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Dreams to Action Breakfast 2017: A World of Opportunities

posted on Thu, Apr 27 2017 12:54 pm by Amy B.

Above: Watch a special message from the Marcy Open School students
who kicked off our 2017 Dreams to Action Breakfast.

On Tuesday, April 25, 500 old friends and new members of the Project SUCCESS community came together to start their day with joy and inspiration at our fifth-annual Dreams to Action Breakfast.

They joined us in support of our program, which serves more than 12,500 students and their families in Minneapolis.

Special thanks to our generous donors – Lifetouch Photography ($100,000) and the Project SUCCESS Board of Directors ($50,000) – who committed a leadership match of $150,000 and inspired our guests to make the most of their gifts!

We are excited to announce that together we raised $350,000 to help Project SUCCESS continue to motivate and inspire students to dream about the future, help them take steps to get there and give them the tools they need to set and achieve their goals.

“At Project SUCCESS, we strive to meet every student where they are and honor who they are — with love, hope and joy.”

Adrienne Diercks, Executive Director

To start the morning on a cheerful and inspiring note, we enjoyed an energetic performance of “Tomorrow” from cast members of the Project SUCCESS production of Annie at Marcy Open School.

Our guests then heard speeches from Executive Director Adrienne Diercks, Project SUCCESS alumna Brittany Mayfield-Lane, and Project SUCCESS alumnus Antonio Hunt. Adrienne laid out a vision for the future of Project SUCCESS: “We are looking forward to doubling and deepening our impact, and seeing where the power of love, hope and joy can take us."

Love is the reason we're still here, changing lives and building brighter futures for nearly 25 years,” she said.

With love at the heart of our mission, and “kids first” at the core of our values, Project SUCCESS has been able to make measurable impact with more than 100,000 students since the organization was founded in 1994. Adrienne shared results from Project SUCCESS – including a direct and measurable impact on social and emotional skills, GPA and graduation rates that increase year over year. These results ultimately help students to prepare for success in today and tomorrow’s workforce, and throughout the rest of their lives.

We also debuted our newest video, "Dreams in Action: A World of Opportunities," which explores our different program areas through the eyes of students, staff, teachers, administrators and community leaders. The video was generously produced by Lifetouch:

Dreams in Action: World of Opportunities

“With the right resources, kids can truly do anything!”

Brittany Mayfield-Lane, PS alumna

Brittany Mayfield-Lane then shared her story with our guests – beginning with her introduction to Project SUCCESS more than 16 years ago, when she first met facilitator Jason Brown as a 6th grader at Anwatin Middle School.

“As a kid, I struggled with self-hate and depression,” she said. “I felt like I didn’t matter. I was using drugs and drinking by age 11.”

But through her relationship with Jason and Project SUCCESS, Brittany took a chance and auditioned for a role in Anwatin’s Project SUCCESS produced musical, The Music Man – and got a role.

“That eight week experience helped me gain confidence and take risks,” she said. “I still know every word to that musical. The experience honestly changed my life.”

Over seven years from 6th through 12th grade, Brittany continued to cross paths with Project SUCCESS, participating in everything the program had to offer. She took her first Boundary Waters trip "as a 12-year-old child carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders," literally: She learned to portage with a 50 pound canoe on her shoulders, traveling from lake to lake. Each time, she gained confidence and fell deeper in love with the feeling of being in the woods.

Through theater experiences and workshops, BWCA adventures and college tours, Project SUCCESS provided her with consistent, unconditional love and support. Project SUCCESS encouraged Brittany to explore her passions, develop clear goals, and graduate with a plan for the future. 

“Project SUCCESS continued to give me endless opportunities,” she said. “They always seemed to be there, no matter what.”

Her passion for giving back and helping people has brought her full circle: Brittany is now a Project SUCCESS child-care worker for theater events, and a volunteer adult guide on the same Boundary Waters trips that were such a meaningful escape for her as a middle school student. She is also pursuing a Master’s degree in social work with the goal of becoming a school social worker.

Her passion for helping young people succeed is inspiring and infectious.

“Rich to me isn’t about money. It’s about who I’ve helped,” Brittany said. “I’m meant for more than I ever thought I was growing up. I finally know my purpose, and I give that thanks to Project SUCCESS."

“Project SUCCESS helped me realize I could be myself, and
embrace others.”

Antonio Hunt, PS alumnus

To wrap up the morning, Project SUCCESS alumnus Antonio Hunt took the stage to share his own story and ask others to support Project SUCCESS.

Antonio started high school feeling disconnected and outcast, before being introduced to Project SUCCESS through monthly classroom workshops.

“I became a person who was willing to take risks,” said Antonio, “and that came from the Project SUCCESS workshops – from my freshman year, all the way to my senior year.”

The workshops gave Antonio the opportunity to think about his future and even consider an option he hadn’t thought possible before: college. The program showed Antonio that college was an option, and provided him with the confidence, tools and access to the right resources to make that dream a reality.

“I wouldn’t be in college today if it wasn’t for Project SUCCESS,” he said.

Now, Antonio is pursuing a degree in nursing at MCTC and interning at the Minnesota State Capitol in the Citizen’s League Program. Every day, he develops leadership skills to better his future – and the future of others.

“I want to work to keep kids on track to pursue their own dreams,” he said. “I can now open doors for more leaders and let them know that anything is possible.”

Thank you to all of our supporters for sharing an uplifting morning with us! 

Photos, top to bottom:
  • Alumnus Antonio Hunt, Executive Director Adrienne Diercks, and Alumna Brittany Mayfield-Lane
  • Alumna Brittany Mayfield-Lane with her Project SUCCESS facilitator, Jason Brown
  • Alumnus Antonio Hunt speaking on stage

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