Seeds of aspiration, sprouting across Victoria

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Dream Seeds® is a workshop created by Youthrive Victoria Alumni to help build aspiration and ease transition to secondary school.

In 2014, the idea for a workshop to assist year five and six students from regional and rural Victoria to be the leaders of their own lives, was planted. Through successive Young Rural Leaders Programs, this idea was nurtured by the countless young people who felt more could be done to facilitate aspiration, resilience and connection in their rural townships.

Today, that idea is Dream Seeds®. Over the past five years, Youthrive Victoria Alumni have designed activities and games which constitute the workshop. They aim to build knowledge and skills to help young Victorians create personal visions and pathways to positive futures.

And Dream Seeds® is growing. Since its pilot in 2016, the Dream Seeds® workshop has been delivered to over 700 students across 27 primary schools in rural Victoria. A committee of two has now become a committee of ten. In September last year, the Dream Seeds® team was awarded the Southwest TAFE & Deakin University Regional Achiever Award at the Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards. This year, thanks to a grant from the Collier Charitable Fund, alumnus Rohan Gerrard has been developing an interactive website to accompany the workshop.

The most recent trip to the South West of Victoria was very successful with workshops being run in Portland, Bolwarra with Narrawong, Camperdown, Lake Bolac, Mortlake and Hawkesdale. A total of 7 schools and 128 students participated. This program was funded through a grant from FRRR and Deakin University provided free accommodation in Warrnambool.

There are 2019 trips planned for the Shepparton and surrounding areas and central and east Gippsland. If you would like Dream Seeds® to visit your school please register online.

For those involved with Dream Seeds® however, success in the truest sense of the word was realised last year, when a parent contacted Youthrive Victoria. She said her son found the Dream Seeds® workshop life-changing and it gave him a huge boost. He particularly valued a young person sitting down and speaking to him about important things in his life.

At the end of a workshop, each school is presented with an empty Dream Tree to be decorated with Dream Leaves filled with each student’s aspirations and goals. Dream Seeds® presenter, Maddy Merzvinskis, says “It’s incredible watching the students flourish in the short amount of time that we spend with them, and to see them open their minds to what they can achieve.” The tree remains in the classroom with the hope it will continue to motivate and inspire the young students when we leave.

Many of the Dream Seeds® presenters can also be found glancing at the school’s tree at the end of each workshop. It too serves as a reminder of the teams’ goals, their hard work, and most importantly, the Dream Seeds® journey.

Across successive Young Rural Leaders Programs, Dream Seeds® has grown with the help of over 80 alumni, 34 workshop presenters and around 270 volunteer hours in schools alone. Our achievements remain firmly rooted in the efforts of Youthrive Victoria’s countless young people who have and will continue to shape the Dream Seeds® workshop.

Written by Jayne Fendyk (with creative input from Harry Stannard)

DreamSeeds leader talks through an exercise with a participant.
DreamSeeds team with Lake Bolac primary school.