Yolanda Gadson named 48th NJ Hero

On May 31, 2017, Lady Mary Pat Christie named Yolanda Gadson, the Executive Director of the I Have a Dream Foundation - Newark, the 48th New Jersey Hero! Yolanda is the 3rd Hero to be named in 2017. For more information please visit: http://newjerseyheroes.org/index/2017/05/yolanda-gadson-i-have-a-dream-foundation-newark-chapter/

Dreamer Mental Health/Emotional Wellness

We intend to diffuse the stigma that often times surrounds mental health and emotional wellness conversations in under-resourced communities by providing our Dreamers with a safe forum to discuss topics such as low self-esteem, peer pressure, stress management, social skills, and conflict resolution. It is our goal to equip our Dreamers with the tools to help them through these life challenges.

Here are some mental health facts from the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

Reconstruct Your Narrative: Change Your Life Workshop

"Narratives shape our lives ... I reconstruct, reframe, and rewrite my narrative because the shape I am in and the conditions I face are powered by my narrative.” 

-- Dr. Lucille M. Booker, Board Vice President

On Saturday, March 4, 2017, Dr. Lucille M. Booker facilitated a workshop, entitled Reconstruct Your Narrative: Change Your Life Workshop, for the Dreamer Girls of Newark.

Dreamer girls engaged in interactive exercises that focused on helping them to identify and free themselves of dominant and negative narratives and equip them to reconstruct personal and empowering narratives.

College Planning 101: How Prepared Are You?

Danique Robinson, Program Assistant at "I Have A Dream" Foundation - Newark, facilitated the first IHDF-Newark College Planning Workshop of 2017. The purpose of the workshop was to gauge where the Newark Dreamer girls were in the college planning process. The girls played a trivia game to test their knowledge of different aspects of the college planning process. The girls noted that they learned valuable information about different scholarship opportunities, in-depth information on FAFSA and the major differences between the SAT and ACT. 

2nd Annual Charity Wine Tasting

The mission of "I Have A Dream" Foundation-Newark is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by providing long-term support and programming that promotes personal empowerment resulting in high school and higher education graduation. 

Taste 20-25 different wines & champagne from some of the finest vineyards in Portugal and Spain, while supporting the college future of a deserving group of Newark Dreamers! Discounted parking is available at two private lots on both sides of Madison St. between Lafayette & Ferry Streets.

Cost: $60 per person includes Wine Tasting & Appetizers

Purchase tickets at https://www.paypal.me/ihdfnwkwinetasting

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the event or tickets, please email us at info@ihaveadreamnewark.org. 


MLK Jr. Day of Service: What Are You Doing For Others?

On January 16, 2017, the National Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, "I Have A Dream" Foundation affiliates across the country served their communities. Here in Newark, our Dreamers partnered with staff, parents and the Newark Mentoring Movement's Ross Wright and Aaron Rogers to hand out bagged lunches to those in need. 

For more photos from this event and others, like our Facebook page at IHDF Newark and Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @IHDFNewark for the latest updates!

New Year, New Me?

Happy New Years! New Year’s Resolutions have gotten a bad rep over the last few years. In fact, it’s become cliched to ridicule them. The point that many have been making, year after year, is that you don’t have to wait until the new year in order to get a jumpstart on your goals. That is valid and more than understood. To the credit of these new year’s resolution naysayers, new year’s resolutions are notorious failures.

This popular image has been ridiculed all over social media, for years, due to its "new year new me" cliche. 

This popular image has been ridiculed all over social media, for years, due to its "new year new me" cliche. 

Many New Year’s Resolutions fail before they even begin. The issue isn’t that you’ve waited until the new year. It isn’t even that you don’t know what we want. It is that you don’t want it bad enough. You aren’t hungry enough for change because you are comfortable. Now you may be getting upset and thinking, yes, I do want better grades, I do want to lose those last 10 pounds, or start my own business! I’m sure you do! But your comfort in your current situation keeps you from taking the first step to change your circumstance.

It’s called self-motivation and it’s something that no one can give you. You have to be determined and push past your comfort zone. It’s time to get uncomfortable. That is the only way we can grow and become the versions of ourselves we desire to be.

Decide today that enough is enough and that you need to make an intentional impact on your life. Let go of fear, ego, and opinions of others. Research shows that it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit. It will not be easy but almost nothing worth your while ever is. There will be no new you, new year or not, without the self-determination to make that new you possible.

Thank You for Supporting Us On Giving Tuesday!

