By Samantha Barlow
The high school graduation rate for Greeley-Evans School District 6 hovers around 80 percent, one of the lowest rates in the North Region. While various nonprofit organizations in the 3 county region of Boulder, Larimer and Weld address academic success and high school completion, The Greeley Dream Team takes a slightly different approach.
Beginning in 1988, the Dream Team Scholars initially worked to promote a culture of success, support, and care. Once participants completed their high school education, they were eligible to receive up to $2,000 for use in a post-secondary training or educational program.
Over the years, the program evolved. The Greeley Dream Team realized the far-off-reward of a scholarship alone was insufficient to foster school success for many low-income, at-risk youth. The organization adapted their model to provide intensive support to students from elementary through high school. The Dream Team’s Education Talent Search program currently provides students grades six through twelve with one-on-one academic advising, tutoring, career and college-based field trips, educational workshops, financial aid assistance, and college preparation. The Dream Team’s Operation Graduation, Peer Leadership, and Jefferson High School teen parent programs also work to provide wrap-around support for nontraditional students as they progress through middle and high school. In total, the Dream Team serves more than 1,100 students, most of whom are from first generation college-bound and limited-income families.
“The Dream Team Program allowed me to have ambitious dreams starting at the age of 12,” states a program alumna currently working as an independent auditor after receiving her degree from the University of Northern Colorado. “It provided me an encouraging environment where I could feel confident in my ability to succeed. Upon my final years in the program, they granted me with the opportunity to visit many higher education institutions, assisted me in applying for scholarships, and contributed financially to my future by selecting me as a Dream Team scholarship recipient. For all that the program means to me and so many others, I am proud to say that I am a part of the Dream Team Program alumni.”
To ensure the Dream Team is able to support students far into the future, El Pomar’s North Regional Council recommended an $88,000 multiyear grant to The Greeley Dream Team in 2014. The North Council values the Dream Team’s programmatic approach and its efficacy. Diligent tracking and metrics revealed the Education Talent Search program saw 93% of its seniors graduating from high school in 2014, and 65% went on to attend college!
To learn more about The Greeley Dream Team’s impact on northern Colorado, visit their website at www.thegreeleydreamteam.org.