions. Staff also has the opportunity to share best-practices. The goals of this year’s conference are:

Professional Development: to improve and strengthen our Dreamer outcomes. This is the first year that we launched a new Performance Management and Evaluation system with the goals of measuring our Dreamers’ progress and developing strategies to enhance and improve our performance. The workshop and plenary session topics were selected based on this year’s evaluation findings, recommendations from last year’s staff conference, and on issues important in the education and youth development fields. 

Reflection and Planning: to reflect on our past year’s collective work and plan for next year. What did we achieve in 2016-2017…with our Dreamers; at our affiliate, our IHDF network, and our national office? What do we want to achieve in 2017-2018? Given the new political landscape, what can we do to protect our Dreamers and their families?

Showcase IHDF-Newark/New Jersey: to learn about one of our IHDF affiliate’s experiences with its Dreamers. We will visit the city and communities where the Dreamers and their families live and contribute to; learn about the history, current life and vitality of Newark and its neighborhoods; the challenges, strengths and future goals of IHDF-Newark/New Jersey.

Celebrate and Recognize our Staff: to honor our committed, hard working and talented staff who continue the legacy of Eugene Lang, working with our over 5,000 current Dreamers on their way to and through college.

We look forward to seeing you in Newark, New Jersey!

If you have any questions, contact Nadira at nsaunders@ihad.org or 212-377-2510.

Staff Conference Planning Team

Yolanda Gadson, Executive Director, IHDF-Newark
Sandy Trujillo, Senior Director, IHDF National
Nadira Saunders, Manager, Events and Donor Relations

Letter from the President

Dear “I Have A Dream” Foundation Colleagues,

Please join us for our annual “I Have A Dream” Foundation National Staff Conference, “Growing Stronger for Our Dreamers” in Newark, New Jersey on August 1st – 5th 2017.  This year’s conference will be dedicated to Eugene M. Lang, who passed away in April 2017. As the founder of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation, we honor Mr. Lang's legacy by continuing the transformational work he began with his first Dreamer Class in 1981.

The annual IHDF National Staff Conference serves as the organization's "Learning Community" where we gather together to learn new skills and strategies to more effectively support our Dreamers. We also have the opportunity to share best-practices, reflect on our past year and plan for the upcoming year. Most importantly, the conference is a time to celebrate our work, recognize the commitment and hard work of IHDF staff across the network, and rededicate ourselves to our Dreamers and to the mission of the "I Have A Dream" Foundation.

We are very grateful to this year’s host, the “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Newark (soon to be IHDF-New Jersey!), especially to Executive Director Yolanda Gadson, who has been the key organizer of this year’s conference in close collaboration with national staff. As always, this year’s conference promises to be substantive, informative, engaging and fun!

On behalf of the national staff, we look forward to seeing you in Newark in August!

With appreciation,

Donna A. Lawrence
President and CEO

Letter from our host city

On behalf of our Dreamers, parents, Board and staff, we are so excited to host the 2017 IHDF National Staff Conference, August 1-5, 2017, at Rutgers University in Newark!  It is a fantastic time to visit the City of Newark and experience a very active and vibrant transformation of Newark's downtown district, which serves as home base for leading companies such as Prudential, PSEG, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Audible.com and IDT Corporation. It is also home to leading higher education institution Rutgers University,  Rutgers Law and Medical School, Rutgers renowned Institute of Jazz Studies and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Our IHDF Newark office, located in the heart of the city and walking distance to all of the happenings, will host a nightly after-conference party....just kidding!

Here are a few fun facts about Newark as well as what you can expect to enjoy during your stay: 

Fun Facts 

  • Newark is home to the largest collection of Cherry Blossoms in the nation with 5,300 housed in Branch Brook Park. Branch Brook Park is also, the nation's first county park.
  • Newark's Radio Station WJZ was the first to broadcast the world series in 1921. 
  • Newark is nicknamed "Brick City" and "The Gateway City" but most passionately known by locals as "Nork.
  • The Ironbound district, or "Down Neck" of Newark, has almost 200 dining options. From American, Italian, Barbecue, Sushi, Brazilian, Portuguese and Spanish restaurants, sandwich shops and bakeries, you will never go hungry in Newark. 
  • Enjoy performances at NJPAC, games at the Prudential Center, and art at various art galleries like City Without Walls, Gallery Aferro, and Gateway Project Spaces.
  • Don't forget to stop by New Jersey's largest museum, the Newark Museum.
  • Jazz buffs, be sure to check out Clement's Place, the Indigo Hotel, the Priory, and outdoor Summer Concert Series hosted by the greatest Jazz station in the world Newark's "WBGO"! 
  • Newark is a rapidly developing and busy town. With more than 100,000 people commuting to Newark during the work week, it is New Jersey's largest employment center.
  • Among the latest developments is Newark Riverfront Park which runs along the Passaic River in the Ironbound district and has a great view of downtown Newark's skyline.
  • We hope you enjoy all of the rich cultures that Newark has to offer and we are excited to have you here!

Warm regards,

"I Have A Dream" Foundation New Jersey

Photos from Last Year

Schedule At A Glance

Tuesday August 1

4:00-5:00 PM

Dream UP 2017 Debrief & Follow up

5:00 PM

Network Gathering and Dinner

 Wednesday August 2

6:00-8:30 PM


8:30 AM

Bus Pick up

9:00 AM

Plenary Session: Welcome: Steven Lerner, Yolanda Gadson, Dr. Diane Hill, Donna Lawrence
Keynote Speaker Dr. Alfonso Wyatt- “Unleashing the Power of Youth”

10:00-10:20 AM

Plenary Session: Donna Lawrence: “State of the IHDF Network”

10:30-12:30 PM

Workshops (3 tracks)

12:30-1:00 PM


1:00-2:30 PM

Info Walking Tour (10 Exhibitors!)

2:45-4:00 PM

Workshops (3 tracks)

4:15-5:30 PM

Round Table Discussions (4 topics)

5:30 PM

Bus Pick Up to Hotel

6:45-8:45 PM

Reception & Dinner in Newark
Keynote Dinner Speaker: U. S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ)

Thursday, August 3

6:00-8:30 PM


8:30 AM

Bus Pick up

9:00-10:20 AM

Plenary Session: “Leadership Development, Civic Engagement & Youth Activism” – Brotherhood-Sistersol

10:30-11:45 AM    

Plenary Session: “Thinking Like A Lawyer: Practical Tools for Critical Thinking Instruction – Colin Seale

12:00-1:15 PM

Workshops (3 tracks)

1:15-2:15 PM

Lunch & Info Walking Tour II

2:30-4:00 PM

Workshops (4 tracks)

4:10 PM

Bus Pickup

5:30 PM

Bus Pick up


Dinner in Newark

Friday August 4

6:00-8:30 AM


8:30 AM

Bus Pick up


Plenary Session: Dreamer Panel

10:25-11:30 AM

Staff Recognition Awards

11:30–12:30 PM

Plenary Session: Newark, NJ in the Spotlight: “ R U Ready for Work” – Dr. Diane Hill

12:30-1:30 PM

Overview of Newark & Lunch

1:30-4:45 PM

Tour of Newark

5:00-6:00 PM

Free Time

6:00 PM

Bus Pick Up


Dinner in Jersey City