Gearing up for a DREAM-filled academic year

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Featuring fun icebreakers, a summer-themed scavenger hunt and plenty of trivia, the DREAM BIG Back to School Kickoff took place August 4 on Zoom. It celebrated yet another successful career camp and marked the beginning of a new school year.

According to DREAM BIG Camp Coordinator Danielle Giuffrida, the kickoff event gave students one final opportunity to interact before the start of the fall semester. It also served as a happy reminder that the DREAM BIG staff are always available to offer guidance.

“The students were all really engaged, laughing and giggling throughout the whole session,” Danielle recalls. “We just planned an evening of games and team-building activities to connect with students and remind them that we’re here to offer support.”

Ben Dozier is a current student pursuing a certificate in computer-aided drafting from St. Charles Community College. He appreciated the chance to gather virtually one more time with fellow DREAM BIG participants and staff.

“I enjoyed the kickoff event and getting to know other students,” Ben says. “It’s good to know there are resources like this to help during the school year.”

DREAM BIG staff members are busy planning a series of special events scheduled to take place throughout the year.

Starting in September and continuing through May, students will be invited to join in on a monthly Zoom session, the format alternating between interactive presentations led by local companies and laid-back social events similar to the kickoff. The only exception will be December, when DREAM BIG will take a break in observance of the winter holidays.

Danielle says the monthly events will resemble a scaled-down version of a day at career camp.

“Sessions will be held for an hour or two in the afternoon, all virtually again,” Danielle describes. “The career events will allow students to interact with prospective employers, and the fun events that have trivia and games will keep students engaged and enjoying themselves.”

As always, SDI’s corporate partners will play a crucial role in the success of these special events.

“Right now we’re just trying to foster company buy-in,” Danielle acknowledges. “We’re busy reaching out to our partner companies and setting up meetings to get started with the planning.”

Program staff members expect to maintain regular contact with DREAM BIG participants as well, ensuring they have what they need for a successful academic experience during these unprecedented times.

Danielle assures: “We’ll be touching base with students four times throughout the school year to see how they’re doing and to provide any resources or help they might need.”

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