To motivate and empower students to reach their educational and career goals by providing resources, enrichment opportunities, tutoring and mentoring.
The original “I Have A Dream” Project was the spontaneous brainchild of businessman and philanthropist Eugene Lane, who in 1981 made a promise to the entire sixth-grade class of P.S. 121 in East Harlem: that he would provide financial support for a college education to every student who finished high school. Lang kept his promise and then some – he added a year-round academic and cultural enrichment component, made social services accessible to his “Dreamers” and their families when needed, and made a personal commitment to each student. Six years later, over 90% of his Dreamers graduated from high school – more than three times the expected average graduation rate of students from their neighborhood.
How It Works
Ken and Gail Henshaw are Sponsors for the first Richmond program. After considering several geographic areas and schools, the Henshaws sponsored all second graders at Broad Rock Elementary School in 2006-07, extending enrollment throughout the next year to new third graders. There are now approximately 45 Dreamers in eighth grade. While many resources are focused on Dreamers and their families, the Richmond program has expanded to have a system-wide impact on City of Richmond public schools through activities such as sponsoring field trips, visiting authors, artists in residents, book report and writing essay contests. The “Read More Books!” initiative has provided over 100,000 books to students in the City of Richmond , Henrico and Chesterfield Counties for their home libraries.
An international component has also been added in the form of relief for displaced students from Haiti. The Richmond program is sponsoring four scholars to study in the United States. Two are at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, one is attending Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina and one is at Averett University in Danville, Virginia. After completing their education, they will return to Haiti as strong leaders in their community.
Through traditional and innovative initiatives and special events, “I Have A Dream”® Foundation – Richmond is helping students maximize their personal and educational potential.