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DreamWakers: Inspiring and Mentoring Disadvantaged Students in the US

Dreamwakers in action
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DreamWakers, a non-profit organization that connects students from low-income families across the US to career role models, aims to inspire and provide guidance for the next generations.

The organization, co-founded by Monica Logothetis, focuses on serving students from low-income families, as research shows they are significantly less likely to interact with career role models compared to their more affluent peers. This gap widens as students develop, resulting in profound educational and professional consequences.

Logothetis is a social entrepreneur with a passion for finding scalable solutions to help close the career opportunity gap in the United States, whether from classrooms to careers or from incarceration to jobs.

Under her leadership, DreamWakers has expanded to 38 states in five years, harnessing the power of free video chat services to provide unique career exploration opportunities to over 20,000 inner-city and rural students.

Monica Logothetis
Dreamwakers co-founder and chairwoman Monica Logothetis. Credit: Twitter / Monica Logothetis

Through a recently-announced partnership, DreamWakers can now draw on the knowledge and expertise of the remarkable honorees of the Washington Oxi Day Foundation.

Some of the world’s most courageous and inspirational people will be sharing their stories with students in under-resourced schools.

DreamWakers sessions begin with the Holocaust

On Thursday, the first such collaborative session took place between the first recipient of the Oxi Day Foundation Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award, Photini Tomai, and an 8th grade class studying the Holocaust.

Over her long career, historian Tomai has brought attention to the atrocities committed against Greece’s vibrant Jewish community at the hands of Nazi Germany during WWII.

Her painstaking research details the fate of the Greek Jews in a way that is important not only for Greeks today but also for the world to know, understand, and remember.

Her leading initiative in this effort spans many years and was often accomplished without much support. Yet, she persevered in her insistence that this story be told regardless of whether or not people wanted to hear it.

Tomai shared her important work documenting the Holocaust via video chat and included her family’s remarkable personal connection to protecting Greek Jews during the Holocaust.

She concluded her remarks to these students by saying, “What I’d like to teach you today is what I have taught my daughters: live free and don’t allow anyone to suppress you or to force you to do things you do not believe in.”

DreamWakers and honorees of the Washington Oxi Day Foundation will provide students with the unique opportunity to meet professionals from diverse backgrounds, identities, and perspectives beyond their city limits.

Inspiring next generation of leaders

Through the interactive virtual sessions, the two organizations will connect these inspirational speakers to 4th to 12th grade classrooms across the country, prioritizing schools in which at least 50 percent of the student body is eligible for free and reduced lunch.

By providing positive exposure to role models and careers, DreamWakers brings classroom lessons to life, inspiring the next generation of leaders to envision and prepare for their own future.

The Washington Oxi Day Foundation has made available to DreamWakers many of its honorees, including Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel; former president of Israel Shimon Peres; Princess Alice, mother of Prince Philip who sheltered a Jewish family in Nazi-occupied Athens; Makis Matsas, the president of the Board of the Jewish Museum of Greece; philanthropist Howard Lorber, philanthropist Bruce Mosler; and David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee.

The Washington Oxi Day Foundation is dedicated to informing American policymakers and the public about the profound role Greece played in bringing about the outcome of World War II and celebrating modern-day heroes who exhibit the same courage as the Greeks did in continuing to fight to preserve and promote freedom and democracy around the world.

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