Message from Dream Mentor Karen Zeidan
I am Karen Zeidan RN, and a board member of DCTF. I am Calandra’s secondary mentor. Heather Bailey, her main mentor is now our first non-board-member mentor after rolling off the board in 2012 due to a career change.
I feel especially close to Calandra for the obvious connection in our choice of careers. Nurses definitely stick together! Even though I have not worked in that field for awhile, Calandra and I love talking about all our experiences and share the shear joy of being a part of someone’s healing process. She is going to be a dynamite nurse, someone I would have loved to work beside and would have trusted in any emergency situation.
I know the support of DCT is critical in enabling Calandra to continue on her dream path. Not only will this positively impact her life but the life of her 4 kids. I will be at her graduation , and I know the rest of her DCT family will be there also, and I am sure without a dry in the crowd.
Christmas Message from Eric Mothes
As I approach the final semester of my senior year at Concordia University, I am so thankful to each and every one of you. As we all prepare for Christmas and the New Year, I am grateful for having had the opportunity to connect with the Dream Come True Foundation. I am so appreciative for all of the help you have provided me this past year. I am truly thankful for you all, and for all those who have provided contributions for the Foundation. You represent a light in a sometimes dark world that touches my soul, and many others in a profound way. Usually at this time of year I am filled with sadness and regrets, but this holiday season will be the complete opposite. Because of all of you I have found hope, the best gift you all could have provided me. Since our initial meeting so much of my life has changed for the better and I know that none of it could have happened without you all. You all will be in my heart and prayers this holiday season.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time, wisdom, and prayers!
Christmas Message from Churchill Okello
It’s almost a year since I was given the privilege of becoming a partner and recipient of the Dream Come True Foundation. This came at a time when the hope for my future and opportunity for education seemed to have hit an iceberg and the shadow of darkness and hopelessness was closing in. But that suddenly changed when Dream Come True Foundation came into my life, and the faint rays of hope has become brighter and brighter everyday ever since. Now I feel ever more certain of success in my future with the support and love from the Dream Come True Foundation.
I am now completing pre-Engineering program at ACC with the goal of entering an engineering program at UT Austin, Texas A&M, or Texas Tech. The Dream Come True Foundation has helped me not just with financial support , it has also helped me academically by finding private tutoring if needed for me to excel academically. However, above all, it is the mentoring and coaching that I have received from my DCTF mentor Dr. Thaw Sint and others in DCTF which made the most impact in my life.
The passion of members of the DFCT is evident, and their enthusiasm and encouragement has given me motivation and drive to succeed. They have believed in me, and are investing in me. I now feel the sky is the limit. On behalf on my family, I wish every supporter of DCTF a very Merry Christmas and joyful entry into 2013. Your support for the DCTF’s mission is making a huge difference in the lives of people like me.
Christmas Message from Calandra Lockett
I am extremely grateful that you guys are a part of our lives. Without you all supporting us I don’t have a clue where I would be; however because you decided to continue to support me I am finally within arms reach of my goal to becoming a nurse. I graduate in 2013 and I will be a nurse and it is all because you all decided to support me and stand by my side to see this achievable dream with me. I love you all so much and I can’t wait til I’m on the other side of the fence and I’m helping support someone just like me. I can’t thank you enough and I can’t wait til the day gets here!!!
Christmas Message from Rehema Apio
I am very grateful to the Dream Come True Foundation (DCTF) for changing my life by coming in at the right time to rescue my family and me at the time I most needed help. DCTF is a unique foundation, they don’t only give you financial help but they move an extra miles by mentoring their recipient, and providing a family like environment all heartedly.
My priority plan is looking for a job that can sustain us as well as enabling me to give back to the community just as DCTF did to me. Fortunately, I have a job interview coming up next week and I trusting God for it.
Dream Come True Foundation, “I am because you are”, Long live DCTF.
