The DREAM Program aims to help orphans in China by providing them with loving homes as well as offering them a practical education. DREAM consists of two separate programs: one is the long-term foster home in Qiqihar, and the other is the one-year education program in Beijing. The former focuses on providing the children with a loving home and stable family environment, while the latter emphasizes life skills, English, Mandarin, and computer education, thereby preparing the DREAM students for successful transition into society.
The mission of the DREAM Program is to lead the participants onto the pathway to independence. ABC helps the children and students to build a healthy mindset, practice good living habits, acquire useful work skills and fit into the community and society. ABC equips our students with the tools that would ordinarily be provided by parents - tools that are necessary for independence.
The Foster Home
The DREAM Foster Home program began in 2006, and it is targeted at younger children. Our foster home creates a safe and supportive family environment for children who may not have ever had one. A small group of children lives permanently at the home, which is located in Qiqihar. There are two adults at the home who effectively become the children’s adoptive parents. These parents raise the children as if they were their own, and there is no intention to send these children to another foster home.
Because the program is targeted at younger children, the focus of the Foster Home program is inherently different from that of the Education program. This program takes a more personal approach in guiding the children on the path to independence. Just like in any other home, the children learn to share household responsibilities. They cooperate with each other in dividing cooking and cleaning responsibilities. The children also bond and become each other’s siblings, so they will look up to and look after each other.
ABC hopes to start more homes in different locations. These homes would be equal in size or smaller than the home in Qiqihar. In the meantime, we are focusing our efforts on the current children. We look forward to watching each of the children grow with a happy family and start their own lives.
2012 DREAM Program Yearbook
After the students are accepted, they move to two foster homes in Beijing, which are run by permanent foster home managers. These become their new homes for the next year. In the home, the students develop good living habits and improve personal skills, which include interpersonal relationships, money management, personal health, and housekeeping. These foster homes create a loving family environment between the students, who grow to become each other’s brothers and sisters. The foster home managers serve as mentors and guardians to the students, navigating them through an unfamiliar city while providing them with a parental figure to look up to during their journey to independence.
Students fare recruited through ABC’s foster home network. Teen orphans must go through an admissions process, which includes an application, interviews, and character evaluations. There are also English and Chinese examinations, which only take place when there are more than 8-12 qualified applicants. Accepted students always show a desire to learn from the combination of a family atmosphere and intensive education.
Immediately after moving in, the students begin taking practical courses on English, professional Mandarin, and computer skills. Many of the students arrive with no prior experience in any of these topics, and daily classes with regular assessments are the most effective way for them to learn quickly. In addition to these practical courses, the students also take music and art classes to develop their creative curiosity. On the weekends, the students volunteer as leaders for our TALENT program, which cultivates a community-service oriented mindset.
After completing the yearlong course, many of the students return back to their hometowns while a few choose to remain in Beijing. Each student now has leadership experience and professional language skills. Career counseling, job search assistance and resume writing guidance from our professional staff are readily available to all of them. With ABC’s help, all of the students are now equipped with the skills and resources necessary for finding a high level job; they are now on their pathway to independence.