The national nonprofit organization Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring (DREAM) is an online disability cultural center connecting and supporting college students, while encouraging them to become leaders and change agents on their campuses.
DREAM chapters and affiliates, like the one here at Endicott College, are focused on core mission areas including: disability rights, education, activism, and mentoring. Endicott members provide support and mentorship to all students on campus in an inclusive manner. “We strive to empower students with disabilities to have a collective voice on campus while encouraging the development of disability culture and peer support,” says Christy Galatis, M.Ed., Assistant Dean, Division of Academic Success and DREAM Advisor.
Endicott’s new President of DREAM, Donny French ’22, is a natural leader with many interests. An accounting major in his junior year, he also participates in DECA, the Investment Club, the men's club crew team, and serves as an Assistant Coach for the Center for Academic Coaching. He admittedly “thrives on productivity.” French hopes to launch a series of conversations surrounding issues students face, such as anxiety, advocating for oneself, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and learning disabilities. “I would like to engage students in sharing their experiences so that we might learn from one another, and create a positive space for all,” says French. “It is hard to talk about these issues, so finding supportive peers is always helpful.”
French would like the governance of the club to be truly democratic, where members contribute to ideas and decision making. He hopes to create a community-focused environment so members and other students feel included in the programming and direction of the club.
“I have known Donny now for over two years and can attest to his unwavering commitment to the club,” says Galatis. French joined DREAM as a first-year student and moved up to Vice President of the club his sophomore year. “Although quiet at first, he quickly became recognized as a member who always had an idea. His ideas were always solid and sensible which advanced the club's participation with regard to programming, collaborations with other clubs, and visibility. Donny is a great leader with an unwavering commitment to the mission of DREAM,” says Galatis.
Galatis has been an advisor for DREAM since the first chapter started three years ago. Despite the additional time requirements involved in advising the club, she finds it rewarding. “I truly believe that advisors play an integral role in developing student leaders and I am thrilled to be a part of that process through my advisory role,” she says. “I also enjoy the privilege of acting as a role model for the learning that happens outside the classroom.”
“DREAM is an active group, always looking to collaborate with other clubs,” says French. “We strive to be a supportive resource on campus for all students.”
Any student who feels as though they are struggling emotionally or physically, or are looking for additional support, reach out to Galatis or French through the Division of Academic Success. “We welcome all persons and identities, and are a truly diverse and collaborative group,” says Galatis.