About Us

WHAT IS DREAM-CATCHERS?

“Dream-Catchers” is a George Mason University partnership that began with Fairfax County Public Schools and has expanded to Prince William County Public Schools. It provides hope for college capable youth enrolled in the FCPS and PWPS Nontraditional School Programs.

This unique partnership identifies and supports these students in achieving their dreams to attend and graduate from college through the utilization of mentors and role models from the MASON community and the Northern Virginia region.

It represents a significant first step that some of the largest school systems in the country are partnering with one of the fastest-growing universities in Virginia to provide hope and support for students who may not be considering higher education!

This program begins in the senior year of high school and may continue throughout four years of college, providing the following:

  • Support for needed academic focus
  • Positive role models in the workplace and at George Mason University
  • Continuous focus on progress and personal support
  • Financial assistance, when possible

WHO SHOULD APPLY TO BE A MENTEE?


Students who are in 12th grade in the FCPS and PWPS Nontraditional School Programs are encouraged to apply. Students must possess the ability and desire to eventually attend a two-year or four-year college or university. The criteria for a student’s selection into the program may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Show potential for academic achievement
  • Demonstrate significant improvement of grades during attendance at a nontraditional school
  • Demonstrate leadership in school activities
  • May require financial assistance to attend college
  • May represent first-generation college attendance

WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS OF A MENTEE?

Students selected to participate in the Dream-Catchers program are expected to do the following:

  • Commit to attending monthly Dream-Catchers workshops and events on the campus of George Mason University
  • Meet monthly with your mentor outside of scheduled Dream-Catchers events
  • Receive guidance from your mentor on how to navigate the academic and social world of college life, which may be vital to your success
  • Continue to receive support from other agencies as long as you are eligible for such support
  • Have fun!

WHO SHOULD APPLY TO BE A MENTOR?

Mason faculty and staff are sought who possess the following natural attributes that promote student success:

  • the belief that every person has the right to pursue one’s dreams and to better oneself through continued knowledge and skill development; 
  • a desire to give of oneself on a meaningful and personal level to motivated and successful students enrolled at alternative, non-traditional high schools in Fairfax and Prince William counties seeking to attend GMU.

WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS OF A MENTOR?

The extent of interactions with an identified student will depend on the ability to schedule a time for activities and to commit to a long-term relationship with a student. As Mentors, selected Mason faculty and staff will be matched to students in their senior years of high school according to common interests and geographic location. You would be asked to spend about three to five hours per month doing the following:

  • Spend a few minutes each week interacting with your mentee either through telephone and/or electronic conversations
  • Make time once each month to meet with the mentee individually for lunch at his/her school or meet after-school
  • Participate once a month with other mentors and their mentees in social and academic functions sponsored by the Mason Dream-Catchers Program on our Fairfax campus

View our 2020 mentor appreciation video!

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