116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MOUNT VERNON — Students are invited to “plant their dreams” in a form of an apple tree on April 25 as part of a new curriculum being offered by The Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success.
The event is free to students, who will get to plant an apple tree, listen to live music and play games, eat food provided by Willie Ray’s Q Shack and hear from award-winning speakers. The event will be at The Big Apple Orchard, 1115 Highway 30 West, Mount Vernon, from 2 to 6 p.m.
“Having a dream can be nurtured in the same way you nurture any growing thing, and it will come to fruition if you tend it,” said Ruth White, founder of the academy.
“It’s a tangible metaphor for having hopes and aspirations and being able to literally put them in the ground,” White said.
Mollie Marti, CEO of Worldmaker International, expects at least 60 students to plant a tree.
Students will start at the dream station, where they’ll put their dreams into words and connect with mentors.
The second station will be planting their apple tree, followed by music, food and games.
Elementary students will receive a copy of the book “The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can,” a true story by Tererai Trent. The book puts forward the message that “if you have a dream in your heart, it is achievable,” Marti said.
Entertainment will feature Jimmy Scroggins, an award-winning former professional basketball player, soldier and Mount Mercy University graduate, and Iowa blues artist Kevin Burt.
Meals are free for academy students. To register a child for the event or to request transportation to the orchard, people can call the academy at (319) 389-4644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those are the event will be encouraged to social distance and wear masks. Community members are invited to come out to the orchard and show support for the students. To volunteer or donate, email email@example.com.
After the event, students will be invited to participate in a yearlong Cultivating Resilience curriculum through the academy, created by Worldmaker International.
The Cultivating Resilience curriculum uses a four-step process to strengthen students, encourage trusted relationships with adults in the community and guide actions that nurture a student’s positive vision for the future.
It will be offered through the academy’s three programs for third- through 12th-grade students.
The academy teaches students about Black history, literature, math and science. It also offers a postsecondary seminar to help students prepare for college and be successful once they get there.
Worldmaker International is a nonprofit that strives to grow human resilience and has been working with the Cedar Rapids Community School District to provide a free program called “Pandemic Parenting” to families.
The academy offers a six-week summer program for high school students at Mount Mercy University. Incorporating the Cultivating Resilience curriculum and providing financial literacy training in partnership with Hills Bank.
The other programs, which meet weekly during the school year, are the African American Awareness Program for middle school students and The Academy Expansion for third through fifth-graders.
The Academy is “extraordinary in mission and how they support their students,” Marti said. “How do we help these kids create a vision for their life, the belief they can achieve it and build resources to help them achieve it?”
“We know the dream process is full of challenges and alternative pathways, and students need to persevere to pursue their dreams,” Marti said. “We have some very practical pieces for sustaining and building that capacity.”
Comments: (319) 398-8411; firstname.lastname@example.org