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One of a Kind Program Evaluation Proves ‘I Have a Dream”® – Houston Effective at Improving Student Academics and Self Worth

    Underwritten by Comerica Bank, “I Have a Dream”® – Houston presented its annual evaluation results during its Year in the Dream program held during National Mentoring Month.

“I Have a Dream”® – Houston (IHAD) presented its one of a kind annual program evaluation results before a record number of attendees at its Year in the Dream breakfast meeting held on Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at the InterContinental Houston Hotel. IHAD is a long-term mentoring and dropout prevention 501(c)(3) nonprofit program.

For the past decade, IHAD has subjected itself to an independent evaluation led by Beth Manke, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Human Development, California State University, Long Beach.

No other evaluation in the nation tracks children’s academic progress and well-being over as many years and incorporates multiple sources of information in an attempt to identify the processes by which children might benefit from mentoring.

Irvin Ashford, Jr., vice president of Public Affairs and manager of the statewide Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program for Comerica Bank’s Texas Market shared how mentorship helped shape the person he is today.

“Dr. Manke’s findings bear out that long-term mentoring is effective in contributing to positive benefits for society,” said Ashford. “I’m a prime example of that fact as I’ve had a mentor for over 25 years. My mentor gave me a ‘little something extra.’ He helped me to overcome childhood adversities, stay in school and remain positive.”

“The nation is considering an economic stimulus package to prevent a recession,” continued Ashford. “Similarly, I believe a mentoring stimulus package is needed to prevent our youth from deteriorating. I encourage everyone to mentor a child. The effect may not be seen for 20 years, but studies show that a ‘little something extra’ does have a big impact.”
The examination of data across several years also demonstrates that time spent with Dream Partners impacts Dreamer success. For example in 2007 researchers found that Dreamers who spent more overall time with their Dream Partners reported engaging in fewer behavior problems like drinking, smoking, and fighting.

In addition, Dreamers who spent more time with their Dream Partners outside of regular program sessions (at least one activity every other month) experienced a higher level of success as follows:

• 91 percent of Dreamers received passing reading/English grades and 88 percent received passing math grades.
• 80 percent passed the reading portion of the TAKS (statewide test)
• 100 percent of Dreamers believe they will graduate from high school and 94 percent believe they will graduate from college
• 89 percent believe they are a person with a number of good qualities
• 94 percent report they are able to resist peer pressure
• 93 percent believe that good things happen because of their hard work and that it is important to help others

The study also reveals that Dreamer program participation compensates for less emotional and instrumental support from families. Dreamers whose families lack the time or ability to assist with school-related tasks may benefit the most from IHAD program activities.

For more information regarding this year’s evaluation and its applicability to the larger community, please contact IHAD executive director, Lise Cameron at 713.523.7326.

Dream Partner Kathy Jensen and Dreamer Alejandra Basilio also shared their mentor/mentee experience with the audience. The first to attend college in her family, Basilio joined the IHAD program in third grade and is now a student at Texas A&M Galveston and aspires to be a marine biologist.

Jerome Gray, senior news editor/anchor, KPRC Local 2 News was the Year in the Dream program master of ceremonies.

About “I Have a Dream”® – Houston (IHAD): Since 1988, the organization has administered long-term dropout prevention and mentoring programs for students in the 3rd grade through high school and college. Through education and mentoring, “I Have a Dream”® – Houston inspires at-risk youths to dream and empowers them to believe in themselves and succeed. It is IHAD’s vision that every at-risk child in Houston achieves higher education and becomes self-sufficient. For more information, go to or call 713.523.7326.

Photo #IMG_0223-01.jpg L-R:
Lise Cameron, Executive Director, “I Have a Dream”® – Houston
Kathy Jensen, Former “I Have a Dream”® – Houston Board Member and Dream Partner
Alejandra Basilio, Dreamer
Irvin Ashford Jr., vice president of Public Affairs and manager of the statewide Community Reinvestment Act, Comerica Bank
Vanessa Reed, CRA Market Manager-Houston, Comerica Bank

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