Foundation Elects New Officers
Earlier this week, the Dream Come True Foundation elected new Officers from its Board of Directors.
President: Carol Kallendorf, Ph. D.
Vice-President: Rick Cloud
Treasurer: Dusan Balic
Secretary: Lisa Stark Walsh, MA.
Please join me in thanking the outgoing Officers and welcoming and congratulating the new Officers, and let’s Live the Dream and Pass it On.
Rehema Apio: Out of Africa
- Rehema Apio graduated with a Degree in Public Health from the University of Texas. She is poised to serve, and she needs your help.
Rehema is almost across the goal line! She has finished her education and needs about $5,000 of our support for six months while she gets a job. Prospects are great.
Rehema Apio came to Austin, TX from Uganda, a country in perpetual civil war where everyone, especially women, are in danger. We want to share the story of how Rehema came out of Africa to get a master’s degree in health education. A recent graduate, she needs our help for a short time while she searches for a job. Can you help us help Rehema?
Thriving amid chaos, hopelessness, and despair, Rehema embodies the outstanding resilience of a Dream Come True Achiever. Growing up as a Chief’s daughter in Uganda, she survived the daily dangers of a brutal civil war, where rape, abduction of children to become child soldiers, and political repression are common occurrences. Living conditions for Ugandan women in particular are challenging beyond anything experienced in the Western world. Married according to local customs, Rehema became the mother of two children: Churchill, now 18 and Tracy, 12.
Rehema has great athletic and academic ability, and she attended college in Uganda and represented her country as a star runner. She organized women and sought justice for her tribe, an unpopular move in Uganda. Rehema was banned by a repressive regime at war with her tribe, but she found a small window of escape. Her dream was to study in the United States, so she made her application.
When Rehema received the call to be at the airport to go to Austin, Texas she says she didn’t know where Austin was. “Is it a gated community? Is it next to Chicago?” She arrived at her apartment to be greeted by a blind landlady and no functioning lights. Rehema asked the lady to help get her to the University of Texas, even though neither of them knew where it was. The rest is a history of unlikely success that has culminated in Rehema’s graduation with a master’s degree in health education.
- Churchill and his mentor, Dr. Thaw Sint, at the 2012 Pitch and Pooch Fundraiser.
Rehema was joined in Austin by her daughter Tracy and her son Churchill, who finished high school in the U.S. Churchill was greatly admired by classmates and recognized as a natural leader. Gaby Zeidan, fellow high school student and daughter of DCTF benefactors Nakhli and Karen Zeidan, insisted that her mother meet Churchill. Karen subsequently sponsored him and Dr. Thaw Sint became Churchill’s mentor. You can learn more about Churchill’s personal story here.
- Rehema Apio performing with an African Dance Troupe at the 2012 Pitch and Pooch Fundraiser.
A moment of drama in Rehema and her family’s journey to their dream come true happened when they did not know if they could continue living in the U.S. There was a chance that they would be forced to return to Uganda where they’re lives would once again be in great danger. The Dream Come True Foundation worked with a pro bono lawyer to put her case together. Through a period of great anxiety they waited for the decision. The political asylum was approved and now both Rehema and Churchill can legally work in the U.S.
Rehema needs funding for a brief period of time while she is in job search mode. She has remained very active in volunteer efforts to help women and the larger community. Her family is depending on her, and she needs only a short bridge of support to help get her where she needs to be.
Even Just A Flash Light
I awkwardly awaken to an abyss of despair
dreading the destructive demons that bind my body
to this desolate Black Hole.
I ferociously flutter but the negative narrates
its naïve troublesome thoughts through my brain
absorbing the brutal barriers of this self-induced Black Hole.
I waiver as I walk through another nautical night
negating the light which should ensue towards my tunnels end
wondering whether a glimpse of a glow will grow in my Black Hole.
I cry a catastrophic cardiac comprising last tear
as I provide the perfect prayer to perpetuate positive
illumination over the Land of the Lost known as my Black Hole.
