Origin of “I Have a Dream” – East Palo Alto
The East Palo Alto chapter of “I Have a Dream” began in 1992 through the initiative of Dave Michael, Thad Walen, Nick Folger, and Peter Dumanian, graduate students of Stanford Business School (GSB), and some of their classmates.
Over the next year and a half, a core group of 20 GSB students refined the idea and raised enough money to “adopt” the entire 3rd and 4th grade classes at Flood Elementary School in East Palo Alto. In May 1992, the business students pledged ongoing academic, social, and financial support, including stipends for college tuition.
A little over a decade later, the program has been amazingly successful. All 72 Dreamers graduated from high school, in a district where normal graduation rates are below 50%. After high school, 80% of these young adults enrolled in two or four-year colleges/universities.
In 2001, IHAD-EPA adopted its second group of Dreamers (60 1st graders) at Costaño Elementary School. IHAD-EPA will provide support to this same group of Dreamers until they graduate from high school. Of the Dreamers in the current program, 57% are Latino, 32% are African-American, and 17% are Pacific Islander.
IHAD-EPA helps Dreamers realize the following three goals:
1. Achieve academic excellence
2. Develop respect for self and others
3. Attain professional, social, civic, and ethical development
To fulfill the program’s promise, IHAD-EPA maintains a full-time staff to form personal relationships with the Dreamers and their families and to serve as a support and resource for academic and personal problems. The staff also serves as a liaison between Dreamers and their families and the school.
The information above can be found on the official website of “I Have A Dream” – East Palo Alto. For more details about the organization and to find out how you can volunteer, please visit their website: http://www.ihadepa.org