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Topic: Reaching Heights

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AuthorTopic:   Reaching Heights
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posted: 6/21/2008 at 2:36:35 AM ET
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Eugene Lang, the businessman from New York, is the man behind the ‘I have a Dream foundation’. The foundation was the result of an impulsive decision by the businessman in 1981, when he was invited to address the students of his elementary school. As he came to know of the high drop out rates prevalent in the school, he proposed to finance the educational needs of the students of the school. This was aimed primarily to reduce the drop out rates of students in the school. This program became highly successful and soon turned into a national movement. During the ensuing six years, seven of the students moved from the New York area. Of the remaining 54 students, 45 graduated from high school and more than half-attended college. Mr. Langs' success received national media coverage in 1986.

The program was soon followed in other regions as well with Dallas being the first city, outside New York, to do so. It was initiated in Dallas by Bill and the late Elaine Farrell in September 1986 with the help of Eugene Lang. The first class of almost 1,000 sixth grade "Dallas Dreamers" was adopted in May 1987, making Dallas the first city outside of New York to start an I Have a Dream Foundation program. The adoption of a second class of 1,000 "Dreamers" was in 1988.

The I Have a Dream Foundation has experienced enormous success with the graduation rate of the students involved in the program. In 1993, more than 450 students adopted in the 1987 inaugural class graduated from high school. Additionally, several hundred students from the 1988 class graduated from high school in 1994. The board members of IHAD-Dallas has many dignitaries including David Disiere of the Deep South Surplus of Texas, Helen M. Dorsey, Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc. James W. Loose Galloway-James Inc. and others. Today the children of the foundation in Dallas are studying in some of the best colleges of the world.

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