Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Champions, Not Bullies - Zaina Khoury

On October 24, 2011 the Young Dreamer Network threw an Anti-Bullying event! As soon as I started heading towards the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, I saw middle school students pouring out of school buses. Immediately, I became jumpy and excited to have all of these guys coming to an awesome event like this. I kept telling everyone Im so excited! and This is so exciting! over and over and over again. It genuinely thrilled me to see such a large outcome for this event. Many really awesome videos were played showing students how bullying hurts through relatable things like music and dance. Some teens from the Boys and Girls Club rapped for students as well, singing about the effect of bullying and where it can take people that it hurts. It was really cool looking back from the front row and seeing the middle school students nodding their heads to the beat and smiling at the performers. A kind representative from the Boys and Girls Club came to speak with the audience about his experiences with bullying too. He presented it with such confidence and added some humor which really kept everybody listening to his amazing story. Radio Silence NYC, a band from New York, came to play as well. Their catchy songs and cool vibe kept us head bangin and jumping around! Their message through rock music portrayed their opinion against bullying. In my opinion, they were a BIG hit considering I heard a few young girls behind me yell, I LOVE YOU! and many of the students desperate runs to catch the lead singers pick! It all ended with a Young Dreamer group picture with the band and a quick meet-up backstage. Overall, this event really helped me, as well as many other students, find out what role I want to play in this rising problem. I want to stop bullying before it eats our classmates alive. I want to be a Champion.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thinking of others

A post from Audrey:

Being in Guatemala has been such an amazing experience! I think my favorite part so far is meeting the other Young Dreamer here in Guatemala. Though there is a language barrier I am still able to communicate with the little Spanish I know. I wish I could fully understand what it is like to live in Guatemala, and it is sad how most people including me had/have no idea what the living conditions are like. I believe instead of us judging them or trying to make Guatemala more like America we should have compassion and just help them improve the living conditions by not changing the culture, but by donating clothes or money. I think we can never fully understand their life unless we live it, and I am still trying to understand, but if we all take the time to learn and appreciate what we have we will realize how blessed we are and we can help others. We all ( including me)put ourselves before others but I think if America can think of others first we can be the first country to not to be selfish but generous and I know with hard work and perspiration we can make the world a much better place for everyone.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Young Dreamers United

A post from Emma:

I can't find the words to say
Everything is slipping away
How can I explain this place
I'll start with the smiles on everyone's face

How happy they are to be in such beauty
Living life to the fullest is just one's duty
Dream big dream loud
Dream you dream proud

Young Dreamers united, a perfect team
Thanks to all those with a dream

Who dreamed and dared and fought and shared
All they know and want to be
It's a dreamer family
Stretching from coast to coast
This is the family that achieves the most

Keep dreaming higher
Ice and fire
Ignite the sky
Ignore the lie
"You can not be all you dare"
Keep your head in the sky
Your feet on the ground
Everyone now knows
The Young Dreamers are in town!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Redwood City Young Dreamers arrive in Guatemala!

A post from Angelina:

A sigh was released when we had been escorted out of the airport. We were greeted by a vivid sign held by lively, enthusiastic Guatemalans. After a 12 hour flight, I could not have been happier to finally have reached our destination. I have dreamt of traveling to various countries as a child, and surely, so have my peers. Though the moment we got a chance to leave the airport, there were only a few things that initially came to my mind (well, at least for me): food, food and FOOD! So as we entered the rather peculiar, yet comfortable bus all we anticipated was to reach home!

However, as we drove past the glaring signs that plastered the facades of Guatemala City, thoughts flustered through mind: I'm so grateful; What am I supposed to do without a cellphone?; What is that stinking smell(especially referring to the smog that polluted the air. Though, after a few minutes, I learned to let myself go and wallow in the distinctness of this lively, bustling city.

Then, after having finished eating espageti y pan made by the infamous, and humble-hearted Dona Estela, I finally had some leisure time. I set aside my red purse that had been exported from airport to airport and helplessly laid down. I couldn't help but scrutinize the every detail of the window panes, the blankets, and the quaint style of my room. I admired the very cultural feel of it, as if I'd traveled 10 years back to a barrio, except not. Although that's what's so great about experiencing something new, because you gain a new perspective-- and along with that refreshed outlook, is a feeling of gratitude and, I don't know, perhaps tranquility. Yes, that's it. I guess in our "outside lives" (per se) we tend to lose ourselves in the chaos of our own world.

Day 2. Vuelta Grande. We spent only a few hours at Vuelta Grande today, sketching out murals and playing with the obedient, yet charismatic children. We were there to repaint and beautify the escuela.. but I personally believe that as we help others reconstruct whats it important to them, we unconsciously reconstruct what's important to us.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Young Dreamer Network

April has been an exciting month for the Young Dreamer Network. It began with our California Young Dreamers making a push to develop a National Anti-Bullying campaign. Our Dreamers were emphatic about creating a campaign that would address the core issues of bullying: a lack of tolerance, a need for acceptance and a change in perspective. To help our brainstorming process, supporter Erica Bell, led our Dreamers with a "conversation mapping" strategy.

For anyone not familiar with this strategy, the process begins with a group of participants writing words/phrases in the center of a large piece of paper that they think might trigger other ideas, observations, reactions or feelings about the main topic. According to Bruce McKenzie, the author of Conversation Mapping, “The result typically looks like a branch, which extends out into large twigs which themselves branch further into smaller twigs, with each point of branching reflecting different aspects of the problematic situation being explored.”

Over the next few months, our Dreamers will continue to lead the development of their bullying campaign, which will include a variety of ideas from student-led seminars, commercial production and theatrical events. The passion and leadership these Dreamers have displayed in developing this campaign is exciting. We are incredibly optimistic about the role they will play in improving the quality of life in their community.

The California Young Dreamers also displayed their leadership and commitment to serve during their spring break. Their service project was one of a series of visits to tutor and mentor third graders at The St. Francis Center. The SFC is located in the heart of North Fair Oaks and serves the most vulnerable of the community with a small school, bagged food services, 24 affordable housing units, free showers, laundry services, and community garden plots. Each third grader was paired with a Young Dreamer, who helped them with math and reading. Before leaving The St. Francis Center, the Young Dreamers painted Easter eggs with the students and made friendship bracelets. Working with SFC has been a great experience for our Dreamers. They have thrived in having an opportunity to mentor younger students.

After our service project, our Young Dreamers went on a private tour of Electronic Arts corporate headquarters, which is based in Redwood Shores, California. EA Redwood Shores is home to a diverse range of development studios with video game franchises ranging from the bestselling The Sims, to the sci-fi horror title Dead Space and Dante’s Inferno.

EA Redwood Shores is an amazing company and has a real campus feel with four massive office buildings, two onsite restaurants, a large gym with the latest exercise equipment, a beautiful lawn for soccer and other sports, outdoor volleyball and basketball courts, and much more. The campus also features a number of cool meeting areas, gaming areas, and its very own Starbucks. Our Dreamers learned about all the work that goes into creating, designing, producing and marketing EA’s video games.