The “Invest-in-Success” program is the cornerstone of D.R.E.A.M. This three-year, comprehensive institute targets students in their sophomore year of high school and strategically develops students’ knowledge of both personal finance and investing concluding at the end of the students’ senior year in high school. "Invest-in-Success" is focused on addressing the areas of academic enrichment, character and leadership development, and healthy lifestyles through financial literacy education.
The breadth of topics covered and difficulty of course material gradually increases per year, ranging from first-year topics such as “The Basics of Budgeting” to the third-year topics such “Valuing Investments in the Private Market”. This experience better equips students to handle critical financial decisions as they enter adulthood, such as navigating the process of financing higher education expenses, investing, saving, and debt management. D.R.E.A.M.’s goal is to empower students with financial knowledge to ensure they make the most informed decisions and avoid many of the common pitfalls that lie ahead of those who are financially illiterate.
The “Invest In Success” Experience
The “Invest-in-Success” program has four main components:
I. $tart $mart
II. Finance Academy
IV. Community Service
The program initiates annually every September and concludes in June, coinciding with our students’ academic school terms. Program courses will be offered one Saturday per month. Students are required to attend all sessions to ensure maximum benefit from participation in the program is achieved.
As part of participation in the program, our scholars are afforded the opportunity to open savings and individual brokerage accounts to begin walking the path towards financial liberation.
Annually, scholars participate in 9 monthly sessions where they learn concepts from our unique, comprehensive, and culturally-enriched curriculum. During the summer months, scholars are required to attend and participate in summer educational/enrichment programs for which D.R.E.A.M. has an extensive database and will provide application preparation support.
Academy sessions will be instructed by volunteers, leading industry professionals with years of experience in the given subject matters, which are fully vetted and trained by D.R.E.A.M. staff. Scholars have the opportunity to participate in activities such as business case study and stock market competitions, mathematical enrichment, and a host of courses such as “The Art of Being a Savvy Consumer”. Students will also have the opportunity to hear speeches from industry leading, professionals from a wide array of financial backgrounds as part of our “Excel Speaker Series”.
The Academy sessions are held on Saturdays and all scholars are required to participate in the sessions, activities, and field trips. Meeting locations will vary around the NYC area, and will be easily accessible via train, bus, or car.
Each scholar will be assigned a mentor upon admittance to the program. Mentors will assist and guide scholars as many of them begin to take control of their financial lives for the first time. Mentors will serve as resources and answer questions regarding creating personal budgets, effective saving methods, in addition to any other financial questions scholars may have.
D.R.E.A.M. believes in the mantra, “To whom much is given, much is expected”. As a result, during the course of their participation in the program our scholars are required to fulfill a select amount of volunteer hours in their communities.
Why Participate in “Invest in Success”?
Without sufficient knowledge and comprehension, navigating life’s tough financial decisions can be a daunting task for many. With a vast amount of scams and deviant schemes in the financial services market, being knowledgeable is an invaluable tool in today’s global economy. Participation in our program includes:
Expert Guidance: Our program provides students with knowledge, information, and skills to understand the core competencies of saving, investing, and managing one’s credit.
Mentoring: The mentor will serve as a guide and sage to answer questions about finance, college preparation, and any other topics the scholars may wish to address.
“Hands-on” Learning: Participants in the program will have several opportunities to practice budgeting, saving, and investing real money through competitions and simulations.
Financial Aid Roadmap: The college financial aid process can be a daunting task for many families. D.R.E.A.M. staff works with scholars to navigate and clarify this process and assist families with locating the necessary funds to finance sky rocketing college expenses.
Network of D.R.E.A.M.’ers: As part of our alumni network, program participants have access to networks that will be vital as information and knowledge can be shared amongst graduates of the program, and subsequently shared within our communities at large. This continued networking further advances our goal of eliminating the wealth gap between low-income, urban citizens and the broader population.