iDream Program Impacts Children's Lives

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On Thursday, Jan. 16, over 90 kindergartners at Madison Park Elementary School in Litchfield received their first lesson from the iDREAM program. 

The iDREAM curriculum will be offered to kindergartners, second, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth and 12th graders at Litchfield public schools in Montgomery County, where students learn to navigate the world of dreaming, goal setting, and creativity. 

The curriculum is facilitated by a dream team of local community leaders, Valerie Belusko, Community and Economic Development Program coordinator for University of Illinois Extension, and Abi Martin, a retired teacher from Litchfield. The team will use this program to help students realize the importance of dreaming, goal setting, and proactive efforts. 

"I retired from CUSD #12 in 2016.  I have always enjoyed working with children," Martin said.  "This program encourages them to explore their dreams and all the possibilities for the future.  I can't wait to hear their dreams and encourage them to pursue them."

A partnership between Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and University of Illinois Extension of Montgomery County made this program possible. Children are under a lot of stress and do not always have the goal-setting skills they need to become happy and successful in life. The iDREAM program encourages students of all ages to dream big, take focused action, and learn from failure. Once students realize their dreams are possible, and a network of community leaders are backing them, anything is possible.

"We want our youth to have a support system for success within our community," Belusko said.  "The opportunities here are abundant and we want to make sure they are actively planning for their future.  I am excited to work with the Litchfield school district on this wonderful curriculum and have been thoroughly impressed with their educators and administrators."

The program was created in Marshall School District with Tiffany Macke, Community and Economic Development educator for University of Illinois Extension, leading the way. Litchfield is the first school in Montgomery County to participate in this curriculum. This program is created by and copyrighted by University of Illinois Extension. 

For those who have any questions about the program, please contact Valerie Belusko at valerieb@illinois.edu or call the Montgomery County Extension office at 217-532-3941.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. For those who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please call 217-532-3941. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting access needs.

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