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[Center for Global Sustainability] “Dream Start” is where Yonsei’s Social Engagement Begins
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With its Honorary Chairman Ban Ki-moon having called for the need to recognize and mobilize young people as agents of change, IGEE is engaging and empowering the young generation as enablers of sustainable development. IGEE’s flagship mentoring program Dream Start is one way universities and higher education institutions can support the uptake and implementation of the SDGs through their learning and teaching activities.

Centered around SDGs Goal number 4, "Ensuring Quality Education for All", Dream Start is composed of learning, personality, and cultural mentoring. Learning mentoring consists of basic curriculum guidance, and helping with school work and academic achievement. Personality mentoring is conducted to help mentees develop mentality of success, career motivation, and life guidance, while adapting to school life and improving competence. Cultural mentoring involves various cultural experiences such as field trips and movies. It also provides an opportunity for mentees to have diverse cultural experience and enhance their sensitivity away from celebrities-oriented cultural activities.

The program has provided learning opportunities to youth from low-income households in the Seodaemun District of Seoul where Yonsei University is located. Over 900 teams of mentor mentees have completed the program since 2009. Mentors are selected at a competitive rate of 3:1 each year based on their leadership, multicultural sensitivity, integrity, and spirit of service. Mentees are selected on a voluntary basis and through recommendations by their school principals. In 2019, 60 teams of mentors and mentees were created.

Middle and high school student mentees not only learned more efficient studying methods, but also engaged in discussion on how to best cope with stress arising from performance and grades. The program thus not only benefits the mentees but also the Yonsei students that participate in it.

"It's been one of the best opportunities I've had in the university," says Jong-min Lee, a senior majoring in economics. “Through Dream Start, I was able to enhance my interpersonal skills through real-life experiences, while applying my knowledge to benefit the community. I am also glad to have contributed to an improvement in the academic performance of my mentees.”

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