The 6th Annual Project SUCCESS Dreams to Action Breakfast
“We're doing everything we can to remove barriers to students reaching their dreams. We do that through love and the power of relationships.”
—Adrienne Diercks, Executive Director
On Tuesday, April 17, old friends and new members of the Project SUCCESS community came together to start their day with joy and inspiration at our sixth annual Dreams to Action Breakfast. They joined us in support of our program, which serves more than 13,000 students and their families in Minneapolis.
Special thanks to our generous donors – Otto Bremer Trust, Ekdahl Hutchinson Family Foundation, Bridgewater Bank, and Aroha Philanthropies – who committed a leadership match of $117,000 and inspired our guests to make the most of their gifts!
To start the morning on a cheerful and inspiring note, we enjoyed an energetic performance from cast members of the Project SUCCESS production of Shrek at Marcy Open School.
Our guests then heard speeches from Executive Director Adrienne Diercks and Project SUCCESS students Shaadia Munye and Alejandro Eduarte. Adrienne highlighted the Project SUCCESS mission, proven data and inspiring stories of the individual students we see every day.
“Project SUCCESS serves 13,000 students every year. All of them have a lot that they're dealing with. But for us, the solution and the foundation is love and relationships, over time," she said.
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: "More than 90 percent of our students say Project SUCCESS helps them create a plan for their future," she said, "and more than 90 percent of our partner teachers say students are more self aware and engaged in their classrooms."
We also debuted our newest video, "Igniting Succress from Within." In the video, our students, alumni, parents, teachers, staff and community leaders reflect on what Project SUCCESS means to them personally, as a part of their communities, and as part of a global world. Thanks to Donnie Koshiol Productions for their fabulous partnership on the video. Watch below:
Igniting Success from Within
“There is no organization that does what Project SUCCESS does. Every aspect of Project SUCCESS does something to make me a better me. I can’t even imagine my life without Project SUCCESS.”
—Shaadia Munye, Project SUCCESS student
Shaadia Munye then shared her story with our guests – beginning when she started sneaking in to her older brother's Project SUCCESS workshops before she was even old enough to attend. "I felt as though I had to be there," she said. "His facilitator Kurt sparked a light in me."
Now that Shaadia has Project SUCCESS in her own English classrooms, she's been participating in our programming for seven years -- from workshops to college tours, theater performances and global experiences.
"Early on Project SUCCESS planted the seeds for the lessons I now understand — the importance of values, dreams, of goals, imagining the impossible and going for it," she said. "The effect of all of these combined experiences went well beyond the value they provided individually."
As a current senior at Patrick Henry High School, Shaadia serves as the first female student representative on the Minneapolis Board of Education, and is a leader in her school's "Change the Name" initiative. As for her future plans, Shaadia announced during the breakfast that she plans to attend DePaul University in the fall — a school she learned about through Project SUCCESS.
"I didn't think about applying until Eric, a Project SUCCESS facilitator, told me about DePaul," she said. "I didn't see a life for me in Chicago until I heard Eric speak about his experience."
"Project SUCCESS helped me see that there is no barrier big enough to keep me from my dreams," she told the crowd. "Anything I truly want to do, I can and anything I want to accomplish, I can."
“If Project SUCCESS didn’t exist, my peers and I would not have had access to all of these opportunities. We’ve had literally years of support to chart a path for our futures.”
—Alejandro Eduarte, Project SUCCESS student
To wrap up the morning, Project SUCCESS student Alejandro Eduarte took the stage to share his own story and ask others to support Project SUCCESS. Currently an 11th grader at Edison High School, Alejandro has participated in six years of Project SUCCESS — which adds up to 45 in-class workshops, four college tours, two middle school musicals, and attended 20 live theater productions.
"Project SUCCESS helps me think about my dreams, prioritize, make decisions and determine what is most important in my life," he said. "My Facilitator at Edison, Haley, is a part of the fabric of our school. Her passion is to help us get to where we want to be."
Alejandro had the opportunity to dig deep into his own high school experience when he was invited, along with nine of his peers, to create a one-of-a-kind production that addressed students’ transition from middle school to high school, "And So I Did." They toured the production to countless students in Minneapolis, St Paul and Cuernavaca, Mexico.
"Project SUCCESS made thought provoking experiences possible for us," he said.
Thank you to all of our supporters for sharing an uplifting morning with us!
Photos, top to bottom:
- Student Alejandro Eduarte, Executive Director Adrienne Diercks, and Student Shaadia Munye
- Shaadia Munye speaking on stage
- Alejandro Eduarte with his facilitator, Haley