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Dreamkeepers Emergency Assistance Program
It all began when The Lumina Foundation for Education awarded a $1.5 million grant to Scholarship America to help design and test the assistance program within a group of community colleges. Since the initial three-year pilot study, the number of involved colleges has almost tripled and other major funders have joined.
“Community colleges have told us that one way to help keep these students in school is to establish a fund that would help colleges address their emergency needs,” said Martha D. Lamkin, CEO and president of the Lumina Foundation. “This program is designed to support the success of these students by cultivating a mechanism for institutions and communities to respond to their particular needs.”
From inception, one aspect of the national Dreamkeepers project has been for colleges to continue running and funding their programs after the startup period ends. Each college is expected to firmly embed Dreamkeepers in their institution so that a network of programs takes root across the country. In this way, more students will be able to reach their educational and career goals.
During the last two years of the pilot the Durham Technical Community College Foundation raised $35,000 in required matching funds for the program. The Dreamkeepers Emergency Assistance Program was the focal point of the late fall 2005 Campus Fund Drive, and many on-campus donors designated their annual gifts to this program. Presentations were made during each quarterly Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors meeting. In fall 2011, the Foundation Board of Directors was updated on the status of the Dreamkeepers program and heard from a student first-hand how the program enabled him to stay in school at a time when he had lost necessary funds to pay bills.
As Dreamkeepers at Durham Tech begins its eighth year, excitement is in the air. The DTCC Foundation is reigniting fundraising efforts for Dreamkeepers and beginning new initiatives. At the same time, Durham Tech’s program is expanding in scope and updating its technology. Thanks to Scholarship America and national funding, the college is implementing an online application for assistance that will streamline the process for students. Also, new approaches are being developed for communicating about the program to the campus community.
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It takes determination and hard work to achieve dreams. But sometimes the unexpected sabotages even the best made plans. Students’ dreams of a college education can fade away fast when a personal financial emergency threatens.
mother Katie Haney’s schedule makes your head spin. She is the
mother of a young daughter, a full-time student taking core classes
in Durham Tech’s Associate Degree Nursing program, and she works
as a server at a busy Durham restaurant. Recently Haney faced a conflict.
Aviles enrolled in Durham Tech after realizing that not having a college
degree was affecting her career path. She is in the University Transfer
program in Business Administration and has a part-time job. When her
husband was laid off from his job, Tracey thought she would have to
quit her studies.
Durham Technical Community College