For some high school students, the dream of attending George Mason University is a step closer to reality thanks to a partnership between George Mason and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). Now in its 13th year, the Dream-Catchers program provides support for at-risk students who wish to attend and graduate from Mason; and Mason faculty and staff members are invited to participate as mentors or role models.
The program seeks volunteers who possess the following natural attributes that promote student success:
- The belief that every person has the right to pursue one’s dreams and to better oneself through continued knowledge and skill development.
- The desire to give of oneself on a meaningful and personal level to a motivated and successful student who seeks to attend Mason.
- The ability to schedule time for activities and commit to a long-term relationship with a student.
Mentors will be matched with students in their junior or senior years of high school according to common interests and geographic locations. This relationship will continue through the completion of the student’s university program. Mentors spend two to four hours per month attending orientation activities and end-of-year awards receptions; interact a few minutes each week with students via telephone or email; make time each month to meet with students for lunch, special events or other activities; participate in mentor network meetings several times a year; and interact with other mentors and students in social functions sponsored by Dream-Catchers.
Mentors also work with school liaisons and program coordinators to locate role models who are matched with students according to areas of career interest. Role models contribute by inviting students to visit their workplaces, giving presentations and participating in various other experiences.
Dream-Catchers is coordinated by Jane Razeghi, an associate professor in Mason’s College of Education and Human Development; Karen Kitching, an assistant professor of accounting in Mason’s School of Management; and Dream-Catchers’ program coordinator Kathryn Salerno.
A breakfast and orientation for new mentors is planned for the first week of December. Those interested in participating in the Dream-Catchers program should complete the Mason Dream-Catchers Mentor Application and submit it through the site or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please direct questions to Kitching at 703-993-9038.