During her high school career, Michela engaged in a number of DreamYard activities and classes including the Bronx Art Collective for four years and the Bronx Acting Ensemble. She also took advantage of additional supports offered at the DreamYard Art Center such as our SAT Prep class (four practice exams offered throughout the year) and participated in the Public Theater's Public Works program. Michela's participation in the Public Works program exposed her to the study of Shakespearean sonnets with professional instructors from the Public Theater culminating in a production of The Tempest at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.
As a first generation college student, Michela's parents were supportive of her ambition to attend university but apprehensive of their ability to cover the full cost of a four-year degree.
With no one in her family familiar with the college application process, Michela turned to DreamYard for support. "I will always remember the incredible support I received from DreamYard and how they helped me, a first generation college student, be able to attend college and do incredibly well."
Working with DreamYard’s college advisor throughout the application process, Michela received one-on-one counseling and was supported along the way: filling out paperwork, managing timelines, etc. in addition to being made aware of scholarship opportunities through DreamYard.
Michela was accepted to the College of Saint Rose and is currently in her second year. To help cover the cost of tuition, Michela applied for a scholarship through DreamYard, which she won. The scholarship award ($30,000) has significantly reduced her family’s financial burden. The scholarship also allowed Michela to accept a unpaid internship at Albany Center Gallery; here she had opportunities to meet with professional artists who have supported her career path by serving as mentors offering advice, ideas, and encouragement as she progresses towards a professional career in the arts. Her work at the gallery also allowed her to take what she was learning in the classroom and apply it to a real job situation, often observing gallery professionals curate current exhibitions. The DreamYard scholarship has also inspired Michela to give back to the community. She now regularly collaborates with local churches to help refugee children, immigrant families like her own and create public arts to beautify her city through mural projects inspired by and similar to the ones she worked on with DreamYard.
“It is truly important to me to give back to those who are less fortunate or who have had similar circumstances like my own. Because the people at DreamYard believed in me; I am now on my way to achieving my goals."
Since starting college, Michela has returned to the Bronx and accepted a summer internship at DreamYard as a Mural Manager and Assistant Teacher with the Bronx Art Collective Summer Intensive. The summer internship at DreamYard provided teaching and managerial skills – giving Michela the confidence to manage a group of students with insightfulness, efficiency, and respect. Michela also had the opportunity to study at Korea University for a semester. And this year, after transferring to a college closer to home, Michela is back interning at the DreamYard Art Center as part of our Development Department.