What is the injustice we are solving?
U-Lead Athens is a local organization that spans across the Athens area to provide educational and financial support to high school students of varying immigration status. U-Lead provides assistance with tutoring, SAT prep, and navigating the college application process.

U-Lead has various fundraising projects to alleviate the academic expenses students face when pursuing a post-secondary degree. DREAMfest, a student-led art and music festival, is our most anticipated event of the year. All the money raised from the event will benefit U-Lead students who are pursuing a post secondary education. Georgia is considered a locked out state: un(der)documented students do not receive any federal or state financial assistance and must rely on private sources to fund their education. Because most scholarships require recipients to be citizens, funding necessary for school are all but unattainable. These scholarships will help students cover increasing tuition and living costs.

U-Lead students and allies from Clarke Central, Cedar Shoals, and North Oconee have come together once again to organize this year's DREAMfest.The festival will have a silent auction, art, children’s activities, speakers sharing their personal stories, and local performers including musicians and trapeze artists. There will be t-shirts available for purchase.
Our Compassionate Solution
To solve this injustice of
Un(der)documented students being banned from attending the most prestigious schools in Georgia
we will address
The xenophobia that currently exists
Educating the Georgia community on the value of immigrants and the importance that they receive equal access to education.
Our Plan
Our Project Goals
to raise awareness of the issue
to encourage activisim
We will increase my / our compassion by...
Allowing students to share personal stories of their immigration journey, educational challenges, and dreams for the future.
How will you show courage?
An un(der)documented student who willingly tells his/her story to the community is taking a risk, facing danger, and therefore showing courage.
How will you collaborate with others?
DREAMfest has a group of organizers that mostly include high school seniors. Each member of the executive community is responsible for his/her own sub-committee. The secondary group of organizers are members of the community who eventually express interest in one of the sub-committees. These groups then work together to plan different parts of the event, and they come together and share their progress in weekly meetings.
How will you know you are moving in the right direction?
The goal of the project is to encourage the Athens community to attend the event. Students joining the committees, sharing and promoting the event on social media, and increasing word of mouth are all methods to ensure that we are moving in the right direction.
Create a list of key steps you will take
Designing and ordering t-shirts, reserving a space for the event, receiving food donations, applying for grants, and having guaranteed musical acts are amongst the main steps.
This project doesn't have any updates to show.
Kelsey T.

March 02, 2018

Hi Shahrzad! Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

This is an incredible project -- I am so excited to hear how DREAMfest goes this year! In particular, your compassionate insight is really strong -- you've done a wonderful job of identifying one of the core reasons for this injustice and your solution of educating the community on the value of immigrants and importance of their educational opportunities directly responds to this. Your project is very much rooted in compassion and I think the plan to have un(der)documented students involved in this who are willing to stand up with courage to tell their stories to the community is really important -- it is only through understanding the humanity of these students that the broader xenophobia can be dismantled -- and personal storytelling can go a long way in doing this. I love the idea of using a fun and engaging festival -- with art, activities, speakers, music, etc. as a way of engaging with people.

Things to Consider:
Although I think you are exhibiting incredible courage with this project, I think you could share more about this -- it is AMAZINGLY courageous for un(der)documented students to speak up, as you mentioned, but I think it also takes courage for the allies who are involved to stand up for what is right, despite the xenophobia surrounding them. I also love that you are collaborating so well as a group of high school students -- but I'd love to hear more about other groups you are collaborating with, or encourage you to collaborate more with the broader community if you aren't already -- your solution depends on changing attitudes in the wider community, so I think in the long term it will be important to involve the wider community in the solution. How could you bring local businesses and other community groups into the planning or implementation of the festival? Finally, I'd encourage you to get more strategic about measuring if you are moving in the right directions. Check out the SMART goals tool Raul mentioned for help in this. Since your project has such wonderful potential, I'd encourage you to think both about how you can know you are moving in the right direction AS you plan the event, and any ways you might be able to begin to measure the impact of the event. So excited to hear more and see photos etc. from DREAMfest! Thanks for what you are doing and keep up the great work.

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!
PeaceFirst A.

February 23, 2018

Hi Shahrzad!

Thanks again so much for posting this project.

As part of the Peace First project-making process, we give formal feedback on your compassionate insight. Once your insight is all set, then you can move forward with your mini-grant application if you need funds to help move your idea into action!

I think the root cause you have identified ("The xenophobia that currently exists") is really strong and goes deep into the issue. I also think that the action you want to implement is really powerful and can help address this injustice.

Something that I think could help make your project stronger is making a little bit more clear what your goals are in a way that they can be measured and that they are time-bound so that you can then decide if the project got where you wanted it to go. We have a tool that can help you with that process here: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/plan-1-smart-goals

I look forward to seeing your project in action and to seeing how we can help you!

Adrian B.

February 22, 2018

Hi Shahrzad!

Thanks for posting this--we love the work that you're doing! I'm wondering if this is an update or an additional video you were hoping to post on your main project page? We don't want anyone to get confused about where to go, so if you can keep it all under one "project," that will help it be clear. Let me know if you have any questions about how to do this! :) Adrian