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DREAM Fellowship Program 2013

The DREAM FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

Background

The Dream Fellowship Program is a semester-long leadership development program, initiated jointly by the New York Immigration Coalition and the Fund for Public Advocacy in 2011. In its first semester in the Spring of 2012, ten college-level DREAM Act eligible student leaders were selected for the fellowship, which included leadership development trainings, internships at community organizations and $2,000 scholarships toward tuition at City University of New York. The Korean American Community Foundation also provided supported for the program.

The leading impetus for the Fellowship was a vibrant and growing immigrant youth movement. With almost no paid staff, no lobbyists, and few financial resources, undocumented immigrant youth and immigrant communities galvanized a historical movement which peaked in 2010. Even as advocates successfully passed the DREAM Act in the House of Representatives, the legislation failed to pass the Senate by a narrow margin. In the aftermath of Congress’s failure to act, a new sense of urgency to rework a longterm movement and leadership emerged. However, DREAMers faced the challenge of continuing to fight for their rights, while still excluded from most of the educational, financial and leadership opportunities their peers had, simply because of their immigration status. To address this disparity, recognizing the tremendous talent and leadership potential of these young people, the NYIC and the Fund for Public Advocacy created the DREAM Fellowship, a program that combines financial assistance with leadership training and hands-on field work.

By participating in the DREAM Fellowship, the Fellows are able to further their personal dreams, strengthen the national DREAM movement and contribute their unique positive energy to the public debate surrounding immigration reform. To learn about the work our 2012 DREAM Fellows were involved in, click HERE.

This year, there is a unique and historic opportunity for DREAMers and the rest of the nation to respond to President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was a direct result of the previous years of advocacy for the DREAM Act. DACA provides DREAMers with an opportunity to request a renewable deferral of deportation and work permit for two years. Despite risks and uncertainties, many DREAMers see this as a life-changing moment, an unprecedented opportunity to come out of the shadows and access educational and work opportunities that were previously closed to them.

Because the affected population is well over a million people (in New York State alone, over 100,000 immigrants are estimated to qualify for this program), it will take a massive outreach and service effort to ensure that all DREAMers are informed about the program and can find the assistance they need to successfully file their applications if they choose to apply. On the first day DACA applications were being processed, over one thousand DREAMers and their family members lined up beginning at six in the morning to attend a legal clinic organized by the NYIC in the Lower East Side. The 2012 DREAM Fellows were at the heart of the event – speaking to media, interpreting, registering participants, and doing crowd-control.

Given the enormity of the opportunity presented to DREAMers by DACA, this year’s Fellowship proposes to develop the internship component of the Fellowship to directly assist with outreach, coordination, media work and formation of partnerships with dozens of government offices and non-profit organizations. We are excited to apply the talent and energy of ten outstanding DREAMers to this worthy goal of maximizing the positive effect of DACA to have a direct impact on the lives of hundreds of DREAMers.

Goals of the 2013 Dream Fellowship

  • To provide financial scholarships to a diverse group of immigrant students to pursue their educational goals;
  • To foster Fellows’ leadership by providing intensive leadership development training and numerous on-the-ground opportunities to assume leadership roles (in advocacy events, press conferences, and in service project that directly serves DREAMers who qualify for Deferred Action);
  • To empower the Fellows to help their communities and learn valuable professional experience though the internships provided;
  • To add significant capacity to the current community response to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by deploying ten Fellows to become part of the citywide legal services and outreach campaign.

*The deadline for the DREAM Fellowship has passed, please check back for an application in the Fall 2013 for the 2014 Fellowship* 

If you have any additional questions about the DREAM Fellowship, please call 212-627-2227 or email dreamfellowship2013@gmail.com

 

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