Thank you to everyone who supported us on Giving Tuesday! With your support, we were able to raise $29,550 towards our #MyDreamIsReal Giving Tuesday 2016 campaign! All of the proceeds go towards important programming such as Mental Health/Emotional Wellness, The College Path Project & College Tours, and “Work Is Success Internship Program” (WISIP). 

Although #GivingTuesday has passed, you can still contribute to the campaign effort until the end of the year. Log on to mydreamisreal.mydagsite.com to donate today! 

One Week Away from Giving Tuesday!

The holiday shopping season is in full effect and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner. As you gear up to spend we wanted to remind you of the opportunity to give back. Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a new international day of giving championed by thousands of organizations around the world. Organizations have collectively raised $116.7 million for good causes since Giving Tuesday began in 2012.

This is our second year being a part of #GivingTuesday and this year our mantra is "I Am a Dreamer, I Have a Dream and My Dream is Real." Your donations go towards making real dreams come true. Last year's donors helped us to fund an array of programming for our Dreamers. This past summer, for example, Dreamers were able to partake in paid "Work is Success" internships where they were introduced to the world of work. We were also able to provide an interdisciplinary summer course for our Dreamers to practice and build crucial skills, such as critical thinking and close reading.

This year we are focused on making an intentional impact on our Dreamers as whole individuals. This is why in addition to raising money for things like Mentoring, Academic Tutoring, and College Tours we are adding Mental Health & Wellness programming. 

Visit our Giving Tuesday fundraising site at MyDreamIsReal.MyDagsite.com to donate and learn more about how your support can help our Newark Dreamers realize their dreams!

Newark Mentoring Movement's Trivia Night Fundraiser

The "I Have a Dream" team represented at Newark Mentoring Movement's (NMM) Trivia Night Fundraiser event at the Newark Public Library on Thursday night. Newark organizations and engaged citizens gathered to answer trivia questions about the history of Newark and famous mentors. The fundraiser was sponsored in part by The Newark Library; The Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience; and the Newark alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.    

From the top right: Board member Tish Johnson, Dreamer Tia Grant-Lasenberry, Executive Director Yolanda Gadson, Program Assistant Danique Robinson, Dreamer Tatyana Dennis, Dreamer Hannah Olaniyi, and Dreamer Zaria Taylor.

From the top right: Board member Tish Johnson, Dreamer Tia Grant-Lasenberry, Executive Director Yolanda Gadson, Program Assistant Danique Robinson, Dreamer Tatyana Dennis, Dreamer Hannah Olaniyi, and Dreamer Zaria Taylor.

Election Tectonics: Identity, Youth, & the Vote

On Friday, November 4th, our Newark Dreamers participated in the "I Have A Dream" Foundation's first "Dreamer Town Hall." The theme for this first Town Hall was "Election Tectonics: Identity, Youth, and the Vote." Dreamers talked about the importance of voting. Dreamers joined by streaming video and live audience.

Watch the full video of Friday's Town Hall below. #dreamervote.

Welcome Back Paint Party

We had a wonderful time kicking off the school year with our Dreamer parents at our Welcome Back Paint party on October 1, 2016. Thank you to all the parents who came out to support this event. With your continued efforts and support we can help our Dreamers realize their dreams. It is still true that it takes a village to raise a child. We are here for your children and we are glad to partner with you on the road to more success. Thank you to Equal Space for the awesome venue and Vonda's Kitchen for the delicious food!

A Dreamer’s Letter to the IHDF-Newark Board

Dreamer Tatyana Dennis wrote a thank you letter to I Have a Dream Foundation - Newark.

Dreamer Tatyana Dennis wrote a thank you letter to I Have a Dream Foundation - Newark.

Who would have thought that we could have come this far? Growing up in places where we were looked down upon like we were animals. It was hard at times to find people who cared other than family.But still, we were like” Flowers Blossoming in a concrete jungle”. We have goals! So many people spent their time and money on us because they care and know we won't waste it. 

Thanks to the "I Have A Dream" Foundation of Newark, my world is opened. It wasn't until later that I realized I am blessed to have a program that cares about my future just as much as I do. The college trips, the tutors, the chess classes, the online work, was all gifts and were are so thankful. Without knowing it sometimes those sources are a helping hand to children like us furthering our education, much like a blessing in disguise. 

If I had the chance to go back and time to talk to my younger self, I would say, “know that you have people who care. Your life is something special, and you are destined for greatness, we all are destined for greatness.” For those who made it this far into this strong foundation, you are lucky. Even when we went through a moment of separation and what seemed like the end, we find our way back due to dedication and hope. I can't wait to see what our future holds I just know it's a bright one. Thank you, I Have A Dream, for changing our lives.

Tatyana Dennis