RICHMOND (WRIC)—School supplies can be costly, and not every family has the means to go on trips or build up their home libraries. One local organization is giving struggling parents the tools necessary to keep up with their children's educational needs.
Explaining what the "I Have a Dream" Foundation does for Richmond students isn't quite as appropriate as asking, what doesn't it do?
"We love them," said Widad Abed, the principal of T.C. Boushall Middle School. "They've been terrific."
Gail Henshaw and her late husband, Ken, started "I Have a Dream" in 2006 by sponsoring all second graders at Broad Rock Elementary School—giving them the resources they needed to achieve both in and out of the classroom.
"We're an educational nonprofit organization," Henshaw said. "We have summer programs, we have tutoring, we have mentoring; we take them on field trips."
Those "Dreamers," as the students in the organization are called, are now in ninth grade. The foundation still works to keep each one on the path to success.
"They feel wanted when they have people spending time with them," said Chris Angeles, a teacher at Boushall Middle. "Maybe they don't know how to express it but … they are excited about it."
They spend time together on projects with priceless rewards.
To give the social studies curriculum a boost, 100 students helped the foundation paint a "We the People" room at Boushall Middle.
"This room is an inspiration room where our history classes go down there for various lessons," Abed said. "Just being in the room inspires them with the time period that they're learning."
The "I Have a Dream" Foundation has also donated 100,000 books to students as part of its "Read More Books" program.
For the core group of "Dreamers," the educational benefits don't stop on high school graduation day; the foundation empowers students to reach their highest potential
"Whether it's trade school, two-year college, four-year college … we pay a portion of their college expenses upon graduation," Henshaw said.
With the help of sponsors, "I Have a Dream" is now also helping students in Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Henshaw says she hopes the foundation continues to grow and serve even more students.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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