I again cautiously caress the curves of my bed
in Heavenly hopes of avidly awakening
and abolishing the absolute nothingness of my Black Hole.
I open my observant optical and wearily walk
in search of a sight to which will delight
my dwindling falling faith from the darkest depths of my Black Hole.
As I approach the usual and utter disappointments decorating day
a dynamic group gallops with a glimmer of glaring light
to profess a plan promising love and an everlasting luminosity of my Black Hole.
To my surprise my prayer went through
and it came as The Dream Come True.
Biography of Churchill Okello
Churchill was born in a small town called Lira in Uganda. Churchill lost his father at age five, and thus was raised by his single mom. Needless to say, things were tough. As his mom decided to go back to school in order to provide a better future for her children, Churchill was raised by maternal aunt who also was widowed and had four children of her own. Again, nothing about growing up was easy for Churchill. However, Churchill was instilled with strong moral values, discipline, and passion for hard work by his mother and aunt. Despite very limited financial resources to pay for school fees, the family persevered and Churchill studied hard.
Two years ago, an opportunity presented when Churchill’s mom was able to come to Austin to complete a master’s degree in public health at UT Texas. A year later, Churchill and little sister Tracy joined her. Churchill enrolled at McCallum High School, and made an immediate impact in his senior class. His classmates, teachers, and athletic coaches were immediately drawn by his grace, joyous demeanor, and quiet confidence. He also demonstrated humility and kindness towards others. His teachers have noted how his respectful manners influenced other students to be respectful of themselves and others. Churchill also worked hard academically, at one time taking on twice the normal academic load, and yet completing the semester with high grades. He is also an excellent cross country and track athlete, and helped McCallum High School achieve the best cross country record ever in school history.
Churchill is now set to go onto college. He has already been admitted to McMurry University in Abilene, TX on a partial scholarship. He is also being seriously considered by Wabash College, an excellent liberal arts college in Indiana. Churchill’s dream is to earn a bachelor degree in liberal arts, and then go on to engineering school. His goal in life is to help others, community, and the world at large with his skills and talents. There is no doubt that he will have a tremendous impact wherever he goes.
The great challenge for Churchill now is paying for college room and board at and a portion of the tuition which partial scholarship will not cover. The Dream Come True Foundation has stepped up to help him financially, in addition to mentoring, academic and career guidance, etc.
I would like to invite you become a part of Churchill’s dream because I feel that it is not a matter of whether he will succeed but whether we want to be a part of this impressive young man’s dream and the impact he will go on to have in this world. Dear friends, you surely can live this dream yourself by supporting and partnering with the Dream Come True Foundation.
Biography of Eric
Eric is a focused and determined young man with maturity well beyond his 26 years. He endured a lot of hardship growing up. His loving mother has been a positive influence in his life, though she struggled through illness to provide for Eric throughout his childhood. Despite facing poverty and multiple traumas as a young person, Eric has demonstrated an incredible ability to move his life forward and help others in the process.
Eric’s perseverance is absolutely inspiring. When he was told he would never make the high school basketball team, he practiced tirelessly until he was one of the best players in the school. When he was told he wasn’t smart enough to go to college and succeed, he proved the skeptics wrong. And despite being told that he would never be able to get his poetry published, he diligently pursued his passion for writing and was published in 2011.
Eric has worked very hard to get within a year of graduating from Concordia University with a double major in Business/Marketing and Kinesiology. His professional goal is to use his combined majors and his sports/fitness background to get into the business end of fitness as an athletic director or similar role. Long-term, he’d like to use athletics to help people grow personally and spiritually, and he already does so as a volunteer.
The Dream Come True Foundation is providing financial resources and mentoring for Eric so he can focus on his studies and graduate within a year. Eric desires to use his talents to help others who are experiencing circumstances similar to his own, and we know that his tenacious pursuit of his dreams in spite of so much adversity will inspire many.