The mission of Catching the Dream, founded in 1986, is to help improve the quality of life in Indian communities through the higher education of Indian people. We provide scholarship funds for students who demonstrate academic achievement, clearly defined goals, leadership, the determination to succeed, and the desire to return to their communities and help others realize their dreams. We assist Indian schools in preparing students for success in college.
FULL MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of Catching the Dream is to help improve the quality of life in Indian communities through the higher education of Indian people. We provide scholarship funds for students who demonstrate academic achievement; clearly defined goals, leadership, the determination to succeed and the desire to return to their communities and help others realize their dreams. We assist Indian schools to prepare students for success in college.
Throughout the United States, Native American communities suffer from a lack of qualified professionals—teachers, engineers, doctors, communication specialists, business managers, social workers and technicians. Well-paying jobs exist in Indian communities, but few Indians are prepared to fill them. Hospitals, dental clinics, schools, engineering and agricultural projects remain understaffed and seriously unable to meet community needs.
A prime reason for this lack of qualified professionals is the poor state of the Native American education today. The national rate for high school dropouts among Native American youth is 50%, more than twice that of the nation as a whole. Of the Indian students who complete high school, only 17% attend college, compared to 70% for the nation. The majority of that 17% attend public two-year community colleges. Few attend four-year colleges, and fewer than 1% attend the nation’s Ivy League colleges.
Catching the Dream seeks to address these deficiencies. Our high priority areas of study are math, engineering, science, business, education, and computer science (MESBEC). These areas of study are critical to the future of Indian people and this nation. Native Americans are very underrepresented in these fields. However, we fund students in all fields of study. Catching the Dream is a national Native American education and scholarship center and our strategy is to:
1. Actively seek out Native American high school students with academic potential from all regions and tribes of the United States and help prepare them for college.
2. Encourage and assist Native American high schools to establish college preparatory programs.
3. Establish information sharing networks and national training sessions for teachers and administrators to strengthen their college preparatory programs.
4. Orient parents, grandparents and tribal leaders so that they can provide effective support for their college bound students.
Catching the Dream works in collaboration with other groups concerned with improving Native American education. For example, we work cooperatively with two-year tribal colleges by helping qualified graduates further their education. We provide supplementary scholarship funding for those students who have received financial assistance from other sources. We ask students to apply for all sources of funding for which they are eligible.
Once we select students, they are guaranteed funding for four years and beyond should they go on to graduate degrees. They never have to apply again. We ask students to contact us early in their senior year of high school or even as early as their freshman year. Catching the Dream has produced 850 graduates in its twenty-eight year history.
The employment rate of our graduates is 100%. The completion rate of our scholarship students is 78%. Over 85% of our graduates work for a tribe, an Indian school, or some other organization in Indian Country.