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Local News


iDREAM Program Impacting Children’s Lives

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 10:35:23 CST
Litchfield, Ill. – On Thursday, January 29, over ninety second graders at J.D. Colt Elementary School in Litchfield received their first lesson from the iDREAM program. This is a U of I Extension program that encourages students to navigate the world of dreaming, goal setting, and creativity. The curriculum is being facilitated by a dream team of local community leaders.

Valerie Belusko, Community and Economic Development Program Coordinator for University of Illinois Extension and Rhonda Reener, mortgage loan officer with Litchfield National Bank, teamed up to introduce the second grade students to this new curriculum.

Reener asked the students to share some of their dreams and then told them that adults dream too! Through her job at Litchfield National Bank she helps adults fulfill their dream of home ownership. In her free time she enjoys volunteering for Montgomery County PAWS Care, which is a nonprofit that rescues and re-homes companion animals.   “I love having a job that helps make dreams come true for so many of our community members, but in my free time, I have my own dreams and goals to fulfill. I want to see every animal adopted into a safe and happy home which is why volunteering my time at PAWS is so important to me,” she explained.

A partnership between Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) and University of Illinois Extension of Montgomery County made this program possible. MCEDC is on a mission to develop happy, healthy and productive community members. They believe that through goal setting and dreaming, we can build lasting community capital.

Belusko said, “The Litchfield second graders were given an opportunity to dream about what they would like to see for their future, family, school and community. By teaching our youth about active dreaming and goal setting we are preparing them to aspire for greatness!”
The iDREAM program was created in Marshall School District with Tiffany Macke, Community and Economic Development Educator for University of Illinois Extension, leading the way. Litchfield is the first school in Montgomery County to participate in this curriculum. This program is created by and copyrighted by University of Illinois Extension. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Valerie Belusko at or call the Montgomery County Extension Office at 217-532-3941.


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