Natali Salcedo '17
I got a job!, Service Commitment
Program Empowerment Director
The DREAM Program
Decribe your role with The DREAM Program.
"The DREAM Program is a non-profit organization that works with youth living in affordable housing developments to provide them with the necessary skills and tools to help meet their goals and aspirations through a village mentoring approach. Our village mentoring approach pairs communities of families and college students together in both group and individual settings in order to empower the youth. We empower our youth by helping them realize their options, decisions, and dreams through our high adventure, teen, and summer enrichment programming, as well as mentoring. As a Program Empowerment Director I head the recruiting, supporting, and supervising of mentor, mentee, and parent relationships for my site. Tasks for my site include maintaining open communication, training, and coordinating meetings or events for my mentors, mentees, and families. In addition to supporting my site, I work on projects dictated by the Regional Director. At the moment, I am currently working on an expansion partnership with Saint Joseph’s University, and fundraising for both my site and DREAM Philadelphia."
How did you get connected to this opportunity?
"I was online searching job opportunities and came across an ad to become a part of AmeriCorps & DREAM."
How did your SJU education impact your professional goals?
"My education at SJU has helped me explore my love for sociology, and the need for positive social change. Through my course work at SJU, I actively engaged in learning about and analyzing sociological phenomenons that are relevant to the communities that I now serve. SJU has provided me with the tools and skills necessary to make a difference in these communities."
Did you participate in any experiential learning activities while at SJU?
"At St. Joseph's University, I participated in service learning classes that were incredibly gratifying because I was able to engage with the community. In my first service learning course I served as a mentor and tutor for students in South Philadelphia, which allowed me to gain insight on the Latino population. The second course, Inside-Out, took place in a prison facility. Here I gained a new understanding of the hardships faced by those processed through the criminal justice system. Both experiences helped cultivate my interest in creating positive social change, while also making me incredibly aware of the opportunity gaps faced by marginalized populations."