Passion. Grit. Confidence. At Dream Chasers Northwest Indiana, kids learn all of these qualities and more. Empowering kids to overcome their obstacles and chase their dreams is the heartbeat of Dream Chasers and during the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, they’re spreading that mission to the public with their free online resources.
Typically an after-school or in-school program, Dream Chasers helps students discover who they are, what they want to accomplish, and how to use teamwork and other skills to accomplish their dreams. The 8-week course ends in a grand event where groups compete with each other to have fun and practice what they’ve learned.
With COVID-19 shutting down almost everything, Dream Chasers team quickly recognized the opportunity to adapt and continue to reach kids wherever they are. Pulling information from the in-school curriculum they’ve been developing, they created online resources to help kids accomplish their dreams and maybe even just make it through this difficult time.
“Having this (the pandemic) happen in our world is the biggest obstacle that we, as a world, have seen in this lifetime,” said Barbara Gederina Muckel, Executive Director of Dream Chasers Northwest Indiana Chapter. “Because our kids who were already registered for the spring were going to miss out on their after-school program and our Dream Chasers Challenge race, our founder and VP of operations wanted to make this available to everybody.”
Daily exercises are posted online and contain three sections: learn, challenge, and create. Each exercise offers a unique lesson for kids, and even adults, on character and confidence building. And the best part? You can use whatever you have at home to complete the tasks.
“There’s really nothing that you need to complete these activities. Parents have online access to it and can use whatever they have available to them and what they have around their house. We’re never going to ask them to buy something,” Muckel said.
These completely free online activities are an excellent way to bring the whole family together.
“This is a great way for parents to interact with their children, and that’s invaluable. There is no greater value than being able to interact with your children. It’s a fun way for the family to be together, involved, and help build that confidence and maybe relieve some stress,” Muckel said.
The team at dream chasers knows that when it comes to building confidence in a child, it’s never too early to begin.
“As a parent, and a parent of someone who is now an adult, I know you need to start building their confidence at a young age when they can become leaders, where they’re more confident with their peers and adults,” Muckel said. “As they travel from grade school to junior high, they will then gain the confidence to make better choices. As they then go from middle school to high school, they’re building on that confidence even more, building the character to make those better choices as they grow and enter adulthood.”
Looking to the future, Dream Chasers of Northwest Indiana is hopeful that come fall, students will be back in school and taking part in the Dream Chasers program in person. But if not, from the top, they will do all that they can to help kids achieve their dreams.
“Our leadership team serves from the heart with excellence and they want kids to have anything they can to overcome obstacles and continue to chase their dreams,” Muckel said.
To learn about how you can start your own Dream Chasers team, visit www.dreamchasers.org/nwindiana.
The Dream Chasers online resources can be found at www.dreamchasers.org/free