A night for dreamers

Jacob Lane · Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The Dream Catchers Ninth Annual Taco Dinner was much more than a dinner last Friday, it was a kaleidoscope of community fun, food and entertainment.

The fundraiser helped raise money for the West Liberty based program Dream Catchers, an organization that provides mentoring and scholarships to students on track to college.

"It's going incredibly well," said Board President and Founder of Dream Catchers Dr. Carol Moreno. "We have a lot of people turning up, it's really become a community event."

She not only plans the event to bring in funds, but to bring the community together. Hundreds of people showed up for the night's festivities.

The Chicago based troupe, Academia De Baile Universal Dancers, lit up the the room with colorful costumes and vigorous dancing; the guys tossed their female partners in the air and twirled them around.

Meanwhile, a silent auction filled five tables with various goods. As each table was shut down, bidders crowded around their prospective goods.

Of course, the focus of the evening was the food. Beef and steak tacos were offered along with beans and rice. For this year’s raffle an i-Pad Mini was given away.

"The event has expanded a lot since we first began," added Moreno. "We've been doing this ever since the organization started."

Dream Catchers was founded in 2004. The applicants, or "Dreamers," are chosen in third grade. They must both be on the free/reduced lunch program and be the first in their family bound for college.

During their time in elementary, middle and high school, mentoring is available to Dreamers to keep them on track. When they get to a university, they’re given $2,000 in scholarship funds from the Dream Catchers each year for four years.

Right now there are 20 children in the program. They are required to graduate from high school, so Dream Catchers essentially helps create college bound students.

Randy Tapia, junior at WL High School, has been in the program since third grade.

"In third grade I wasn't doing so well, but they gave me so much and they really helped," he said. "I think it's a great program, they help you with school and beyond that."

Demet Nalbant, a former mentor in the program, enjoys the fact that the program catches children so young.

"It's awesome and very positive," she said. "It seeds an idea in students when they're very little."

The fundraiser was a success. For more information on Dream Catchers, visit westlibertydreamcatchers.org.
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