Club reaches for dreams of education

DREAM hopes to raise $50,000 this year for educational projects in developing countries.
DREAM hopes to raise $50,000 this year for educational projects in developing countries.

“Driven” is one word to describe DREAM, a newly formed club at Queen’s that aims to fundraise $50,000 by the end of this year to cover the cost of five education-focused charitable projects for developing countries.

DREAM, which stands for Discover the Reality of Educating All Minds, will be hosting a series of events throughout this year—including raffles for cruise trips for two—to support Room to Read, a non-profit organization created in 2000 that helps children in developing countries receive an education.

Alvin Chin, Sci ’07 and the co-founder and co-president of the club, said he researched different charities that focused in this area but chose Room to Read for several reasons. He said he was won over by fact the organization has a matching grant program and that they purchase supplies directly from businesses in the countries they aid, which helps to support their local economies.

The five projects DREAM has adopted for Room to Read include building a computer lab, building a school library, funding a lifetime scholarship for girls, publishing books in local languages and constructing a new school in a variety of countries.

Chin and co-founder Joanna Sue, ArtSci ’07, said they’re very excited about their goals. Pointing to issues such as the illiteracy rate of women—which accounts for around two-thirds of the illiteracy rate in the world—they said DREAM will work to improve the lives of people affected.

“It’s important for children to learn how to read—it opens the door to the world,” Sue said.

“We can help children reach their true potential,” Chin added.

The events the club will be throwing, such as an upcoming smoker at Alfie’s on Nov. 12, will serve to raise awareness and funds.

“We give both equal priority,” Chin said. “You can’t have them separate.” Members of DREAM said they are aware that $50,000 is a large amount of money to raise and that it has never been raised before by a club at the University.

“We can’t deny we’re being ambitious,” said Gillian Crouch, VP (human resources) and ArtSci ’08.

Nonetheless, Crouch said the club is determined.

“We are planning to raise this amount of money, and we’re going to raise this amount of money,” she said.

Sue added that the benefit to the people targeted by the projects was a motivating factor.

“It’s thinking about the change that these five projects will make on these children,” she said.

Sue said DREAM has faith that students will be receptive to a club that supports such a cause.

“Queen’s students love to get involved and love helping. They are conscious of issues in society,” she said.

“Our mentality is, why wouldn’t we want to do something to help out this cause?”

Sue, a development studies student, said she thinks the fact that the University offers her program means it’s open to the issues DREAM is addressing.

Besides the cruise ticket raffle, which Chin called a unique “out-there” initiative that will attract students’ attention, DREAM plans a multicultural dinner and possible Sunday night pizza sales to help reach their goal.

“Our fundraising goal is to have three events by this semester,” Chin said.

Chin said the club has made contacts with elementary schools in the Kingston area, and they’ve also received positive feedback from different University faculties and Kingston businesses.

However, they also said that while their overall feedback from Kingston businesses was good, some have said they feel Queen’s could do a better job of not isolating itself from the Kingston community in general.

“We’re working to close the gap,” Chin said. “[Reaching] our goal of $50,000 will be a very clear demonstration of that.”

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