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Hunter Dreamers seek to recruit more students for scholarships

A group of Dreamers who have been awarded the DREAM.US scholarship toward their college degree are organizing to help get the word out about the funding available to students with the same status. And they are also using the organization’s workshops to find support and fellowship at a time when they often feel isolated.  

At a recent workshop held last month for recipients of the scholarship at Hunter, students broke into groups and made plans to raise awareness about the what the organization calls the “Dream Team” and to grow support among the Dreamer community. The scholarships provide up to $33,000 to students over the course of their four-year education.  

“I liked the workshop because we were able to speak honestly and come up with ideas that could benefit us in the long run, said O., a sophomore and a clinical psychology major, who asked that her name not be used. 

The organizations behind the DREAM.US scholarship believe that Dreamers should have the opportunity to obtain a college education and contribute to the prosperity of the country 

According to the website, there are now 1.8 million Dreamers living the U.S., and 65,000 graduates from high school every year.  The scholarship fund is supported by groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies 

Program director Gaby Pacheco said that students who receive this award get $14,500 for an associate degree and $29,000 for a bachelor degree plus an additional stipend of up to $4,000 or $1,000 per year for books, supplies and transportation. The award is renewable each year if students continue to meet the eligibility criteria. Hunter is one of the organization’s partner colleges.  

Dreamers are undocumented immigrants who came to the United States at an early age. For many of them, the U.S. is the only country they’ve ever known since many cannot go back to their homeland due to their immigration status.  

Officials for the college estimate that Hunter has approximately 500 students who are undocumented. About 15 to 20 students from Hunter get this scholarship every year, according to Pacheco. And since it started in 2013, the organization has given away 4,000 scholarships nationwide, according to its website.  

The workshops held here at the college have another purpose, however. They help students who have reason to keep to themselves find support and fellowship. 

“It taught me that I’m not alone and that there are people and students who can relate to me and help me,” said O.  

“It was nice to speak with other Dreamers going through the same situations you are,” said S., a junior and economics major. But she also said she is afraid that all her hard work will go to waste if legislation does not eventually legalize DACA receipts.  

Still, she finds these workshops helpful since they bring students together to focus on the goal of succeeding as professionals and also help others in the same situation and raise awareness. It has also helped some Dreamers reflect on their family’s status and their own role in American society.  

I am proud of my parents because they are the original dreamers. I could never imagine myself going through what they went through,” said S. 

 They are the strong, the fearless who face the ridicule. For myself, I do not speak on my status because there is a certain prejudice that comes from being a dreamer.”  

Applications will be open again Nov. 1, but students can sign up now for updates here. 

 

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