Dream Seeds® is a workshop of engaging, original activities for Year Six students aimed at building aspiration, resilience and connection in young rural students. Dream Seeds® is designed and presented by trained Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation (MSRF) Alumni - rural youth who have personally experienced the challenges of growing up in a rural community. The workshop aims to enable young rural Victorians to overcome barriers to education, aspiration and participation, which often cause children to narrow potential career and educational opportunities.
The idea for Dream Seeds® began in 2014 based on research released in October 2013 suggesting rural Victorian youth can face barriers to learning, particularly when developing aspirations. The original, interactive workshop (which is also linked to the Victorian Curriculum) aims to counter this, by developing the knowledge and skills that young people need to create a vision and practical pathways towards positive futures and to be leaders of their own lives.
Since the beginning of the program, 86 young MSRF leaders have been involved in the creation and roll out of the program and 13 schools have been visited since December 2016. Dream Seeds® is currently seeking funding to help expand their program and spread their message to all young students across Victoria.
The feedback collected thus far from 458 student feedback forms and teacher evaluations has been overwhelmingly positive. When surveyed, 85% of students 'Liked' each activity we facilitated, with many offering feedback which aligned with the message and goals of our organisation. One student noted, "I liked how it was fun, but we also learnt something about ourselves" and another said, "It's really fun how we did things about the community".
Dream Seeds® is currently working on a developing a virtual network for rural students to connect to each other to discuss aspirations and dreams and get the necessary support to aid their success. Although this is a work in progress, the concept is very exciting as it would encourage rural youth to act on their hopes and aspirations, creating stronger communities and opening doors to further education opportunities for rural students around the state.