CAS Student Carrie Rein founds non-profit organization DreamTeen: Bringing Childhood Dreams to Foster Teens
For years Penn State student Carrie Rein had been pondering a single idea. “It is honestly impossible for me to pinpoint how I came up with the idea of DreamTeen,” she said, but she knew that somehow, one day, she would take foster children to Disney World.
Foster children are often subjected to many forms of neglect and abuse in foster care, severely affecting their mental health and
development, and lessening their chances of growing into a successful adult. “I decided it was time to start a nonprofit. During this time, I was in Bryan Blankfield's CAS100 [public speaking] class. Our last speech involved discussing a problem and a solution. Before writing my speech, I told Bryan I was in the process of starting a nonprofit, and asked if I could take advantage of this last speech to practice speaking about it in front of an audience. Using everything we learned in CAS100 about writing an effective speech, I wrote my first of many speeches to spread the word about my nonprofit.”
Carrie founded DreamTeen in June 2014, and received 501c(3) status a month later. Today, she is partnered with Children’s Aid and Family Services, hoping to raise enough money to bring some of their Professional Parent Homes (staffed homes serving adolescents in foster care between the ages of 13-18) on an all-expense-paid vacation to Disney World through the program DreamOrlando. “We strive to become a life-long family to these foster youth and support them through the transition process and all other life events,” Carrie said. “I am still using the effective communication skills I learned in CAS100 to form partnerships with other businesses, speak in front of other organizations, and speaking on camera. Aside from the direct skills I learned in CAS100, the indirect confidence I gained during that semester continually helps me fight through any nervousness I feel before presenting my nonprofit in front of my peers and other crowds.”
Carrie also started the DreamTeen club at Penn State, getting other students involved in supporting foster youth. They are planning the first annual DreamTeen event in April 2016. If you would like to get involved with the DreamTeen Club or the nonprofit contact Carrie at Carrie@dreamteen.org
The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences applauds Carrie for her amazing and inspiring work!