Erica Lloyd (M.T. ’02 Elem Ed) is program director of I Have a Dream Foundation’s Charlottesville chapter, and 2012 is a big year. The area’s first cohort is set to graduate this spring.
In fall 2000 when two local businessmen first brought I Have a Dream to Charlottesville, the kindergarten class at Clark Elementary School was selected for the program. Today, I Have a Dream-Charlottesville has 62 students. Forty-seven of them are set to graduate in June and four graduated last year. Five dreamers are currently working on GEDs and one more will finish this summer. The final five were held back in first grade and will graduate next June. As of February, seven dreamers had been accepted to a university, and 80 percent were on track to attend either a four-year university or community college come fall, Lloyd said.
During her student-teaching experience in the teacher education program, Lloyd saw many children struggling in school, but their academic and social problems did not always stem from school itself, she said. Rather, many students were dealing with obstacles outside of school. Lloyd wanted to work for a program that would allow her to help students gain control over their lives while at the same time succeeding academically.
“Our kids have had some tough periods in their lives,” she said. Through I Have a Dream, “college goes from being this nebulous idea to being reality. I’m very fortunate to see them come out on the other side of that.”
Adapted from a story by Lisa Littman, which first appeared in UVA Today. Read more.