Teenage

Meet the Dream Team: Dream Jamaica

AKEELIA RICHARDS

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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Meet the Dream Team! There are many youth empowerment organizations and we applaud them all but Dream Jamaica make dreams come true (sounds corny but here are the facts).
Dream Jamaica is a charity operating since 2008 that continues to transform lives of over 400 high school students in Jamaica –walking their participants step by step from grade seven to college, then on to internships!
Most notably is their team of managers and the 2019 Camp Director, who I like to call, the dream team. Cejay McCalla (Program manager), Kyla Atkinson (Accounting and Finance Manager), Trevon Fletcher (Marketing and Communications Manager), Crystina Perkins (Logistics Manager) and Tafar-I Williams (Camp Director) are all past participants of the Dream Jamaica program and has now volunteered themselves to be the fairy Godmothers or Godfathers this summer for the many teens who would like to actualize their dreams.
This is Dream Jamaica going full circle!
Read below our interview with Dream Jamaica.
teenAGE: What does Dream Jamaica mean to you?
Tafar-I Williams: Having gone through years of programming, I am witness to tremendous improvements in myself and others. Dream Jamaica serves as a haven for my development and is a ground for expansion and self-actualisation. A family, and a very close one to my heart, Dream Jamaica has provided avenues for confidence building and self-identification. I am proud to be a part of a team of leaders across Jamaica, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Coach and Camp Director of the #1 FREE Summer Camp in Jamaica.
Trevon Fletcher: Dream Jamaica, to me, is the reason for my growth and development as a young student leader. Dream Jamaica saved me from a plague of low self-esteem and has given me the opportunity to transform lives through the skills I have garnered.
teenAGE: How have you embodied Dream Jamaica's mandate?
Cejay McCalla: The mandate of Dream Jamaica is to inspire youth and achieve dreams. Inspiration does not go without motivation and I find that motivation does not last. Similarly, dreams are often hallucinations of a future self that does not exist, and may be short lived. Not with Dream Jamaica. I have learned not to bask in a temporary spur of motivation, but rather, to plan after being motivated, and incorporate lessons learnt into my day-to-day life. As a result of this planning and fleshing out SMART goals, I have seen several of my ambitions come to fruition. Two quick examples; becoming a head student and a part of the Key Club district board. Both of these were written down on paper one summer during Dream Jamaica. I was motivated to pursue them and the planning followed. Needless to say that both of these came to reality. Those however, are just the tip of the iceberg. I have so much more to offer the world and so, I will continue to plan SMARTly as the world awaits my greatest.
teenAGE: How did the idea of Dream Jamaica going full circle came about?
Tafar-I Williams: An idea that scaled in 2018, the activities and reports serve as an aide-memoire of perseverance and integrity. As a past participant who had excelled through the program, I was called upon by the Board of Directors to effectuate a plan in its preliminary stage of expansion. Ironically, it was a time when we had just shut down the office and looked towards cutting aspects of the program.
With special skills in budget management and neo-corporatist strategic planning of social development programs, I was called upon to extensively exhaust avenues for opportunities and maximise resources to deliver a successful camp under budget cuts.
I have also realized, after completing a year of planning and execution in 2018, that the importance lies specifically in what we refer to as network building --which is not just expanding network but building those within the network. Management of the Summer Camp had decided to take on past participants on the Management Team in order to build their confidence and encourage them to acquire a skill-set necessary for Projects Management which is found in all careers. In so doing, we offer a special program for these four young leaders who were also Head Students, and they have been doing a stellar job!
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly identify them as foundations in our expansion phase, and we look forward to working with them even closer in the near future in spite of their journeying to different paths in different continents.
teenAGE: As past participants, I am certain Dream Jamaica has impacted your life but more so how do you intend on improving the lives of the campers of the 2019 program?
Trevon Fletcher: After being groomed in the program for 5 years, I have made it my responsibility to provide interactive sessions to allow students to overcome social anxiety and low self-confidence. I assiduously work to be the “Captain of Fun” for the kids to enjoy their summer while allowing them to share the experiences with their friends and family through social media. I also volunteer to serve as a mentor and counselor, helping with essay writing and other features of their individual portfolios. In doing this I ensure that they learn how to draft the best essays and resumes that represent their potential while allowing them to see the greatness within them, just like how Dream Jamaica did for me.
Cejay McCalla: Currently I serve as the Program Manager for the 2019 Dream Jamaica camp. By virtue of this position, I am able get competent presenters to guide our students and develop their soft and hard skills. Not only this, I am able to plan career trips that should provide insight into different professions of interest to the students. In all this, I try to make the experience convivial since I understand the importance of fun, being a past participant. These are the ways in which I am leaving an impact on the 2019 summer program.
If you are not a participant of their 2019 summer camp, still contact Dream Jamaica atinfo@dreamjamaica.organd most importantly teens go follow their Instagram @dreamer_ja.
Dream Jamaica; Inspiring youth, achieving dreams!
--Akeelia Richards

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