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Dream a Little DREAM

BU mentoring program needs your vote to win up to $20,000

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Emily Mulloy (CAS’13) (right) mentors Alyssa Turner, a child from Roxbury’s Orchard Gardens housing development. Photo courtesy of DREAM

Election day is now over. And we know you’re sick of campaigns and voting, but this is one campaign that’s worth your attention. BU students who’ve worked with children at the Orchard Gardens public housing in Roxbury could win $20,000 for their nonprofit organization if you cast an online ballot for them.

The students form the campus chapter of DREAM, a New England group that matches college student mentors with children in public housing. DREAM (Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure, and Mentoring) is competing with philanthropies in seven other cities nationally for the money, being awarded by San Diego–based Stay Classy, an online fundraiser for nonprofits. There are several award categories; DREAM is up for two—Most Influential College Student/Organization and Philanthropic Small Business of the Year. Winning one category nets $10,000 for DREAM; winning both earns the group $20,000.

The national voting is open to anyone with a computer, which is why the group is drumming up publicity for its nomination. Voting began October 21, and you can cast a ballot until 11:59 p.m. on November 5—vote here.

Should the BU students win, the $20,000 prize would go to the Boston administrative office of DREAM, which aims to curb teen pregnancy, poverty-induced underachievement in school, and high-risk behavior among children from low-income families. The BU chapter, formed in September 2009, has 21 members, says Emily Mulloy (CAS’13), one of the chapter’s chairs.

BU mentors’ activities have included a scavenger hunt on campus, making friendship bracelets together, and basketball games at Orchard Gardens. Mulloy took her mentee to the Museum of Fine Arts. DREAM is also planning a trip to Maine for the children. In this program, Mulloy says, the students benefit as much as the kids. “Sometimes, BU’s campus feels so college-like that it gets a little boring. Everyone is rushing to classes, moaning about midterms, and freaking out about the weather. I think we often forget to have real, childlike fun. But then we bring these kids to campus, and they shake the place up.”

“We want to connect both communities over time and show the children the way to a successful life,” says Eunice Cuevas (CAS’13), the other chair of BU DREAM.

Stay Classy’s awards recognize philanthropic efforts in Boston, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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