For the third consecutive year, GOALS has grown its Dream Team program, which provides full scholarships to high school students who stand out as emerging leaders at school and in their communities. This year, with full support from The Child Survival Fund, GOALS is providing scholarships to 27 young adults in Leogane, Haiti.
The acceptance rate in the program was 12.8%. For 5 available new scholarships, we received 47 applications. Students were chosen based on grades, community service, program participation, recommendation letters, and a cover letter.
All of the applicants were strong, but the new additions to the Dream Team were truly remarkable. Dinya and Josephene, for example, had 94% attendance rates, and Steevenson's grades were over 23% higher than the average Dream Team GPA.
Rose Mirlande has been in the Dream Team since 2010, the program's inaugural year. She writes:
"I will never stop being grateful to you, because my mother and father didn’t have any way for me to continue school. I like biology and chemistry because I want to become a great doctor so I can help people that are suffering and people that are in need and don’t have a way to get care."
In the Dream Team, girls are a majority. In the Leogane communities where GOALS works, we have found that girls generally have stronger grades, higher participation and a greater need for financial support to finish school. Currently, 59% of our Dream Team is female, up from 56.5% last year.
That said, we couldn't be prouder of the boys in the program! Olsen lives in an area that was devastated by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; his community is still recovering and many people still do not have homes. In addition to soccer and service, Olsen has studied English with GOALS and has progressed an incredible amount. Here is part of his original letter, which he wrote in English:
"Thanks to GOALS, I have been on a grant for several years in my school. That relieved me a lot. And now, I am very glad ... thank you once more for everything you have done for me, for my parents. I wish you would never stop helping the Haitian people.
These students will be busy in the upcoming academic year. The Dream Team will lead our health promotion and community service activities in Leogane. They’re already planning a new hygiene presentation for our third annual Global Hand Washing Day tournament next week. We promise to keep bringing you news from these students, as well as their own thoughts on GOALS, education, and their daily lives in rural Haiti.